Earlier in the month we took a trip to Fountains Abbey in Ripon. The last time we went I was about 8 months pregnant with L so I was looking forward to walking around without a tiny human sitting on my bladder!
We had a perfect day for it. The sun was shining but there was a cool breeze so we didn’t get too hot. Unfortunately we had a bit of a rocky start. We couldn’t all fit in one car and my Dad’s SatNav had taken him to Studley Hall (after speaking with staff in the visitor centre this is apparently common because they are connected so check the signs before you pull in anywhere). There’s also no mobile reception so have allan in place in case you get seperated.
After you pass through the visitor centre and head down the hill towards the Abbey you pass a lovely play park in amongst the trees and some picnic benches. My advice would be to leave the park till the end as an incentive to get the kids round when their legs are tiring at the end of the day.
The walk down to the Abbey is well paved but is VERY steep. Thankfully my pushchair has a brake otherwise we may have gone down a little quicker than intended! And walking back up it at the end is a back breaker with a pushchair! That being said you are rewarded with a beautiful sight.
We stopped on this green for a picnic and it was perfect, plenty of room for the kids to run around and a gorgeous view.
The inside of the ruins are absolutely stunning.
After looking around the ruins you can cross over this beautiful bridge to a little cafe. We left my parents here to have a cup of coffee and went to explore the mill located just behind it. M had great fun ringing the bell.
There were some more ruins to explore on the other side too before heading off to walk along the river.
Just after the bend in the river you can turn off to explore the water gardens. M’s legs were pretty tired by this point though, and although we managed it last time when he was only 5 (and I was 8months pregnant), we decided to give it a miss this time and head over the bridge and back towards the Abbey.
The start of the water gardens. It’s a shame we didn’t get to explore them this time as I remember them as being wonderful. Maybe next time.
The view of the Abbey heading back.
Despite being too tired to manage the water gardens M magically acquired enough energy for a quick 10 minutes in the play park before heading home.
Next time we go we will get there earlier and explore all the ruins first before having our picnic, then the kids will be able to have a rest before heading off along the river. Maybe then I’ll get to visit the water gardens again!
Admission to the Abbey and Water Gardens is £11.80 for adults and £5.90 for children so not a cheep day out if there are a few of you (although National Trust and English Heritage members get in for free), but it is a beautiful place to spend the day with plenty to see and explore. We wouldn’t visit regularly because it’s quite a distance from us but we’ll definitely return next summer.
You can find out more about the Abbey on the National Trust site here.
Have you visited any great National Trust sites lately?