Bolton Abbey



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The Bolton Abbey Estate is owned by the Duke of Devonshire and is an enjoyable amalgamation of recreational, historical and geographical. Some of the first people to enjoy the site were the Augustinian monks who moved here from Embsay in 1154 to found a new priory by the banks of the River Wharfe. It was finished by the following century – but now lies in evocative ruins in a meadow. The high altar, topped by the imposing east window, was raised on a step that spanned the entire width of the building. Now this step is covered in grass, a mute witness to the majestic church that once stood here. The adjoining priory church of St Mary and St Cuthbert is one of the finest in the Dales. It was built in 1220, and escaped the destruction of the Dissolution only to fall victim to dwindling congregations in the 1970s. It’s been restored, and you can look inside to see the stained-glass and superb wall paintings. Day tickets allow you to drive between the several car parks across the vast Bolton Abbey estate. You can enjoy great walks in the area, including marked nature trails near the river and through Strid Wood, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are more than 60 different varieties of plants, and about 40 species of birds nest on the estate every year. Spring brings snowdrops and later whole rivers of bluebells, and in summer the air is thick with dragonflies, butterflies and bees. As the River Wharfe flows through the Bolton Abbey grounds, in one place it thunders through a narrow ravine called The Strid which is just a few feet across – little more than a stride, or ‘strid’.

Bolton Abbey


  • Parking onsite
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Car parks open daily. Grounds open daily 14 Mar-May & Sep-23 Oct, 9-7; Jun-Aug, 9-9; 24 Oct-13 Mar, 9-6. Moorlands may be closed due to shooting events

About the area

Discover North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire, with its two National Parks and two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is England’s largest county and one of the most rural. This is prime walking country, from the heather-clad heights of the North York Moors to the limestone country that is so typical of the Yorkshire Dales – a place of contrasts and discoveries, of history and legend.

The coastline offers its own treasures, from the fishing villages of Staithes and Robin Hood Bay to Scarborough, one time Regency spa and Victorian bathing resort. In the 1890s, the quaint but bustling town of Whitby provided inspiration for Bram Stoker, who set much of his novel, Dracula, in the town. Wizarding enthusiasts head to the village of Goathland, which is the setting for the Hogwarts Express stop at Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films.

York is a city of immense historical significance. It was capital of the British province under the Romans in AD 71, a Viking settlement in the 10th century, and in the Middle Ages its prosperity depended on the wool trade. Its city walls date from the 14th century and are among the finest in Europe. However, the gothic Minster, built between 1220 and 1470, is York’s crowning glory.


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