Studley Royal Park and the Ruins of Fountains Abbey

Jake Gill
Studley Royal

Studley Royal Park and the Ruins of Fountains Abbey, Fountains, Ripon, HG4 3DY – Visit Now

North Yorkshire is home to some of the finest remnants of English heritage in the country. Stately homes and medieval castles litter the landscape, but nothing quite captures the attention like the remarkable Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the country and one of the first sites in the UK to be inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site listings in 1986.

The National Trust acquired the site in 1983, but the history of Fountains Abbey stretches back to 1132 when a group of Cistercian monks broke away from St. Mary’s Abbey in York. Spread over 800 acres within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty, the park encompasses a plethora of historic attractions, from the Gothic revival St. Mary’s Church to the Elizabethan manor house, Fountains Hall. The stunning Georgian water garden is a strikingly elegant example of the ‘English’ garden style that swept across Europe in the eighteenth century, and features beautiful ornamental lakes, winding canals, delightful vistas and charming cascades – an essential setting for a walk on a lovely summer’s day!

Wildlife lovers will be keen to explore the medieval deer park, which is home to over 300 deer. Be sure to spot all three species found on the site – the Red deer, Sika Deer and Fallow Deer. After a pleasant walk, no trip to Studley Royal Park is complete without tasting some of the best local foods grown on the estate. Studley Royal tea-room is perfect for a nice cup of tea and a delicious slice of cake.

For visitors wishing to stay at the park little longer, there are 14 dwellings available for overnight stopovers, including stone cottages and 17th century barn conversions. It provides a perfect centre point to journey beyond the park to discover more of the local nature and heritage in the area. Be sure to visit Braithwaite Hall, Brimham Rocks or Beningbrough Hall for more of North Yorkshire’s astounding history and wildlife.