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History and Heritage in the Harrogate District

Find the echoes of the past around Harrogate and discover how they played their part in shaping the modern world we live in today. 

Historically it was Ripon and Knaresborough that were the key seats of power in the area.  The buildings around which this power was focused are still there, standing proud, to be explored today.

But there are more than the grand cathedrals and abbeys, as the feudal and then monastic power faded, and industrialists began to make their mark on the world, stately homes with immense grounds and grand formal gardens became the prominent buildings that demonstrated power and wealth.

The backdrop to the modern world

Make the history of Yorkshire the backdrop to your holiday.  When you visit Harrogate and the surrounding towns and landscape you can trace this journey from roman ruins to dark crypts.  

See how the medieval fortresses played their part in civil war England and visit stately homes that became stately prisons for the ill fated Mary Queen of Scots.

Behind every historic wall and turret, in the marks on the walls and the hidden priest holes is the story of religious and political upheaval, and the people caught between the warring sides in great conflicts.

Accessible for children

The days of stuffy stately homes and look don’t touch are behind us and the historic houses around Harrogate have embraced play in much of what they do.  Interactive displays will both entertain and educate, and outdoor play areas will give them a wide open space where they can burn off energy and run through trees and woodland in the grounds.

You Don’t have to be a history buff.

You don’t need to know the history or the story to enjoy the historic buildings around the Harrogate area; in fact you may get more enjoyment from your visit if you don’t! 

Let the story unfold as you discover the heroes and villains, the tragedy and the triumph that is soaked into the walks, the grounds and the atmosphere of the castles, houses, abbeys churches and cathedrals across the heart of Yorkshire.

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Number of items: 9

  1. Open spaces and walks at Fountains Abbey

    Add Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal water garden to your Itinerary

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    Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal water garden

    Type

    Abbey / Priory

    Ripon

    Surrounded by beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, this World Heritage Site has a lot to offer for a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

    The magnificent ruins of the once prosperous Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the country, sit alongside a Georgian water garden that is sure to…

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  2. Skipton Castle

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    Tripadvisor Traveller Rating - from 1895 review(s)from 1895 review(s)

    Skipton Castle

    Type

    Castle / Fort

    Craven

    Visit this remarkable 900 year old Castle in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales town of Skipton.

    Skipton Castle became a major stronghold by the late C13th.   Owned by the powerful Clifford Lords, it saw them participating in all the major battles, from Bannockburn to Crecy; Agincourt to the…

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    Guide Price from £4.50 to £24.20 Per Ticket Type

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  3. Knaresborough Castle & Museum

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    Knaresborough Castle & Museum

    Type

    Castle / Fort

    Knaresborough

    A stronghold of medieval kings, Knaresborough Castle is beautifully set overlooking the River Nidd.

    Explore Knaresborough Castle independently or join a tour to discover the history of the King’s Chamber, visit the dungeon and scurry through the secret underground exit (sallyport).

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  4. Newby Hall & Gardens

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    Newby Hall & Gardens

    Type

    Historic House / Palace

    Ripon

    Newby Hall & Gardens is the the perfect spot for a day out that the whole family can enjoy.

    We are now back open, but with a few changes to make your visit as safe as possible. You will now need to book online before your visit, please head to our website for booking information Beautiful,…

    Price

    Guide Price £35.00 Per person per day

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  5. Trees against a blue sky with a white carpet of snowdrops growing through grass

    Add Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens to your Itinerary

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    Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens

    Type

    Historic House / Palace

    Boroughbridge

    Beningbrough, on the outskirts of Harrogate, with its eight acres of gardens and art gallery in the hall, is a real treat to enjoy all year round.

    Coronavirus update: the gardens, restaurant for takeaway drinks, play area, parkland and toilets are open for the local community to exercise in.…

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  6. Ripon Cathedral

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    Ripon Cathedral

    Type

    Cathedral / Minister

    Ripon

    Ripon Cathedral has a history stretching back almost 14 centuries as a place of worship and pilgrimage. Everyone is welcome to come and explore this amazing building and entrance is free.

    The cathedral has offered an unbroken tradition of witness to the Christian faith, both in the City of…

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  7. Markenfield Hall

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    Markenfield Hall

    Type

    Historic House / Palace

    Ripon

    Markenfield Hall – tucked privately away along a mile-long winding drive, just three miles south of Ripon, has been described as Yorkshire’s best-kept secret. Not visible from the road, a glimpse of the imposing east wall cannot be seen until visitors reach the old Mediaeval road near to the top of…

    Price

    Guide Price from £3.00 to £5.00 Per person per day

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  8. St Wilfrid's Church, Harrogate

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    St Wilfrid's Church, Harrogate

    Type

    Church / Chapel

    Harrogate

    A magnificent Grade 1 listed church, open daily to visitors andjust a short scenic walk from the centre of town. 

    Designed by renowned architect Temple Moore and his son-in-law Leslie Moore, the church, cloisters, hall and cottage are the only Grade 1 listed buildings in the town of Harrogate…

  9. Spofforth Castle

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    Spofforth Castle

    Type

    Castle / Fort

    Harrogate

    Spofforth Castle was once a grand and important house, scene of lavish banquets and powerful seat of power over of the surrounding feudal lands, and has stood in some form since at least the time of the Norman Conquest.

    Still recognisable for what it was the castle and surrounding park are…

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