21 Best & Fun Things to Do in Ripon (Yorkshire, England)

Ripon is one of England’s oldest cities, with a documented history dating back over 1,300 years.

We can’t refute the reality of its claim, given its historical wonders and heavy presence of historical artifacts.

A visit to one of Ripon’s historical treasures, the Ripon Cathedral, is a masterpiece of what remains of the 7th-century Anglo-Saxon Basilica.

Visit Fountains Abbey, the UK’s largest monastery ruin, which is only three miles from the city, for some peace.

The city’s Hornblower, who has been sounding his watch every night on Ripon’s Market Place since 886, is one of the old customs and unusual occurrences you may notice while in the city. Let’s have a look at the finest things to do in Ripon for a good time.

Variety of Activities to Choose From In Ripon

1. Ripon Racecourse

The Racecourse, which takes place in a place named the Yorkshire Garden Racecourse, is a favorite pastime among Ripon inhabitants.

Yorkshire Garden Racecourse is one of the city’s most picturesque locations.

This horse race in Ripon has become a tradition because it has been held for almost 300 years, with the winner’s prize growing year after year, making it even more appealing.

2. Museum of the Liberty Courthouse

The courthouse that was transformed into the Ripon Courthouse Museum, also known as the Liberty Courthouse Museum, has not been changed since it was built in 1830.

A library with manuals from the 18th and 19th centuries is one of the places to visit while visiting this location.

There’s also a Retiring Room with a gallery of portraits of several of the previous magistrates who presided over this court.

You’ll also hear about some of the defendants’ backgrounds and the sentences they got.

3. Temple of the Druids

William Danny, a wealthy landowner, and scholar built the Druids’ Temple in the 19th century. On his home in the lower Wensleydale Hills, he built the temple as a tribute to Stonehenge.

Druids’ Temple was built with cheap local labor to use it to temporarily ease the country’s unemployment problem; nevertheless, it is currently only used as a picnic location.

Though few people know why the temple was created, legends say it is utilized as a devil-worshipping den and a location for secret ceremonies.

For almost 200 years, there have been rumors that have caused many people to question why the temple was created.

Allow a visit to the temple to be on your list of things to do in Ripon.

4. Talon Falconry 

A visit to Talon Falconry is one of the exciting things to do in Ripon for bird of prey fans.

A visit here will let you get up and personal with incredible birds, learning things about them as well as how they are trained and managed.

You can watch these birds in action as they display their flight techniques on a tour here, and if you’re daring, you can even have a trained raptor land on your arm.

There’s also a snake pit at Talon Falconry where you may meet a variety of snake species from all over the world, and you can even handle one!

A visit here provides a thrilling-fun experience for the entire family, making it one of the best activities to do with kids.

The Wild Birds area is also worth visiting, as it features bird boxes that are monitored by webcams, giving you a good view of the birds. You can also meet ferrets and fluffy rabbits here.

Plan a visit to Talon Falconry; they are open on the same days as Lightwater Valley Theme Park; for more information, see their web calendar.

5. Ripon Walled Garden

Ripon Walled Garden, which was once part of the Bishop’s Palace, is currently managed by the Ripon Community Link Charity.

The garden was once only a kitchen garden, but since joining the Charity in 1995, it has grown into a wonderful garden where both young and old individuals with learning difficulties may learn how to garden.

A tearoom, a plant nursery, an orchard, and many more attractions may be found in the park.

Tea was cultivated in the orchard and gardens and served in the tea room.

A small play area for children is also available, which is nicely separated and surrounded by walls.

There is also a small shop where you may buy some of the garden’s produce, such as apple juice, jams, and chutneys.

6. Way of The Roses

The Way of the Roses is a signposted pathway that begins in Ripon and travels primarily over disused railway tracks, quiet lanes, and bike paths, avoiding major roads.

The trial was named for the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, which it travels through.

According to legend, the Houses of York and Lancaster were involved in a conflict known as the Way of the Roses in the 15th century, and some of the locations along the road were genuine battlegrounds.

If you plan to explore this trail from Ripon, bring a camera with you because some of the regions you travel through, such as the Nidderdale Area in the west, will provide you with amazing natural beauty.

If you have trouble climbing hills, the route to the east of Ripon is ideal because, unlike the other routes, it is mostly flat.

7. Ripon City Golf Club 

Is located on the city’s northern outskirts and has been in Ripon for over a century.

If you want to do some golfing while you’re in town, this is the place to go.

If you aren’t bringing your own golfing equipment to Ripon, you can hire them at the club’s golf rental.

A golfing program is also available for people who do not yet know how to play but want to learn.

After you’ve finished playing, stop by the Clubhouse for some refreshments.

8. Ripon Hornblower

The “setting of the watch” is one of England’s oldest rites, dating back to the reign of Alfred the Great in 886.

At that time, there was a war between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons when Alfred the Great has taken back London and was on a tour around the country to gather more support to fortify himself.

On visiting Ripon, then a very small settlement, he advised them to be more vigilant and to also appoint a man who will work as a Wakeman, to keep watch at night while others slept.

The implementation of this charge led to the sounding of the hornblower at 9 p.m. every night by the Wakeman who is always adorned with his ceremonial garb, this practice continues to this day.

9. Ripon Market Place

Ripon Market Place, in the heart of Ripon, has been around since the early 13th century, with medieval dwellings, some half-built out of wood, around it.

The Palladian Town Hall, erected in 1719, is located on the south side of the market and houses the tourist information center.

An obelisk or a market cross can be found in the heart of the market area, among other spectacular elements. This obelisk was built in 1702 and is one of the United Kingdom’s rare historical standing crosses.

Aside from the market’s historic elements, it is open for business every Thursday.

Flowers and confectionary are among the items sold at this market.

10. Fountains Abbey

UNESCO has designated Fountains Abbey as a World Heritage Site in England, even though it was previously a Cistercian abbey.

The Fountains Abbey, which had been in existence since before the 16th century, was forced to close due to a Henry VIII mandate.

Even though the monastery has deteriorated over time, it is still a sight to behold.

Fountains Abbey was founded in 1132 and evolved to become one of the country’s wealthiest monasteries by engaging in enterprises such as animal husbandry, stone quarrying, wool manufacture, and lead mining.

The Abbey’s surrounding area is roughly 70 acres, and you may learn a lot about the abbey’s history by visiting the Porter’s Lodge, which is located within Abbey.

11. Newby Hall and Gardens 

Newby Hall is a late-eighteenth-century country mansion designed by Sir Christopher Wren, a famous architect.

Years after its completion, a man named Robert Adams restored the interiors in the 18th century.

Mahogany doors, exquisite stucco panels, Gobelins tapestries, Corinthian columns, alabaster urns, and Renaissance paintings are just a few of the house’s characteristics.

Other highlights include Pembroke tables, dining chairs, and hall chairs, all of which were designed by Thomas Chippendale, an 18th-century furniture designer.

The Tapestry Room is one of the locations in the house worth visiting, as it features chairs covered with Gobelins tapestry fabrics, all of which are still the same coverings installed from the beginning.

Outside the house, there is an award-winning garden that was developed in 1920 and spans about 25 acres of ground, and is meticulously split into sections.

The Newby Gardens are separated into several sections, including a woodland garden, a national Cornus collection, a water garden, two rich gardens, a double herbaceous border, and a rose garden, among others.

12. Museum Workhouse

Ripon’s Workhouse, now the Workhouse Museum, was formerly a place where the destitute and needy of Ripon could obtain cheap labor in exchange for shelter and food.

This Victorian edifice, built-in 1855, included and housed spaces and people like cooks, garden teachers, laundry, a chaplain, and an infirmary.

The guides in this museum are dressed as the customers of the old-with holding where the inmates slept and also tell you what they ate.

You also get to know the kind of jobs they indulged in just to earn a little income for survival.

These guides will also show you some of the trades in the workhouse’s manual trades like rugging and woodcutting.

There are also the kitchen gardens which produce some of the local ingredients used by the local restaurants and are taken care of by volunteers.

13. Prison and Police Museum

A visit to the Ripon Prison and Police Museum complex, located at St Marygate, is one of the top things to do in Ripon.

It was established in the 17th century and served as the Vagrant House of Correction.

Later, in 1816, a new prison, the Liberty Prison, was built on the site, which was later turned into the Ripon Police Station, which was decommissioned in 1956.

The museum tells the history of policing in Yorkshire from the Anglo-Saxon period to the establishment of the professional police force in 1829, among other topics.

The museum is a great place to take your kids because they can try on police gear and see what it’s like to be a cop.

You’ll also see some of the Victorian-era hard labor, such as spinning a crank, shooting drilling, and climbing a treadmill.

If you don’t mind, you can be put in a cell for a period or be exposed to methods of punishment such as the pillory and shackles chairs, as most visitors to this museum do.

14. Ripon Spa Gardens

The Ripon Spa Gardens, located in the city’s center, should be on your list of things to do in Ripon.

It’s a Victorian park that’s won the Green Flag multiple times and is well-known for its high level of upkeep and amenities.

Exotic trees, exquisite flowerbeds, and topiaries can all be found in this park.

The status of the Marquees of Ripon, George Frederick Samuel, a Liberal politician, can be found at the Ripon Spa Gardens.

