Ripley Castle

Ripley North Yorkshire HG3 3AY

The Ingilby family looms large over the picture-perfect village of Ripley, just a few miles from Harrogate on the eastern edge of the Dales. They have, after all, been here for over 700 years – that's 26 generations at the latest count, occupying the dramatic house, gardens and parkland of Ripley Castle. Make sure you give yourself enough time, since this is essentially an all-day visit, starting with an hour-long guided tour of the house before setting out for the beautiful walled gardens and grounds, and finishing off with a stroll into the deer park with its thousand-year-old oaks. The village itself all forms part of the same impeccably kept ensemble – it was rebuilt by an Ingilby ancestor in the mid-nineteenth century as a model European village (based on those of Alsace-Lorraine) – and visitors enjoy its bucolic charms of cobbled square, cutesy cottages, ancient church, traditional shops and rather fine estate inn, the Boar's Head. The village and its shops are free to visit – and there's free parking on arrival – as are the castle tea rooms, located just outside the main entrance, but there's an entrance charge for castle tours and gardens. Children and families get their own tailor-made tours incidentally – at 11.45am and 1.45pm at weekends between Easter and the end of October, and daily in school summer holidays.

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