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World Heritage Splendour at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

In this tranquil valley of the river Skell you’ll find the National Trust estate of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal.

Discover two masterpieces of creative genius as you wander through a breathtaking landscape of majestic abbey ruins, elegant water gardens and timeless beauty.

Riverside paths lead to the medieval deer park, home to Red, Fallow and Sika deer and ancient trees.

You’ll also find St Mary’s Church, a Victorian high Gothic church with its ornate interior designed by William Burges.

Seek out Fountains Hall with its Elizabethan façade and hidden herb garden.

One-of-a-kind, this special place is now recognised as a World Heritage Site.

Fountains Abbey

The magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey are the largest of their kind in the country.

Established in the twelfth century by Cistercian monks the abbey grew to be wealthy and powerful, owning land across the region.

This all came to an end with Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries.

The atmospheric ruins that remain, including the only surviving Cistercian corn mill, are a window into a way of life which shaped the medieval world.

Studley Royal Water Garden

When John Aislabie inherited Studley Royal in the eighteenth century, he set about creating an elegant water garden of mirror-like ponds, statues and follies, incorporating the romantic abbey ruins into his design.

Little changed today, this designed landscape is a rare surviving example of the ‘English’ garden style, a fashion which later spread across Europe and further afield by its greatest exponent, the designer ‘Capability’ Brown.

Escape the everyday…

You’ll need a whole day to explore the estate.

Start your journey at Porter’s Lodge where you’ll uncover the history of the abbey, or join a guide who will really bring the story to life.

There are free guided tours every day (April – October) and at weekends in winter as well as specialist interest tours and wildlife walks throughout the year.

Open year-round each season brings something new to experience.

See the splendour of the snowdrops in spring, visit in summer to see the wildflowers, enjoy one of Yorkshire’s best displays of autumn colour and wrap up warm and see the sparkle of the frost as winter takes over.

You can even stay on the estate in one of eleven holiday cottages and have the place to yourself.


From early summer you’ll also find something extraordinary is happening in the follies of the water garden.

In these whimsical buildings created by the garden’s designers to surprise their guests, you’ll find installations inspired by the history of the gardens and the opulence of the eighteenth century.

See our Visitor Information for Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to plan your visit now.

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