Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Gardens
Near Ripon, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey is a beautiful world heritage set on 800acres of land and it holds such a special place in my heart, I love to visit here whenever I can.
You can quite easily fill in a whole day here and not see everything the place has to offer. Infact we have camped near here on many occasions and I still dont feel like I've completely seen everything!
If you haven't visited a historic property before then this would be a great place to start.
The Abbey was built in 1132 by Cistercian monks but has been a ruin for a good 300 years or so there are plenty of nooks&crannies for young adventurers to explore! On your explorations of the abbey look out for the very pretty vaulted ceiling, my favourite angel & the green man. There's also lots of remants of smaller buildings surrounding the abbey and there's a little river (complete with ducks & fish) which runs directly underneath in some parts.
There's also a Mill which is about 800 years old. Inside you can have a little go at making your own flour & see the water wheel working & be sure to give the bell a ring before you leave! There's an interesting display all about Fountains Abbey inside the newly renovated Porters Lodge and there's often some hands on family workshops in the Swanley Grange buildings and dont miss the fabulous 'rocking sheep' while you're there!

Fountains Hall
Fountains Hall is a lovely Jacobean mansion dating back to the early 1600's. There's often art displays inside here but as the building houses 2 holiday apartments there's not a great deal of the building open to look at.
St Mary's is a victorian gothic style church that has amazing painted ceilings & gold inlaid walls & doors. Its usually only open on an afternoon and its a nice walk through the deer park to get there. Speaking of deers, there's hundereds of them so you should definately see some on your visit! There's a lovely veiw of Ripon Cathedral from the church, and there's also the impressive Chorister's House which is a former Music school but now a holiday let (which I some day hope to stay in!)  As well as 3 types of deer, there's also an abundance of pheasants, squirrels, rabbits & the biggest dragonflies I've ever seen in my life to be spotted as you stroll through parkland, past the lake and down to the gorgeous 18th century water gardens. You could quite easily spend a whole day just walking round Studly Royal water gardens. There's a pretty veiw around every corner. The Temple of Piety next to the crescent lakes is probably the best know of the little follies in the garden but there are plenty more. The Octagon Tower is probably my favourite & to reach it you can go through the spooky Serpentine Tunnel ( its very dark so take a torch, or get a torch app for that! ) The Banqueting House is very nice if you manage to visit on a day when its open to the public and its definately worth the walk up to Anne Boleyn's Seat to take in the impressive overall veiw of the abbey.

Studley Royal Water Garden
The site is both National Trust & English Heritage owned so members get in free. There's free parking at the main car park at the Visitors Centre but there's a charge to park in the Deer Park carpark, however if you display a membership car sticker its free!
There's plenty of places to buy ice-creams & there's a big restaurant at the visitor centre & also a tearoom at Studley Royal Lake. There's 2 shops to buy a souvenir, book or something for your garden.
They host lots of special events, walks, talks & crafts here too. Every year in October the abbey is floodlit on a weekend evening which adds a new dimension to your visit also in December the abbey is floodlit with multi coloured lights & they have carol singers & mincepies which is super christmassy and one of my favourite times to visit!

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