Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal, Garden, Historic Ruins, Yorkshire (National Trust)

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1986
Size of heritage: 309 ha
- Buffer zone: 1,622 ha

Longitude: -0,427°
Latitude: 54,116°


A striking landscape was created around the ruins of the Cistercian Fountains Abbey and Fountains Hall Castle, in Yorkshire. The 18th-century landscaping, gardens and canal, the 19th-century plantations and vistas, and the neo-Gothic castle of Studley Royal Park, make this an outstanding site.

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Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey: A Historic Gem in North Yorkshire, England

Located in North Yorkshire, England, Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the harmonious blend of natural beauty and architectural splendor. This remarkable site encompasses the ruins of Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and best-preserved Cistercian monasteries in Europe, as well as the stunning landscaped gardens of Studley Royal Park.


The history of Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey dates back to the 12th century when a group of monks from St. Mary's Abbey in York sought a secluded location to establish a new monastery. In 1132, they founded Fountains Abbey, which quickly grew into a prosperous and influential religious community.

Over the centuries, Fountains Abbey flourished, becoming renowned for its architectural grandeur and spiritual significance. However, in 1539, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, the abbey was forcibly closed, and its assets were seized by the crown.

Following its closure, the abbey fell into ruin, but its picturesque setting continued to captivate visitors. In the 18th century, John Aislabie, a wealthy politician and garden enthusiast, purchased the estate surrounding the abbey ruins. He transformed the area into a stunning landscaped garden, known as Studley Royal Park, which complemented the romantic allure of the abbey ruins.

Current State

Today, Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey is a testament to the rich history and cultural significance of the site. The ruins of Fountains Abbey stand as a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the monastic life that once thrived within its walls. Visitors can explore the remains of the abbey, including the impressive nave, cloisters, and chapter house, gaining insight into the daily lives of the Cistercian monks.

Adjacent to the abbey, Studley Royal Park offers a feast for the senses. The carefully designed gardens, with their ornamental lakes, cascading water features, and vibrant flowerbeds, provide a tranquil escape from the modern world. The park also boasts a deer park, where visitors can observe herds of majestic deer roaming freely.

Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey is not only a visual delight but also a site of ecological importance. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare species of plants and birds. The preservation of this natural habitat is a testament to the commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship.

Visitors to Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey can immerse themselves in the rich history and natural beauty of the site. Guided tours, exhibitions, and educational programs provide a deeper understanding of the abbey's past and its significance in English history. The site also offers various amenities, including a visitor center, café, and gift shop, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience for all.

In conclusion, Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey is a captivating UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the historical, architectural, and natural wonders of North Yorkshire, England. Its combination of the majestic ruins of Fountains Abbey and the meticulously designed Studley Royal Park make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and anyone seeking a glimpse into the past.