Fountains Abbey is a one of the most beautiful places to visit not just in Yorkshire but anywhere. Designated a World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is the largest abbey ruins in the country and one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens. It is a place that can be visited any time of the year, and you’ll always find something new to enjoy.
Founded in 1132, in the valley of the River Skell, the abbey operated for over 400 years, until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England.
Fountains originated from the Benedictine house of St Mary’s, York, where a group of reform-minded monks formed a new abbey in order to live a harsher and more disciplined way of monastic life. It became the largest and richest of the abbeys in Northern England and headed an extensive monastic family that extended to the shores of Norway.
The site is perfect for a day trip. The abbey ruins are beautiful and the grounds are excellent for families to spend a day, and there is even a play park for any kids who don’t fall under the spell of the spooky ruins. Apart from the abbey itself there is the oldest surviving Cistercian water-mill, extensive gardens and Studley Royal park with its large herd of deer.
In 1986 the parkland was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for fulfilling the criteria of “being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.”
The perfect place to escape from it all and enjoy a great, full day out, there’s so much to see and do at Fountains. Set your own pace to explore over 800 acres of naturally beautiful countryside, with ten historic buildings to discover spanning 800 years of history and acre after acre of open space.
Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, only 30 miles from York and 9 miles from the A1. From April to October, there are daily buses from Ripon to the estate.