I had the most incredible birthday this year! (Thursday 20th April) I had originally planned on going to York for the day, as it is one of my absolute favourite places. I will never get bored of all the lovely things York has to offer. However, the only problem with York – is the parking. It’s difficult to find, and when you do find it, it’s very expensive. We could have gone on the train, but we had already planned to travel by car, so we had to give York a miss.
Instead, we opted to travel to Ripon. It’s about the same distance away from Leeds as York is. I’d heard of Ripon a few times, but I’d never visited. I had heard that there was some great history there though, so that was all I needed to hear!
It’s almost become a tradition that whenever we travel somewhere, we go for a coffee or a cup of tea first. Maybe it’s because we’ve spent some time driving in the car and want a break…maybe it’s just because we love our coffee and tea haha. So when we arrived in Ripon, that was the first thing we did. Walking from the car to the café gave us a good look at what this city has to offer.
The first thing I noticed was all the pretty, old houses/buildings. There’s definitely not a shortage of them in Ripon. Another thing that stood out, was the market. It was quite small, but still pleasant all the same, and I felt a little lucky that we just happened to be visiting there on market day. From its picturesque buildings to its warm character – I could already tell I was going to enjoy visiting Ripon.
We had the chance to visit, and explore, three different museums, that were all connected. You could either visit one of these museums separately, or buy a ticket that would allow you to access all three. I would definitely recommend buying the ticket that gives you access to all three because although these museums were each wonderful in their own individual way, I feel like you can get the best experience if you see them all. Plus, travelling the short distance from museum to museum almost felt like a mini tour!
The first stop was the prison and police museum. A small, eerie building that was built in 1816.
My Mum didn’t like it in there at all! We’re both quite spiritual, and believe that certain buildings have a certain feel to them. Although my Mum didn’t like it so much, I didn’t feel too bad in there. I mean, it was very creepy – but it’s an old prison, with old cells, so of course it’s going to be a bit creepy. Not to mention the amount of mannequins they had in there. Seeing one of those out of the corner of your eye was a bit spooky! It was very interesting though. Although it was a little eerie, it felt very authentic.
Seen as though my Mum was so freaked out in the prison, I couldn’t wait to see what her reaction would be in the next museum; which was an old workhouse. However, she seemed to be fine in there! She even did a little bit of laundry…the old fashioned way! She loved it, too. Again, this building is Victorian. I believe it was built around 1854, but there was an older building in this spot, before the building we see today. Not only is the workhouse museum interesting and steeped in history, but it also has a beautiful garden. Of course, I loved the garden….there was lots of flowers and history, so I was a happy girl!
The last museum on our journey, was the courthouse museum. From the outside, the courthouse almost looks like a grand manor. However, the inside of the building was quite small. This was the smallest out of the three museums that we had visited that day. Although the courthouse museum was the smallest, it was still very interesting. And once again – there was lots of mannequins! Even though I found them a little spooky, they really did make the history of these buildings come alive. The staff in all three museums were all extremely friendly, and welcoming. They were all very happy to tell us all about the history of the buildings and its surrounding area.
Lastly, we visited the absolutely spectacular, Ripon Cathedral. It doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not to be able to appreciate the beauty of this building. From the outside it looked pretty, but from the inside…it was phenomenal! Unfortunately, you needed to buy a permit to take pictures inside the cathedral, which was a shame for me, but I can completely understood why. I honestly could have taken hundreds of photos in there. We were all in absolute awe from the minute we stepped through the doors. Aside from beauty, the cathedral is also extremely rich in history; much like most of Ripon.
The oldest part of the cathedral, was the Anglo Saxon crypt. Down a steep set of stair, and through a narrow tunnel, is a wonderfully preserved room, that almost resembled a cave in some ways (or at least that what it felt like to me!). We visited on a day when it wasn’t that busy, but I can only imagine how claustrophobic it is when it is busy. Having said that, busy or not I think I would have still gone down to see it – it was too amazing to miss! I fell in love with this cathedral, and its history.
After walking around the cathedral, and taking in its grand beauty; we said our prayers, lit a candle or two for our lost loved ones, then made our way back to the car.
As a history lover, I really enjoyed everything Ripon had to offer. Next time I visit, I would like to explore the city even more. We had lots to do and see that day, but I feel like there could be more there that we still haven’t seen. Maybe next time I’ll buy that permit so I can take pictures inside the cathedral!
Thank you for reading! 🙂
PS. I tend to post ‘outtakes’ (ie. photos that didn’t really fit into the blog post) over on my Instagram. I took a lots of photos in Ripon, so I will probably post the ones that didn’t make the cut, over on there: https://www.instagram.com/apriljean22/
If you’d like some extra info, here are the websites of everywhere I visited: