The cathedral city of Ripon is a hugely popular parish in the Borough of Harrogate. It is perhaps best known for its grand cathedral and its racecourse, but there’s plenty more going on in this old North Yorkshire town.
The first major development of Ripon took place in the 7th century AD, when St Wilfrid started making his decorative church. He brought over numerous skilled artisans from France and Italy and created an apparently incredible building. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 860 by Edere, King of Mercia, but a church was rebuilt in the 11th century, and that forms part of the modern Ripon Cathedral’s structure. The cathedral was developed much further in 1180 when most of the modern edifice was completed. Two new sections were also added in the 13th century.
The cathedral is not the only piee of history in Ripon though - not by a long shot. The Wakeman is an unbroken 900 year old tradition that takes place in the town. At 9pm every night the Hornblower sounds his horn to show that he’s on duty. The Wakeman was traditionally the keeper of law and order in the town. The Unicorn Hotel is also well worth a visit if you are intrigued by local history. This pub was open as far back as 1379, so is home to plenty of stories about Ripon and its colourful characters.
Today the town is full of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries and more, while retaining a feel of the history that is embedded in Ripon. The town’s market is very popular and the square where it’s held is also host to the annual St Wilfrid’s Day and Ripon Fair.
There are many other attractions in the Ripon area too, which appeal to all kinds of people. There are natural wonders such as Brimham Rocks, the Spa Gardens and the Studley Royal water garden. For architecture fans there is the great cathedral of course, but also the historic Fountains Abbey, Newby Hall and Norton Conyers tudor house. If you prefer more lively attractions then perhaps you would prefer a day at Ripon Racecourse, or Lightwater Valley, which is always a winner with kids.
Whatever you want from a day out you are sure to find some fun in Ripon.