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Things to do at Rievaulx Terrace

Two visitors walking on the lawn close to the grand Ionic Temple at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire, on a sunny day
The Ionic Temple at Rievaulx Terrace | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Step away from the cares of daily life at this 18th-century pleasure garden created for walking, lunching and relaxing. Stroll through woodland to the Terrace and journey back in time when you explore the temple follies. Then gaze out towards the atmospheric ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.

Take in the Terrace

Wander through the woodland in the dappled light, keeping your eyes and ears open for birds and wildlife all around. When you reach the Terrace, relax, breathe in the fresh air and stride out in the wide-open space. Then pause to absorb the sprawling views down towards Rievaulx Abbey, the ruined Cistercian monastery in the valley below.

Video: A walk around Rievaulx Terrace.

See the temples

The visitor route follows a path through the woodland to the Tuscan Temple, then along the grassy Terrace to the magnificent Ionic Temple. These classical temples are adorned with paintings and intricate plaster work, imbuing the picturesque ideals of the 18th century.

A visitor walks behind the pillars on the podium of the Tuscan Temple at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire.
A visitor walking around the Tuscan Temple at Rievaulx Terrace | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Peep inside the Tuscan Temple

Though the Tuscan Temple isn’t open to visitors, you can look through the windows to see the lavish interior of this neoclassical rotunda.

Rich plasterwork decorates the walls and fresco-painted ceiling – the depiction of a winged goddess by Italian artist Andrea Casali takes centre stage. And don’t miss the 13th-century floor tiles from nearby Byland Abbey.

Explore the Ionic Temple

Step inside the Ionic Temple and drink in the sumptuous interior. Imagine what it might have been like to be a dinner guest, eating from the Chamberlain Worcester porcelain and sitting at one of the 12 mid-18th-century mahogany dining chairs.

Look up to see every detail of the mythological scenes in the ceiling’s frescoes, painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Mattia Borgnis.

Visit the exhibition space underneath the Ionic Temple to learn more about the estate and its imposing buildings.

Close-up of the bright yellow flowers of a cowslip plant, taken at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire
Cowslips at Rievaulx Terrace | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Have a fun family adventure

There’s plenty of space to let off some steam here. Skip, run and dance your way all along the Terrace. Head deep into the woods to build a den in the wild play area and be sure to explore the natural surroundings.

Bringing your dog to Rievaulx Terrace

Give your dogs a special treat with a walk at Rievaulx Terrace. Clip on their lead and take them rambling through the woodland – there’s plenty of sights and smells to keep them interested.

A woman is sitting and leaning against one of the columns of the Ionic Temple at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire. She is smiling and looking out of shot.

Discover more at Rievaulx Terrace

Find out when Rievaulx Terrace is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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A view down the lawn of the Terrace at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire, with the Ionic Temple in the middle ground; in the foreground are mature trees and bushes

History of Rievaulx Terrace 

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