Fountains Abbey, nr Ripon

On Monday I met up with NCT Helen (I love a good phone save name :-)) and her gorgeous son to use our beloved National Trust cards at Fountains Abbey. Now the last time I came here Jess couldn’t walk, and we did the standard route plus a stop off in the cafe in less than two hours. So on Monday I had totally expected to be home just after lunch. But pram pace is clearly not two-toddlers pace, and we were practically fighting rush hour by the time we left!

That’s not a bad thing- I just forgot how interesting everything is in the eyes of a three year old, and that exploration is a big time-eater!! I also couldn’t remember there being a play area (I suppose not needing it on our last visit it just went unnoticed), but the one here is awesome.

It’s the type of adventure playground that can keep Jess entertained for hours- usually I’m pulling my hair out after 5 minutes but there was SO much to do that it was a delight to see her play. Parking at the visitor centre (rather than Studley Royal) meant that we could visit at the start and end of our day (always useful for a good bribe).

The Abbey itself is truly amazing- it’s just fantastic to be able to walk around and enjoy the site. Lots of opportunities for hide and seek too! You’re free to wander around which is massively refreshing for a historic world heritage site like this.

We decided to head for lunch at the Studley Royal tea rooms and back again. From the Abbey to the tea rooms it’s a mile in distance, walking along the side of the stream and past the beautiful Water gardens.

We did a bit of a scavenger hunt on the way there and back with mixed success (!!) plenty of twigs and seeds to find though if you fancy choosing some shapes little ones need to find. There are pheasants galore too- good luck if you want to try counting them!!

The paths wind between woodland giving even more hiding and exploring opportunities! There are also lots of pretty benches for snack stops. The paths are good- so perfect if you’re taking a buggy round like me!

I’m so so pleased that we’ve returned to this fantastic place, and certainly won’t be leaving it so long to our next visit. It was great for Jess to visit with a friend, so it was great that we had company. No doubt we’ll be keeping an eye on events too (the Easter Treasure Hunt sounds a winner). If you make it there, or have been before I’d love to know what you thought!

Rachel xxx

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