The garden is also used as a location for some of the city’s concerts.

Other highlights of the garden include three wood sculptures depicting characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that were placed in 2011.

15. Fountains Hall 

Years later, once the Fountains Abbey was abandoned, a nobleman named Stephen Proctor purchased the area and built the Fountain Hall exactly on the site.

Fountains Hall was created in the early 17th century in the Elizabethan architectural style, so you can’t help but notice its splendor and the way it was designed to represent power and wealth.

The Abbey provided the majority of the sandstone blocks used in the construction of the home, as well as the spiral staircase. The injection of new limestone into the ashlar dressings.

Check out some of the informational panels placed in various locations of the house to illustrate the hall’s past events while you’re there.

While you’re there, you’ll also hear about how the house was utilized as a farmer’s home after Proctor died, and then as a courthouse.

The halls can be rented for events like weddings, and there is also lodging in the house if you want to see what it’s like to sleep in an old house.

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16. Studley Royal Park 

Studley Royal Park, which spans 800 acres, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This park is home to both the Abbey and the Studley Royal Water Garden, as well as the Studley Royal House, which burned down in 1946.

The water garden was created in the 19th century by John Aislabie, a politician who, if he were still living, would be pleased with how it turned out.

Cascades, canals, a glistening lake, the Gothic Revival Castle, a Palladian-style banqueting house, and the Doric Temple are among the park’s other attractions.

Animals such as red deer, sika, and fallow deer can also be found roaming the area.

17. Ripon Cathedral 

Ripon Cathedral is one of England’s most impressive early Gothic structures, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ripon, with its west front being the most impressive angle.

The cathedral, which was completed in 1220, includes elements such as rows of Lancet windows framed by archivolts and slender columns.

It’s worth mentioning that the cathedral is the fourth church to be built on this site. Some items from the church built here in the 7th century can still be found in the crypt inside the cathedral.

The choir side of the church was repaired after a century, and a geometric window in the Gothic style was installed on the east side.

Lewis Carrol, a Canon at the cathedral in the nineteenth century, is one of the renowned priests who has presided there.

You are free to photograph the 35 misericords in the choir stand, which are thought to have inspired some of the characters in Alice’s Adventures.

18. Ripon Canal

The Ripon Canal is a 2.3-mil mile-longer corridor that runs from a historic pier in the city’s southeast corner to the River Ure.

The canal, which was completed in the early 1770s, was used to transport coal into and out of the city.

However, as railways became the primary mode of transportation in the mid-nineteenth century, they began to diminish.

In the 1990s, the citizens of Ripon renovated the canal. A pathway with wildflowers along its side is one of the canal’s highlights.

19. National Trust Long Dales Route 

On their visit to Ripon, most bikers love to explore the National Trust Long Dales Path, which is a tough route. This should be at the top of your list of things to do in Ripon if you enjoy cycling.

This path, which begins at the National Trust Fountains Abbey and ends at the Studley Royal World Heritage site, is full of stunning scenery.

Before arriving at Wensleydale, the route passes through a deer park and along the lanes of little villages such as Marsham.

Bishopdale, the Tour de France route, Arncliffe, Malham Moor, and other locations are among the areas you’ll pass through on this walk.

When you reach Brimham Rock, a National Trust site, remember that you’ve reached the end of the trail, since it leads back to Ripon’s Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

Restrooms, seats, eateries, and a variety of other amenities may be found along this route to make the ride easier and more enjoyable.

20. Markenfield Hall 

Markenfield Hall is located along the A61 and is protected by a square pond that is home to two black swans.

Markenfield Hall was erected in the 14th century, although some of the manor’s features, such as the Tudor gatehouse, were added in the 16th century.

Four-poster bedrooms, a large hall, a chapel, and a Gothic kitchen are among the house’s other highlights. Markenfield Hall should be at the top of your list of things to do in Ripon.

21. Valley of Lightwater

Lightwater Valley is a theme park about 10 minutes from town that has numerous children’s play areas, thrilling rides, and numerous animal attractions.

If you’re visiting Ripon with children, it’s worth adding to your list of things to do.

“The Ultimate,” a steel rollercoaster measuring 2,268 meters in length and the second-largest rollercoaster in Europe, is one of the park’s most exciting attractions.

This park also contains two hills, each around 30 meters high, from where you can see excellent views of the surrounding area and the park.

The Eagle’s Claw, a larger, more adventurous swing ride than The Ultimate, is another attraction at the park. You can also take a ride on the tiny gauge railway or play adventure golf.


Ripon is a historic city with a variety of activities to keep you engaged and calm during your visit.

A visit to this location is worthwhile, and you can use this article as a reference while arranging your trip.

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