Following on from our previous article about North Yorkshire, we visit a few more of the famous cities, towns and areas of natural beauty that comprise England’s largest, and arguably most picturesque, county.
The City of Ripon, England’s third smallest city, is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the Laver and Skell. Known for the architecturally significant Ripon Cathedral, the building can be traced back to its foundation by St Wilfrid in 672AD, but the current cathedral dates to AD 1080, with 13th-century additions. The Anglo-Saxon crypt that remains from Wilfrid’s original basilica church is the oldest building of any English cathedral, and it is still in use today.
In 1723 the city of Ripon was the first in the UK to permit female jockeys to race. Ripon Racecourse is known as Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse and during the summer it holds a full programme of flat racing events.
Spa Gardens is a beautiful park right in the heart of Ripon. The gardens have been recognised for their high quality maintenance and facilities and have been awarded Green Flag status. Ripon’s War Memorial has been named the Best War Memorial in the ‘town class’ several times in the Yorkshire in Bloom awards. The Spa Gardens is also known for its Victorian bandstand concerts, nesting birds and tree sculptures depicting characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (it has been suggested that Ripon was one of the major inspirations for Carroll’s book).
Just ten miles south of Ripon is the spa town of Harrogate, voted for three consecutive years (2013–2015) as ‘the happiest place to live’ in Britain. Attractions include its spa waters and Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Harlow Carr. Harrogate is the home of Yorkshire Tea, exported by Taylors of Harrogate, as well as Harrogate Spring Water, Farrah’s Toffee, Harrogate Blue cheese and Debbie & Andrews Harrogate sausages!
The Great Yorkshire Showground is the hub of the regional agricultural industry and The Great Yorkshire Show, Countryside Live and the twice yearly Harrogate Flower Shows take place there.
As well as the usual high street shops, there is a wide range of boutique and designer shopping on Parliament Street and in the Montpellier Quarter, as well as independent shopping around Commercial Street.
There are multiple options for eating out in Harrogate. Parliament Street and Cheltenham Parade are lined with many independent and chain restaurants, while there are more restaurants on John Street and Albert Street.
Thirsk, or should we say ‘Herriot country’, was the home to Alf Wight who was better known by his pen name James Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon and author who shared his experiences as a country vet in a series of books which were adapted into the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ TV series. In Thirsk you can visit The World of James Herriot, a visitor attraction in the former home and veterinary surgery of Herriot himself. Thirsk is a traditional market town and the medieval market, established in 1145, takes place in the central cobbled square twice a week.
Established in 1952, North York Moors National Park covers an area of 170 square miles and is one of the UK’s most beautiful national parks. Famed for its heather-clad moorland, most spectacular and a must-see in the late summer, it magically lights up the landscape in a fiery blanket of vivid shades of pinks and purples. The park boasts a stunning landscape of rolling hills, rugged coastline and ancient woodlands and is home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna, including rare species such as the red grouse and the water vole.
You can explore picturesque villages and towns or embark on an adventure along the many hiking and cycling trails that wind through the park. The park is also steeped in history, with fascinating archaeological sites, stunning medieval abbeys, and picturesque castles dotting the landscape.
If you want to get back to nature, The Yorkshire Dales offer both stunning natural beauty and a rich cultural history. From rolling hills and winding rivers to charming stone villages and ancient ruins, the Dales have something for everyone, including some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK. Another great place to walk along scenic trails, explore quaint market towns, or simply take in the breath-taking vistas from the comfort of a cosy pub. The people of the Dales are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming spirit, making this region a truly special place to visit. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Yorkshire Dales are sure to leave you enchanted and inspired.
For something a bit different, Eden Camp Modern History Museum is a unique and fascinating attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the events and experiences of the Second World War and beyond. Housed within the buildings and grounds of a former Prisoner of War camp, a visit to this museum will take you back to wartime Britain where you can experience the sights, sounds and even smells of life on both the Home Front and the Front Line. From the recreated war-torn streets of Berlin to the Home Front in Britain, the museum provides a comprehensive and engaging exploration of the many facets of this pivotal moment in history.
For more info chris@Visitingnorthyorkshire.com