The Garden Landscape Guide

Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey

This garden was made, by Robert Benson, at an early point in the swing from rectilinear to curvilinear gardens. A formal water garden, owing something to the water parterre at Chantilly, has been set into a wooded valley, creating a balance between the rational and empirical views of nature. The canal and Moon Ponds are overlooked by a Temple of Piety. Gothic and Doric temples are to be found in the woods. At the head of the valley one is astonished to find the noble ruins of Fountains Abbey. The statues of Wrestlers, Hercules and other gods are of Roman inspiration. Studley Royal was designed by its owner, John Aislabie under the influence of John James' translation of the Théorie at la pratique du jardinage. He carried out work on the gardens from 1718 until his death in 1742. The canal, Moon Ponds and Temple of Piety were complete by 1730.


Discover the perfect complement to the abbey, a once wild and wooded valley transformed into one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens. Studley Royal Water Garden was the breathtaking vision of John Aislabie and his son William. Initially the garden was planned without reference to the abbey, but the final layout included a spectacular view of the great Cistercian house as the culmination of a visitor's tour.

Ripon, North Yorkshire, England, HG4 3DY

All year. Daily (except 24th, 25th December and Fridays from November to January). Open 10am to 5pm (4pm November to February).

Adult £7.90, Child £4.20, Family £20.90. Free for Under 5s, National Trust and English Heritage Members. Deer Park - Free.

Visit the Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey website

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  • almost 6 years by pete 5 / 5

    I'm a bit puzzled how to rate this. Is it a garden? I'm not convinced it is.


    oh my what a park. There are a number of lakes, some wonderful views, great wildlife (dipper guaranteed by the bridge near the abbey) all framing one of the best ruined abbey's in England.
  • about 6 years by Katrina Underwood 5 / 5

    Visited on a glorious spring day - an absolutely amazing place the abbey sits majestically in its stunning landscape within the wonderful water park of Studley Royal. A lot of hard work on behalf of the NT to keep it all looking so magnificent.
  • over 7 years by Gail Fanning 5 / 5

    We visited in July 2008: just amazing! We had an excellent volunteer tour guide who walked us all around and gave an excellent history of the family/house/abbey. Don't miss the perfect little chapel. The grounds are huge: give yourself a whole day to explore everything! A great spot for a picnic.
  • over 8 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    fablous garden lots to see

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Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey
Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Studley Royal Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Studley Royal, Yorkshire Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Studley Royal, Ripon Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood