History and beauty stand side by side in this Yorkshire city
It may be one of England's smallest cities, but what Ripon lacks in size it makes up for in interest. With roots dating back to the 7th century, then part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, the city and its vicinity are steeped in historical significance.
Although a popular destination in its own right, Ripon also draws visitors for its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park, which is less than 5 miles away. With the Yorkshire Dales National Park just a stone's throw away too, Ripon has all you need for a varied and memorable getaway. Take a look at our recommendations for your trip, all of which are rated by the AA and/or VisitEngland.
Things to do
Sitting on the site of a church originally built by St Wilfrid in 672AD, Ripon Cathedral is the reason such a modestly-sized town is considered a city and is a worthy focal point to any visit. The crypt there is the oldest surviving Saxon crypt of any Cathedral in England, while the building’s façades, stained glass and the 500-year-old woodcarvings are well worth seeing.
The Yorkshire Law and Order Trail gathers together several local sights including the Old Workhouse Museum and the Courthouse Museum, as well as the Ripon Prison & Police Museum – housed in the former Ripon Liberty Prison – which tells the story of policing in Yorkshire from Anglo-Saxon times through to the modern day.
With Ripon at its heart, the 80km circular Ripon Rowel Walk takes in some stunning countryside as well as passing places of interest, such as the Druidic temple folly created by William Danby, master of the impressive Swinton Castle in 1809. More authentically ancient buildings can be enjoyed at the UNESCO Heritage Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, with its 323 hectares of grounds and ruined Cistercian Abbey, or at Norton Conyers where the 14th-century country house has links to the novelist Charlotte Brontë.
Places to stay
Ripon has a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from campsites to self-catering cottages, welcoming B&Bs and opulent hotels in stunning settings.
Where to eat
From classic pub grub in a warm and welcoming traditional inn to elegant high-end dining experiences, there’s something to suit most palates in Ripon and the surrounding area.