A cathedral city in the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Ripon sits within the joining of two streams of the River Ure, the Laver, and Skell. Ripon is historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and is famous for its architectural landmarks such as the Ripon Cathedral, founded as a monastery by Irish monks during the 660s. The church that remains today was built between the 13th and 16th centuries.
Originally known as ‘Inhrypum’, Ripon started out life as a land of monks and a monastery built by Eata of Hexham. When Eata was eventually driven out of the town by Alhfrith, ownership of the abbey was transferred to Saint Wilfrid, who replaced the timber church with a stone church. After operating under Viking control for a period, Ripon was controlled by the Normans, and later the Plantagenets, during which time the city prospered in the wool and cloth industries.
As England’s third-smallest city and the smallest in the whole of Yorkshire, by population, Ripon has only just over 17,000 residents. It is, however, an extremely popular tourist destination due to its well-renowned historical landmarks and attractions, including the Ripon Racecourse or the ‘Garden Racecourse’, a thoroughbred horse racing venue. Racing in Ripon can be traced as far back as 1664, when the city hosted its first races on Bondgate Green.
Ripon is also home to their weekly Thursday market which attracts visitors from all over, offering goods such as fresh produce, baked goods, locally reared meat, garments, accessories, local flowers, and plants. The city also sits in close proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the Studley Royal Park which includes the ruins of Fountains Abbey. The site spans an 18th-century landscaped garden, a Victorian church designed by William Burges, several of the largest Cistercian abbey ruins in Europe, and ruins of a Jacobean mansion.