Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

We have been National Trust members for the last three years and have definitely made the most of their discounted Young Person’s membership! This means we can access dog friendly days out for free wherever we are, and at home we are lucky enough to live not too far from Fountains Abbey, one of our go-to ways to spend a morning or an afternoon.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is a UNESCO world Heritage site and one of the most popular days out in North Yorkshire. For this reason, I would recommend avoiding the site at weekends in summer. You can spend as little or as much time as you like at the site exploring the ruins of the abbey, strolling through the water gardens (which are the reason that the site is recognised by UNESCO) and walking through the abbey’s deer park – complete with an impressive herd of deer! There is free parking on site, with a few car parks to choose from, depending on where you are coming from.

There are plenty of walks to be had around Fountains. You do need to keep your dog on a lead around the abbey and in the deer park (for obvious reasons), but one of our favourite walks, the seven bridges walk, traverses an area of woodland which is perfect for your dog to get off the lead and explore. We quite often leave the route at this point and explore the paths criss crossing the wood! By starting from the village of Studley Roger you can avoid the busier centre of the site if you wish, although we definitely recommend calling at one of the cafes for the obligatory National Trust cream tea! There is both a restaurant and a tearoom, and plenty of benches if you want to bring your own picnic. Dogs are allowed everywhere on the site apart from a few indoor places which are clearly signed ‘no dogs’.

Fountains is beautiful whenever you visit but my favourite time is autumn. The summer crowds have disappeared and the site is much quieter. Merry also loves snuffling in the leaves which may unearth a pheasant or two! There is however no bad time to visit Fountains, as even on the busiest of days you can escape the crowds by heading into the deer park, which is always quieter than the ruins and the water gardens. This is one of our go to days out and definitely one for the bucket list if you haven’t already been. Dog friendly rating – 4/5. A lot of the site is on lead and it can be busy if you have a nervous dog.

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