Climb up to Surprise View

Visitors looking over the River Skell from the Surprise View in Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Climbing up to Surprise View is a challenge for little legs but it’s well worth it for the reward at the top. The hill is in the gardens of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire. All you need to do is follow the signs for High Ride.

‘It’s called Surprise View because in the eighteenth century visitors used to be taken there in a horse-drawn carriage,’ explains Cassandra White, who works at Fountains Abbey.
 
‘They would be led to the ‘gothic seat’, where the view would be unveiled from behind a curtain. The curtain is now gone, but kids can enjoy gasping in mock surprise as they see the abbey, just as visitors would have done all those years ago.'
 
Surprise View is also informally called Anne Boleyn’s seat, because of the headless statue at the top of the hill. Cassandra says that ‘children love discovering this gruesome figure and seeing the abbey from such a great height.’