Looking for a relaxing day out in Yorkshire? Well, this World Heritage site is the perfect stack for you! The magnificent ancient ruins and beautiful water gardens of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal are the perfect place to connect with the nature and history of Yorkshire and feel inspired. Admire the atmospheric remains of the lives of devout monks, and wander the lawns and riverside of paths full of wildlife and ancient trees in a pleasant trip out.
Where can I find Fountains Abbey?
The ruins of Fountain Abbey are the largest monastic ruins in the whole country – take a dramatic walk through the past and soak up the nearly 1000 years of history and atmosphere! The abbey was established all the way back in 1132, by monks seeking a simpler life away from the extravagant lifestyle of the monks in York city. From raids from the Scots in the 14th century, the Black Death to the dissolution of monasteries by King Henry VIII, the abbey survived multiple tumultuous chapters throughout history until it was bought by the National Trust in 1983.
With all of these dramatic landscapes, it’s no wonder that they have been used as filming locations for decades! It’s transformed by blockbuster TV series like The Witcher, Anne Boleyn and The Secret Garden.
Walking through the ruins, you’ll be greeted by the masterfully crafted vaulted ceiling and arches while you wonder at the towering structure of Huby’s Tower and windows into the nave – here you’ll find a spectacular contrast between the oldest and newest parts of the abbey. Dive deeper into the history of the Abbey in the Porter’s Lodge exhibition, where you can learn about its humble origins through to its rise to a religious powerhouse and decline, including a replica model of how the structure would have looked like before the dissolution in the 16th century.
The Studley Royal Water Gardens are every bit just as impressive as the ruins – these tranquil English style gardens, with elegant ponds and rustic bridges swept across Europe in the eighteenth century. Admire the clear waters of the beautifully designed ponds, keeping an eye out for the magnificent classical statues and ornamental buildings dotted throughout the site. You’ll also find the much-loved Studley Royal Deer park, home to 3 different species of over 500 wild deer, a variety of ancient trees and stunning flora and plantlife. Get a magnificent view of the Deer Park from St. Mary’s Church, where you can step inside this impressive Victorian Gothic designed church.
Cap off your trip with delicious meal or treat at their café and restaurant, or find a memorable gift for someone special at the shop with locally crafted, seasonal products. Head to Fountains Abbey and discover one of Yorkshire’s most incredible historical sites for an amazing day out!
- Entrance to the Deer Park is free.
- Opening times are seasonal – see their website here for more details.
- The West Gate entrance has wheelchair accessible entrance to the Abbey.
- Children’s play area on site for the kids full of beans!