Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, National Trust
Near Ripon, North Yorkshire
Average time spent – 4-5+ hours.
Things to do at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden review
Fountains Abbey is maintained by the National Trust. We spent a staggering seven hours there and we still didn’t manage to do everything we had wanted to do. Fountains Abbey is the largest monastic ruin in the UK. It was founded in 1132 by thirteen Benedictine monks which later increased to 200 Cistercian monks.
You can park at the Abbey or at the Royal Water gardens. Parking is free at the abbey but not the water gardens. Make sure you pick up a map as the grounds are vast and there is a lot to find and see. There is an excellent adventure playground with a huge amount of things to climb and play on. It’s mostly wooden and blends nicely into the forest setting.
The Abbey is a ruin but in better condition than most we’ve visited. It is simply breathtaking, especially the tower which still remains. There is plenty to explore and children can have the time of their lives climbing and walking on the ruined walls. There’s also a stream that runs by and underneath the abbey which you can easily paddle in.
Other things to see include an old farm with displays about wool and knitting. Fountains hall with a few rooms you can look around. A very old mill which has a wheel still working today. Potters lodge exhibition where you can dress up as monks.
The Royal water gardens are as beautiful as their setting. There is, even more, to explore with different follies to be found, some beautiful lakes and many bridges. There is also a church in the grounds.
Covid 19 – Please check the website or social media of an attraction before visiting. Many places may be open differently and some remain closed. Reviews do not mention all of these changes or possible price changes. Most places now require you to pre-book online in advance.
Important Information Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
Eating – There is a cafe next to both car parks selling hot and cold food and drinks. You are welcome to picnic in the extensive grounds.
Facilities in brief – Large adventure playground in the woods, very large ruined abbey with lots to explore and climb on, old buildings to look around including a water mill, beautiful extensive grounds with follies, lakes, bridges, church and more. There are toilets on-site, cafes and shops.
Entry price – *Expensive (but well worth it!) or FREE
*Prices are subject to change and/or discounts online. *Expensive – An adult standard ticket without gift aid is £16.00 and £8.00 for a child. Under 5’s are free. If you are a member of the National Trust it is free for you to visit.
Opening: Fountains Abbey is open for most of the year and closed on Fridays in winter. For up to date opening times and dates please follow this link.
Dog friendly? Dogs are allowed within the abbey, but please do not take them inside any buildings such as Fountains Hall.
Address: Fountains, Ripon HG4 3DY, North Yorkshire, England. Phone: 01765 608888
Read our full review of Fountains Abbey
Category – Historical abbey and gardens – Mostly outdoors – suitable for all ages.
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