Why the Quaint Village of Ripley and the Cathedral City of Ripon are Worth Venturing to
United by their history and heritage, there's so much to do in Ripley and Ripon
You can start the day off right in Ripon with a hearty breakfast at The Yorkshire Tea Room, and Oliver’s Pantry means business when it comes to the best coffee, pastries and cakes. If you’re craving traditional pub grub, The Sawley Arms has everything from locally-sourced steak to battered haddock (and plenty of platters if you’re willing to share). In Brearton, head to The Malt Shovel, a 16th century country village pub and restaurant where the Sunday lunch is a must-try. Plus, Yorkshire knows its stuff when it comes to beer and Theakston and The Black Sheep Brewery are only a stone’s throw away.
The Old Coach House at North Stainley overlooks a lake and has all the modern comforts you’d expect from a luxury bed and breakfast. The five-star Grantley Hall is the real gem in this area, boasting 47 bedrooms, five indulgent restaurants (including the Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall), and a must-not-miss spa. The Boar’s Head in Ripley has been converted from a coaching inn and furnished with paintings and antiques from nearby Ripley Castle (we love their courtyard rooms).
Stop by The Little Ripon Bookshop (it’s family-run, independent and filled with titles for every member of your family); find the best gifts inside Forbes Gifts and Interiors; and head to Karma for accessories, home fragrance and aromatherapy. Then go antique hunting at Elstob & Elstob. Further south, Ripley Store is like an Aladdin’s cave, and it’s a must-visit even just to sample their popular ice cream. Opened in March last year by a former cancer research scientist, The GreenHouse is the place to be for home and garden supplies with a planet-friendly ethos. Expect to find plenty of products by local designers and makers, with a thoughtfully-curated selection of homewares, household supplies, unusual gifts and up-cycled furniture. Even the refillable cleaning products are made locally.
There’s so much to see! The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park (which reopens at the start of April) has 45 acres to explore – a perfect excuse to get some fresh air. There’s more than 40 rides and attractions to choose from at Lightwater Valley – it’s fun for the whole family. History buffs will want to explore Ripon Cathedral (which marked its 1350th anniversary last year), the award-winning gardens at Newby Hall and the historic Ripley Castle. Don’t miss nearby Fountains Abbey – one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England – and the stunning Studley Royal Water Garden.
Around the corner
R&J Yorkshire’s Finest Farmers & Butchers supply some of the best restaurants, pubs and hotels across the country. Based in Kirkby Malzeard, just 15 minutes from Ripon, take home racks of lamb, tomahawk steaks and steak and ale pies (and much more). They deliver everywhere from local cafés through to Michelin-star restaurants and now direct to your door at home too (place your order at randjyorkshiresfinest.co.uk). Their family has farmed in Yorkshire since the 1850s, and they pride themselves on their low and slow process – grass-fed, free range, and traditional and contemporary hanging and curing techniques.