Visit Ripon - North Yorkshire's cathedral city

About Ripon

This unspoilt cathedral city is a North Yorkshire gem, balancing a rich cultural heritage with exciting contemporary living.

With its imposing cathedral, fascinating museums and a bustling market square, there is plenty to entertain the visitor.

And skip just 10 miles in any direction and you’ll discover a wealth of first class visitor attractions in the surrounding beautiful Dales countryside.

On Studley Road (found on your way to the magnificent Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal) fans of sport will find the beautiful Ripon Cricket Club right next door to the city’s Rugby Union club. Sports fans will also be able to enjoy high quality flat horse racing at the racecourse on the other side of the city.

Where to Stay – Ripon Accommodation

Also see our hotels in Ripon and holiday cottages Ripon page.

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Things to Do in Ripon

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More About Ripon

Ripon is a cathedral city in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, UK. The city is located where two tributaries of the River Ure, the Laver and Skell, join together.

It is one of the smallest cities in the country.

Ripon is mentioned in the fictional television show, Downton Abbey, and is referred to as being “9 miles away” in the series; this makes it a very popular destination for international visitors.

Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the city is noted for Ripon Cathedral, which is architecturally significant, as well as Ripon Racecourse and other features such as its market.

The city was originally known as Inhrypum. Bede records that Alhfrith, king of the Southern Northumbrian kingdom of Deira, gave land at Ripon to Eata of Hexham to build a monastery and the abbot transferred some of his monks there, including a young Saint Cuthbert who was guest-master at Ripon abbey.

Both Bede in his Life of Cuthbert and Eddius Stephanus in his Life of Wilfred state that when Eata was subsequently driven out by Alhfrith, the abbey was given to Saint Wilfrid who replaced the timber church with a stone built church.

This was during the time of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria, a period during which it enjoyed prominence in religious importance in Great Britain.

It was for a period under Viking control, and later suffered under the Normans.

After a brief period of building projects under the Plantagenets, the city emerged with a prominent wool and cloth industry.

Ripon became well known for its production of spurs during the 16th and 17th centuries, but would later remain largely unaffected by the Industrial Revolution.

Ripon is the third-smallest city in England and the smallest in Yorkshire, by population.

According to the 2011 United Kingdom Census it had a population of close to 17,000.

It is located 11 miles south-west of Thirsk, 16 miles south of Northallerton and 12 miles north of Harrogate.

As well as its racecourse and cathedral, Ripon is a tourist destination because of its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site which consists of the Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey.

Ripon on the Map

You’ll find Ripon just north of Harrogate, in North Yorkshire. It’s close to the A1 motorway. Rail links are available at Thirsk and Harrogate, and there is a busy bus station in Ripon.

Where Next?

Head into York, for a larger city experience, or travel West to the incredible beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, or East to the North York Moors, with the outstanding Yorkshire Coast, beyond.