A few weeks ago I went with my family to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water Garden in North Yorkshire which is looked after by the National Trust and is also a World Heritage Site. It is a really beautiful pace not far from the town of Ripon. It was a lovely sunny day and when we got there the car park was packed and we ended up in the over flow. I started to think that it wouldn’t be that nice walking around with such a large crowd.
My family have always been National Trust members since my sister and I were very little and I have great memories of visiting a variety of South West properties when I was little. There was though, always a shadow that lingered over our family days out as we would always end up at a garden centre on our way home which me and my sister both hated, unless there was a good playground!
Back at Fountains we went through the entrance and walked down a grassy hill towards a line of trees and as we came down out of the trees the ruined abbey came into sight and it is breath taking. It is such a beautiful place in an amazing location. It incorporates 800 acres of land so my worries about being over crowed dissipated.
We went to a little information centre (the Porters Lodge) where there was a scale model of the Abbey and detailed history of its life. It started in 1132 with 13 monks who came to live a simpler life and ended 400 years later when Henry VIII demanded its closure.
I was pretty excited when I found there was a chance to dress up. I defiantly don’t need to be asked twice to don a costume so I was straight in with dressing up as a monk and even roped in a rather embarrassed sister as well!
We then walked around the ruins which are huge, the largest in the country. As you walk through the ruined arches and doorways it is hard to imagine just how it looked in its prime but if it is that amazing as a ruin then it must have been a truly fantastic sight at its height.
As you walk away from the Abbey you start walking beside the River Skell and into the Studley Royal Water Garden. It was designed in the early 18th century by John Aislabie. He wanted to impress visitors to his Yorkshire estate and so began to turn the wooded valley of the river Skell into one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens.
We walked all the way to the tea rooms where we had a lovely cream tea with clotted cream! Coming from Devon, I always took it for granted that all cream teas came with clotted cream but since living in the North I have found this is not the case with many being served with whipped cream. It is definitely not the same.
It is such a beautiful place to take your family or just to come for a peaceful walk. Next time I think it would be lovely to bring a picnic or maybe come when it is a lot colder and frosty, I am sure that it looks stunning in all seasons.