FOR nearly 800 years, it has been one of Yorkshire’s most captivating sights which has remained ingrained in the memories of the millions of pilgrims who have visited.
And the stunning ruins of Fountains Abbey have now been highlighted as among the nation’s treasured tourism assets after being named in a poll of the UK’s most recommended World Heritage sites.
The world’s largest travel internet site, TripAdvisor, has published the top 10 most popular Unesco World Heritage locations, with Fountains Abbey and the surrounding Studley Royal estate coming third. Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire was first, with the Orkney Islands in second.
Ironbridge Gorge was the runner-up in the global top 10, beaten only by Potala Palace in Lhasa. The results are based on more than 1.1 million traveller feedback forms, collected in partnership with Unesco, making this the largest study of its kind ever conducted.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, Gary Verity, said: “We are thrilled but not surprised that Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey are among the most recommended Unesco World Heritage sites in the UK.
“We’ve always known it’s one of the finest in the country but now more than one million tourists have made it official by their votes.
“It’s a must see visitor destination and we are proud to have it right here in Yorkshire.”
The abbey, which was founded in 1132, ranked higher than Gwynedd in Wales, Bath, Durham and Edinburgh as well as Canterbury Cathedral, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales and Westminster Abbey. There were a record 357,000 visitors to the abbey last year, and it ranks as the third most visited National Trust property nationally.