5 Reasons to visit Fountains Abbey
Set in the amazing surrounds of Studley Royal Park, Fountains Abbey is one of Yorkshire’s leading tourist destinations, yet remains a place of tranquility, serenity and unspoilt beauty.
Here are just five of the many reasons you should visit Fountains Abbey during any trip to Yorkshire:
It’s huge! –
Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best-preserved Cistercian Monasteries in England. It’s so well preserved that you can walk around it, inside it, underneath it, through it and on top of it. The landscape around the abbey is so varied that you can see it and photograph it from above, alongside, within and from below it. And while you are there you can find out about life as a monk at the abbey by using the free audio guide.
Studley Royal Park –
Fountains Abbey is surrounded by the vast Studley Royal Park – an incredible sprawling parkland estate which includes the abbey ruins, the spectacular Georgian Water Garden, a water mill, a canal, a majestic lake, ancient woodland, St Mary’s Church and a medieval deer park which is home to three species of deer. It’s Studley Royal Park, with Fountains Abbey within it, which enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status, not just the abbey ruins.
It’s always quiet –
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park make up one of Yorkshire’s greatest tourist destinations. However, it occupies such a large site, with so much to see and do, that it never feels busy. You’ll always find space to feel almost completely alone; a quiet bench in a corner overlooking the water gardens, a lonely pathway around the lake or a forgotten nook within the abbey. This is a place for a pleasant stroll, a moment of reflection, peace and quiet… and somewhere you can set up the perfect photograph without anyone to spoil the view.
The Georgian Water Garden –
John Aislaby’s dream of creating a world-class estate to surround Fountains Abbey was realised after the former Chancellor of the Exchequer inherited Studley Royal Park in 1893. Taking inspiration from leading French landscape gardens, Aislaby’s ambition was more than realised with his magnificent creation which lead visitors to his estate from the already ruined abbey to the magnificent lake and views of Ripon and Ripon Cathedral. The lakeside café is located between the water garden and the lake itself and is beautifully appointed, allowing you to enjoy tea and scones as you gaze out across the water.
Red, Fallow and Sika –
Studley Royal’s medieval deer park is one of the hidden treasures of this amazing estate. Filled with ancient trees, some more than 300 years old, the deer park is a rolling, sprawling park where deer are free to roam in their separate herds. There are approximately 500 deer within the park (Red, Sika and Fallow), often occupying their own valley, hillside or wooded corner of the estate. Within the deer park you can still see the stable block which served the Tudor manor house (Studley Royal House) which was the crowning glory of the original estate. Sadly the house was destroyed by fire in 1716; its Palladian-style replacement was demolished after another fire in 1946.
The crowning glory of the deer park is the lime tree avenue which draws your eye from St Mary’s Church all the way down past the original estate entrance to Ripon Cathedral in the middle distance.