Your day at Fountains Abbey
Wander through the 900 year old abbey and Georgian water gardens at this World Heritage Site. With 800 acres to explore, an Elizabethan hall, Cistercian mill and medieval deer park there's a lot to do. Discover how to make the most of your day here...
Winter opening hours
Winter opening hours are November to February. Over these months we're closed on Fridays (with the exception of Friday 28 December) and last admission is at 4pm.
All you need to know about parking
At the visitor centre there are two car parks: car park A and car park B. When it gets busy there are over-flow car parks in both of these. The over-flow car park in car park A is not very obvious when you first enter but keep going down the road, around the corner and you'll see it on your left.
- There are family and disabled priority spaces in the second and third bays of car park A, from which you will be able to access the main visitor centre, shop, play area and bird hide but we recommend using West Gate car park for wheelchair and scooter access to the abbey.
- West Gate, as a flat entrance into the grounds, is reserved for disabled access or young families. You can borrow a Batricar or wheelchair from West Gate on a first come first served basis. Please see below for details.
- Studley Royal is a pay and display car park but is free if you are a member of the National Trust.
If you have an electric car there are two spaces available for charging your car in car park B at the visitor centre. You can find this in the bay second on the right as you drive in from the round-about.
Leave the car at home, take the bus
Don't worry about parking by catching the Dales Bus service, the Fountains Flyer 822 directly to the visitor centre on Sundays and bank holidays. You can catch this from York, Boroughbridge and Ripon.
There's a new service to enjoy, too - the Brimham Explorer 825. This means you can enjoy the 7.5 mile walk, In the Footsteps of Monks, from Fountains Abbey to Brimham Rocks and get the bus back. You can get this bus to both Fountains Abbey and Brimham Rocks, directly from Ripon and Harrogate.
We want everyone to have a safe and happy day out so please keep children under close supervision. The abbey is a historical building so please don't climb on it - use our wooden playground instead! There are some gentle and steep slopes around the estate - some of the most challenging gradients are marked on the map. Please be aware of deep running water, uneven ground and height drops on the estate. We recommend wearing sensible shoes when you visit.
Access to the estate
You can find our access guide here: Fountains Abbey Access Guide (PDF / 3,2MB) download
- There is no wheelchair access from the visitor centre and so please use West Gate car park where there is level access to the estate.
- There are mobility scooters available on a first come first serve basis. Booking is essential. Please call the estate office on 01765 608 888.
- Sighted guides are available to book. Please call the estate office on 01765 608 888.
- There is a minibus service which runs between the visitor centre, Studley Royal and West Gate. Please ask at admission points if you would like to take advantage of this service.
- There are accessible toilets at the visitor centre, West Gate and Studley Royal tea-room.
Memories to treasure
Please do snap away around this World Heritage Site. You can share your photos of your visit with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on @fountainsabbey/@ntfountainsabbey and by using hashtags #fountainsabbey
While they make very unique photos, we ask that you don't bring your drone. This is to protect our visitors and the estate itself.
How long do you need to walk around?
We recommend at least 3 hours if you want to do a loop of the abbey ruins and the water garden. It typically takes about 25 minutes to walk from the visitor centre to Studley Royal entrance.
The estate is made up of 800 acres so you can spend all day here exploring. There are many other things for you to see besides the abbey and water garden, including Swanley Grange, Fountains Hall, Fountains Mill, the Banqueting House, St Mary's Church and the deer park.
There is a minibus service which runs between the visitor centre, Studley Royal and West Gate. Please ask at admission points if you would like to take advantage of this service.
You can choose from the restaurant at the visitor centre, Studley Royal tea-room or Mill Café.
For some delicious hot food, cake and sandwiches head to the visitor centre restaurant where a range of seasonal food will be offered. Or you can just enjoy a nice cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
If you want a light bite and a cup of tea and cake with a view don't miss Studley Royal tea-room. Over-looking the lake, it's especially beautiful on a bright sunny day. From here you may like to go over for a stroll through the deer park, or loop back up to see the Octagon Tower, Temple of Fame and Surprise View on the High Ride path.
The newly re-vamped Mill Café (some of you may know it formerly as Abbey tea-room) is the place to go for some light bites and take-away drinks. There's seating outside with a wonderful view of the abbey. In summer, call by for some delicious local ice-cream.
Please note that while you're more than welcome to bring a picnic along to tuck into, we ask that you don't use a barbeque.
These boots are made for walking!
Wear your comfiest and sturdiest shoes to take advantage of the miles of walking through and around Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.
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