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Christmas in Ripon

Welcome to the enchanting Christmas festivities unfolding in Yorkshire’s quaintest city, Ripon. The medieval charm of Ripon’s delightful marketplace and cathedral comes alive with the spirit of Christmas, creating a magical atmosphere that resonates through its historic streets.

As twilight descends at the end of November, immerse yourself in the festive ambiance of the Christmas Markets. These markets, set against the backdrop of both indoor and outdoor settings, showcase an array of delightful produce, unique gifts, and charming decorations.

Experience the radiant beauty of Fountains Abbey as it glows with the colors of the rainbow. Wander beneath the vaulted ceilings of the cellarium, serenaded by live choirs and bands filling the ruins with joyful Christmas music. Join the ethereal Carols by Candlelight event, where the abbey cellarium is illuminated by the flickering glow of hundreds of candles.

On Boxing Day, partake in the annual Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey, retracing the steps of the abbey’s founders centuries ago.

Marvel at the Music and Lights at National Trust Fountains Abbey from November 25 to December 31. The abbey’s grandeur is enhanced by a vibrant floodlight display, offering a fresh perspective on the Cistercian ruins. Live music in the cellarium and special Carols by Candlelight events add to the enchantment.

Late Night Shopping on November 30 transforms Ripon’s bustling shopping streets into havens for Christmas shopping. Independent businesses stay open until 8 pm, offering a festive kick-off with promotions and activities. The magical Snow Globe returns from December 14 to 17, bringing a winter wonderland to different locations around Ripon. Families can capture festive moments as children play in the snow.

Feel the festive spirit at the Canal Basin on December 16-17, where Christmas ambiance blends with winter warmer cruises, tasty refreshments, and a Makers Market for last-minute decorations and gifts.

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On Boxing Day, embark on a refreshing walk from Ripon to Fountains Abbey, beginning with the St. Stephen’s Day Eucharist and culminating in a special service at the Abbey.

Bid farewell to 2022 in Ripon Market Square, where live music sets the tone leading up to the striking of the clock. A watch night service at the cathedral from 11:15 pm is followed by a torchlight procession to the market square, allowing all of Ripon to welcome the new year together in a spirit of unity and joy.

The details provided have been meticulously researched through both online sources and library references. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that perspectives may differ among various people. If you come across any inaccuracies, or omissions, or have additional insights to contribute, please feel free to contact us at ian.barlow@harrogateuk.co.uk

Ripon, pronounced as /ˈrɪpən/, is a charming cathedral city nestled in North Yorkshire, England. It’s strategically positioned at the confluence of two tributaries, the Laver and Skell, which join to form the picturesque River Ure. Ripon, steeped in history, was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and is renowned for its prominent landmarks such as Ripon Cathedral and the Ripon Racecourse. The city also boasts a vibrant market that adds to its appeal.

Originally known as Inhrypum, Ripon’s historical roots run deep. Bede, the venerable scholar, recorded that Alhfrith, the king of the Southern Northumbrian kingdom of Deira, granted land in Ripon to Eata of Hexham to establish a monastery. Some of Eata’s monks, including a young Saint Cuthbert, found their home in Ripon Abbey. Both Bede and Eddius Stephanus recounted that Saint Wilfrid replaced the original timber church with a stone-built one after Eata’s departure, marking a significant architectural shift during the time of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria.

Ripon’s history also includes periods of Viking control and Norman influence. Under the Plantagenets, the city experienced a phase of building projects and became known for its wool and cloth industry. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Ripon gained notoriety for its production of spurs but remained relatively untouched by the Industrial Revolution.

Despite its rich history, Ripon is one of England’s smallest cities, and within Yorkshire, it claims the title of the tiniest by population. The 2011 United Kingdom Census reported a population of 16,702, showing an increase from the 2001 Census figure of 15,922. Located 11 miles southwest of Thirsk, 16 miles south of Northallerton, and 12 miles north of Harrogate, Ripon offers more than its size might suggest. Its attractions include the racecourse, the stunning Ripon Cathedral, and its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey.

