Record-breaking visitor numbers for historic Yorkshire site

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal in the frost (Andrew Butler)

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal in the frost (Andrew Butler)

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An historic North Yorkshire attraction has enjoyed a record number of visitors over the festive period.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, near Ripon, has seen an astonishing 37 per cent rise in visitors compared to the same period last year - and the highest numbers since records began in 1983.

A total of 18,657 people visited the 12th-century Cistercian ruins and water garden between Boxing Day and New Year's Day, a figure which has only been exceeded in Easter 2014, during a period of unseasonably warm weather.

The numbers have confirmed Fountains as the most popular National Trust site in the UK over Christmas.

Dry conditions saw hundreds of people take part in the Boxing Day Pilgrimage event, which was cancelled in 2015 due to the extreme wet weather. The group recreated the journey the abbey's founding monks made from Ripon Cathedral to the site back in 1132.

Staff illuminated the ruins to celebrate Christmas this year, and also organised a hidden reindeer trail.

General manager Justin Scully said:

“We’re delighted that so many people chose to spend their precious holiday time here at Fountains, making memories with family and friends. Not only was it the best Christmas performance since records began in 1983 but Fountains was also the most visited National Trust site in the UK. It’s fantastic news for Yorkshire’s tourism industry too, to have welcomed so many people to this great place, and who we hope will return again and again throughout the coming year.”

The attraction is open throughout the winter, except Fridays in January.

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