We’re really lucky to have so many great places to visit not too far from us in Didsbury, Manchester. A few hours in the car & we can be in the heart of the Lake District, the North Wales coast, the Peak District, the wilds of Derbyshire, across to the ruggedness of the North Yorkshire moors & the North East. On a trip to Harrogate, on design business in our other life, we decided to visit Fountains Abbey as we were very close and had read so much about.
Located approximately 3 miles south west of Ripon, you immediately get a feeling of isolation from the modern world. Phone & wi-fi signals go and because it so exposed, it is cold. Very cold, in fact. We visited early in January and a blistering wind whipped across the open fields – and made us realise how very hard life must have been for the Cistercian monks who lived there from 1132 until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The architecture is just astonishing – the abbey was originally three concentric zones, surrounded by an 11 foot wall – and the ruins do convey just how magnificent the abbey must have been in its heyday.
As well as the abbey, you can also access Studley Royal Water Garden, a Georgian park created in the 18th century. Opening times for the abbey & garden can be found here and prices can be viewed here.
Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY