Breaking in Spring At Ripon’s Beautiful Fountains Abbey

Having only lived in York for a short while, the boyfriend and I have been keen to get out and about discovering what the surrounding area has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, we love exploring the city of York, but sometimes (especially when you’re from a small town like I am) escaping to the countryside is a welcome exchange.

Making it our mission to venture off to new and exciting places of interest every week – sometimes without really knowing where were going – we’ve managed to unearth some little treasures I’d like to recommend you visit. I’ll be keeping you updated with my findings as often as humanly possible, so with a bit of luck, you lovely lot can make your own plans to visit these great places too.

With all that in mind I’ll stop rambling on and give you my first recommendation…

*drum roll please*

I Hayley, newbie blogger from the great county of North Yorkshire, recommend the beautiful and historically fascinating Fountains Abbey in Ripon. And, just in case you need a little more persuasion than that, here’s a little about our day there and why I recommend it…

fountains-abbey-riponripon-fountains-abbeyPicture this…we had everything planned. Get up, enjoy brunch and head out in the spring sunshine to explore Ripon’s Fountains Abbey. It was all going according to the plan, except for one teeny tiny matter…the good old British weather.

Staring out of my rain-spattered window, I announced with a tone of positivity (and wishful thinking), “It will brighten up, lets go anyway.” So off we went with the window wipers going full pelt all the way. Typical.

We made it to the entrance of the National Park feeling a little frustrated and praying the rain would let up just a little. After standing in the door way for quite sometime, staring longingly into the grey, grey sky, we finally gave up hope and braved the elements anyway – we’d come all this way after all, and we weren’t the only ones taking on the rain. Many families, couples and dog walkers were wandering about; all there to discover these beautiful Yorkshire ruins, whatever the weather.

Hoods up and heads down, we set off walking towards to the Abbey itself feeling determined to make the most of the day. It was at this point our prayers were answered…

After walking downhill for about 5mins, the abbey came into sight, and you know what else did too? Yep. That’s right. The sun. The sun shined through, and to top it off a little rainbow came out of nowhere, right over the Cistercian Abbey ruins. You can’t make this stuff up; just take a look at the picture I managed to snap. Beautiful.

fountains-abbey-with-rainbowSuddenly our moods lifted and we really got into the swing of this tourist lark exploring the beautiful old ruins that were once home to monks many moons ago. I’ve managed to visit a few different abbeys and monasteries over the years, such as the one in Whitby and one at Glendalough in Dublin, so I kind of knew what to expect. However, I just didn’t expect it to be as big as it was, or in a place a stunning as it was.

As a world heritage site set within 800 acres of awe-inspiring countryside, the Fountains Abbey offers a beautiful and remarkable glimpse into the fascinating world of 12th-century England. You could easily spend hours exploring the magnificent ruins wondering what life must have been like for the monks who lived there.

fountains-abbey-riponabbey-ruins-riponNot only a wonderful place to appreciate this country’s amazing heritage, it also boasts tranquil Georgian water gardens still beautifully maintained to this day. Enjoying the late arriving sunshine, we wandered around the grounds discovering picturesque ponds, lush greenery and truly spectacular views.

We spent a good few hours in total at Ripon’s Fountains Abbey doing what we considered some good amateur-style walking. As we had wasted a fair amount of the day trying to avoid the rain, we plan to go back again during summer to explore the rest of these stunning grounds.


I eyed up a medieval deer park on the leaflet and I’ve been told some pretty amazing (and rather large) oak trees live there too. With so much to see and do, and complete with plenty of beautiful open spaces, I imagine it would be a pretty perfect place to come for a picnic with family and friends. Something I may well do this summer.

Have you explored Ripon’s Fountains Abbey too? Did you have better luck with the weather? What did you make of the deer park? Which part of the grounds is your favourite? Tell me all about your experience ☺

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