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Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

RIPON, HG4 3DY

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. It's a little known fact it is actually the water garden of Studley Royal and the way the abbey ruins were incorporated into their design that makes it a World Heritage Site. The estate is well known for its iconic abbey ruins, in fact is one of the most extensive monastic ruins in Europe. Yet to refer to Fountains as a ruin does it a disservice, and even the term 'remains' does not prepare you for the awesome and graceful sight of the best-preserved Cistercian abbey in Britain. The abbey was founded in 1132 by a group of monks who broke away from a Benedictine abbey in York because the order was not strict enough for them. The buildings you see today were mostly constructed in the years from 1150 to 1250, though the north tower, which looms up into the sky, is a 16th-century addition. In medieval times Fountains Abbey was the richest abbey in Britain - it owned a great deal of the land in the Yorkshire Dales, and used it for grazing large herds of cattle and sheep. Sheep-rearing and the resultant meat, cheese and wool were a massive source of revenue for the monks. A visitor centre was added in 1992 and is hidden well away. It incorporates an auditorium, a restaurant, and the largest National Trust shop in the region. You can also see the beautifully restored monastic mill, and a handful of rooms in Fountains Hall, the 17th-century home of the subsequent owners of the abbey. The adjoining water garden of Studley Royal was created in the 18th century and then merged with Fountains Abbey in 1768. It was the lifetime's work of John Aislabie, and then his son, William. The landscaping took 14 years, then another decade for the construction of the buildings. You can follow several paths around the gardens, through which the River Skell flows. St Mary's Church, built by William Burges in the 19th century, is the focal point of the 400-acre deer park, home to a good-sized herd of about 350 red, fallow and Manchurian sika deer. Photo credits: NTPL/Andrew Butler

Further information

Tel: 01765 608888
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National Trust

Prices

£13 (ch £6.50). Family £32.50. NT & EH members free

Opening times

Open all year, daily, Oct-Mar 10-4, Apr-Sep 10-5. Closed Fri Nov-Jan & 24-25 Dec. Deer park 6am-6pm
Average visit 3.5hrs

Facilities

Parking.
Café.

Dogs

Dogs not allowed in buildings

Assist dogs allowed all areas.

Accessibility

Partly accessible. Variable gradients, for level access to estate please use West Gate car park
Pre-bk wheelchairs & mobility scooters, Braille/large print guides
Toilets.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal
  • Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal
  • Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

Map

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Directions

Use the route planner for your trip

4m W of Ripon off B6265, follow brown signs

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