- Where:Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 3DY, England
- Phone: +44 (0)1765 608888
- Opening times and ticket prices: - As with many National Trust properties, opening times and admission prices for Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens, is complicated, changing seasonally and from year to year. Ditto prices. The best way to find out what's open when and what it will cost you is to visit their website.
- Services for the disabled: Six wheelchairs and two single-seat PMVs can be booked.
Getting to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water GardenBy car: Fountains is 4 miles west of Ripon off the B6265 to Pateley Bridge - follow sign posts from the A1. It is 12 miles north of Harrogate on the A61. If you use satellite navigation, the OS map reference is 99:SE271683
By train and bus: Bus service is available from British Rail York and, in spring and summer, from rail stations in Harrogate, Wakefield and Leeds.
The "Ripon Roweler" is a regular shuttlebus from the town center. Ripon has no train station but it is only a half hour journey by bus or taxi from Harrogate Rail Station. For an up-to-date bus schedule, check the Dalesbus Website.
About Fountains AbbeyBritain's largest monastic ruin and one of the National Trust's most visited sites, Fountain's Abbey was founded in 1132 by Benedictines. Three years later it became a Cistercian monastery and, before Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, was one of the richest in England.
Considered to be an aesthetic and engineering masterpiece, the abbey was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Glass from the abbey's stained glass windows can now be seen in York Minster and Ripon Cathedral.
Join a free guided tour to for fascinating insights about the abbey. Don't be surprised if you come across a group of tiny white friars. They are actually school children experiencing a day in the life of the abbey - a popular school outing.
About Studley Royal Water GardensOne of Britain's best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden, Studley Royal has ornamental lakes, canals, and waterfalls, scenic vistas and numerous 18th century ornamental temples, statues and monuments.
The garden was designed by John Aislabie and his son William, both ardent amateur gardeners. Aislabie senior, an ambitious politician, was the Tory MP from Ripon and had risen to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer before being drummed out of Parliament, forever, for his part in the collapse of the South Sea Company, one of the 18th century's major financial scandals. Retiring to his estates, he devoted the rest of his life to this garden.
Apparently, and unusually for such an ambitious garden, he had very little professional advice and none from the famous landscape architects of the day. His head gardener was an estate employee and the work was carried out by local laborers.
The garden was joined to Fountain's Abbey when William Aislabie bought the ruins to improve the garden view.
And Don't Miss
- The Mill The estate's oldest building, the 800-year-old watermill is the only Cistercian cornmill left in Britain and you can try your hand at milling flour.
- The Deer Park There are 500 deer roaming the open woodland.
- St. Mary's Church A Victorian addition, the church is a focal point for the Deer Park.
- Fountains Hall An Elizabethan house on the estate with two rooms open to the public.
Staying at Fountains AbbeyThe National Trust rents out several vacation cottages and apartments on the estate. There are two luxury apartments in Fountain's Hall, three stone cottages near the Hall and the Abbey, and a large stone house, Choristers House, that sleeps ten.
Find out more about staying in self-catering accommodations at a National Trust or English Heritage property. Stay in castles, stately homes and dreamy gatehouses, without breaking the bank.
Read about More Great English Gardens.