Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

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Family including children under 16

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The wonderful weather in July encouraged a family picnic trip to Fountains Abbey, by public transport, from Sheffield. It took quite some time (about 3 hours), but it was well worth the effort & is highly recommended for all those folks that are not car drivers. The first leg of our journey was by train from Sheffield to Harrogate, changing at Leeds. At Harrogate we changed onto the 36 Bus, Leeds to Ripon route. I first heard about this wonderful express bus service from reading the 'Bus Pass Britain' book. At Ripon we changed onto a local bus service 139, that dropped us off at the car park of Fountains Abbey. (National Trust Members get free travel, non members get a discount on the entry fee if they show their bus ticket) Fountains Abbey was the most wonderful setting for a picnic. You are allowed to sit & spread your blanket amongst the ruins. My grand daughter (age 9) thought it was the most romantic picnic she had ever had. Once full of food she proceeded to explore the abbey remains which included lots of intact cellars. The Abbey remains became a spectacular folley in the 18th century when they were linked to an impressive Georgian water garden, which we also explored, along with Fountains Manor & the Cistercian corn mill. The water gardens & the grounds of the abbey are fairly flat so accessible for disabled travellers. However the Abbey remains have lots of different levels & steps. There is a restaurant if a picnic is not your thing, along with shops, childrens play area & a Victorian high gothic church, which has a wonderful view of Ripon Cathedral. I can highly recomend this National Trust property, not just for its romantic picnic spot, but for all the other attractions on offer, whether you are 9 or 99.

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