Ripon is a cathedral town in the heart of North Yorkshire to the north of Harrogate and south-west from Thirsk, on the River Ure.
There is much to enjoy during a visit to Ripon, which centres around its large open market place and Ripon Cathedral. The central square is surrounded by a mix of medieval and Georgian buildings, and contains an obelisk - it is here that a horn is blown every evening at 9pm to mark 'the end of the day' (traditionally the time when the night-watchmen took over responsibility for the town.
There are numerous shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, while market day in Ripon is a Thursday, when an important and busy local market is held here.
There are a couple of small museums in Ripon: the Workhouse Museum where you can see how th Victorian paupers lived and also explore the Victorian kitchen gardens, and the Ripon Police and Prison Museum set in a 17th century 'House of Correction'. It is worh having a look at the Ripon Spa Baths , a Victorian swimming pool ith lots of its original features. It is also possible to walk a pleasant couple of miles along the Ripon Canal, between the town centre and the River Ure.
Ripon cathedral is the official seat for the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds. With a long and colourful history, there has been a church on the site since the 7th century, and a part of this original church is visible in the current cathedral crypt. Two later versions were built and subsequently destroyed during conflicts, with the current Ripon Cathedral being constructed from the 12th century onwards, in the Early English Gothic style. Work was not completed until the end of the 15th century, and the church was designated as a cathedral in 1836.
Take a look at the medieval wood carvings on the choir stalls. These are thought to be the inspiration for 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Caroll whose father was canon here.
Places to visit near Ripon
- The substantial ruins of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park are a popular attraction just a few miles south-west of Ripon.
- The Lightwater Valley Theme Park, including one of the longest roller coasters in the world, the 'Ultimate' - and much more besides...
- Ripon Racecourse is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon if races are being held during your visit
- South-east of Ripon, Brimham Rocks is a curious and interesting location, of balancing and eroded boulders and rock formations - kids love it!
- Newby Hall, a 17th century stately home near Boroughbridge with an interior in part designed by Robert Adam, the renowned 18th century interior designer
- Ripley castle, a foreboding 15th century castle in landscaped gardens a little to the north of Ripon
Map of Ripon and places to visit
Ripon places to visit
See more places nearby in the North Yorkshire guide