When planning our trip to Yorkshire the place to visit at the top my list was Fountains Abbey. Considering my (not so) secret love of castles and historic houses the opportunity to visit the ruins of a medieval monastery, surrounded by a deer park AND water garden, was hardly one I would pass up. It certainly didn’t disappoint either.
The ruins themselves are beautiful and much larger than expected with towering err, towers and ‘room’ after ‘room’ of crumbling walls, long lost staircases, missing roofs and intricate arches. There were no ropes or rules, you could walk wherever you liked and simply explore, which I loved.
Once the monastery had been ruined (thanks mostly to Henry VIII of course) the Aislabie family brought the ruins and surrounding land together. Alongside the ruins they built Studley Royal Water Garden, a series of ornamental lakes and pools complete with statues, follies and adjoining deer park.
You really do need a whole day to visit we walked around five miles through the abbey and garden and didn’t even have time to go off into the deer park. Oh well, we’ll just have to go back!