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Ripon’s vibrant market square and magnificent cathedral make it a favourite destination for tourists. Exploring the city reveals charming streets, small alleyways, and specialized shops that cater to various tastes. In addition to shopping, visitors can enjoy a variety of cafes and pubs offering refreshments and home-cooked meals throughout the day.

The city’s history is closely intertwined with its religious heritage, with the striking cathedral at its centre and the nearby Fountains Abbey adding to its spiritual significance.

Ripon History

Ripon, a historic cathedral city nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire, England, holds a unique position at the confluence of the Laver and Skell tributaries, contributing to the majestic River Ure. Pronounced /ˈrɪpən/, the city is renowned for its main feature, Ripon Cathedral, an architecturally significant structure that graces the skyline.

The city’s roots trace back to the 7th century when the first structure, a Christian church dedicated to St Peter, was erected by Wilfrid, a Northumbrian nobleman. Ripon’s history is rich and diverse, marked by periods of Viking control, Norman rule, and political tensions with Scotland. Despite its historical significance, Ripon holds the distinction of being the third-smallest city in England.

Ripon Cathedral stands as a testament to the city’s enduring historical and cultural charm. The Gothic-style Collegiate Church, constructed upon the ruins of Wilfrid’s original building, evolved over the centuries with contributions from notable figures like Roger de Pont L’Evêque and Walter de Gray. The 12th century witnessed the emergence of a thriving wool trade, attracting Italian trade merchants and solidifying Ripon’s place in the region.

The Reformation and Tudor times brought significant changes, with Fountains Abbey playing a central role. Ripon harbored ambitions of becoming a center of education, although the dream of establishing a “University of the North” remained unrealized. The Civil War and Restoration era saw a shift in Ripon’s economic landscape, transitioning from textiles to the production of high-quality spurs.

Throughout the Georgian era, Ripon managed to avoid the industrial changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The opening of Ripon railway station in 1848 marked a significant improvement in communication. During the World Wars, Ripon played roles in military training, hosting camps and serving as an airfield.

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In modern times, Ripon has experienced growth and transformation, attracting tourists with its historical buildings, deep Christian heritage, Studley Park, Ripon Racecourse, and the Lightwater Valley theme park. The city’s charm lies in its ability to seamlessly blend its rich history with the attractions of contemporary tim

Furthermore, Ripon boasts an exceptional racecourse, a splendid stately home, a magnificent abbey, and a popular theme park, providing a range of activities to suit all interests.

Ripon’s growth, driven by trade and manufacturing, led to the construction of a canal connecting it to navigable sections of the river Ure. Today, this canal adds to the city’s allure, offering delightful riverside and canal-sidewalks that extend into the surrounding countryside. The cityscape itself is a testament to a thousand years of history, with buildings that stand as witnesses to its rich past.

Ripon is known for its unique events that never fail to captivate visitors. From the nightly setting of the watch by the Hornblower to the annual Boxing Day pilgrimage, the city exudes character and charm. A thriving grassroots arts scene ensures regular exhibitions throughout the year, and musical events at the cathedral provide a cultural touch to this historical city. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, Ripon has something to offer every visitor.

Ripon, often regarded as a major source of inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ holds a rich history with the famous author. Carroll frequently visited the city, spending time with his family and exploring the intriguing animal carvings within the cathedral. The enigmatic gypsum sinkholes in the surrounding countryside likely played a role in sparking Alice’s mysterious journey.

This vibrant city boasts a diverse and impressive events calendar, offering both expected and unexpected delights. In June, the Ripon Theatre Festival transforms the city with street theatre, dance performances, and family shows for four captivating days.

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Every year, the St. Wilfrid’s Procession takes to the streets, infusing the city with a carnival atmosphere. Floats adorned with music and dancing bring joy to both young and old.

As September rolls in, the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show blossoms at the nearby historic gem, Newby Hall.

Exploring the charming shopping streets of Ripon, adorned with medieval and Georgian buildings, is a true delight. From independent boutiques to renowned High Street chains, the city’s shops offer a diverse range of trendy fashions and traditional gifts to suit every age and budget. Notably, Kirkgate, a winding and historic street, plays a pivotal role in Ripon’s life and history as it bridges the gap between the bustling Marketplace and the serene world of the Cathedral.

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 Ripon’s shops 

  • Card Factory Ripon

    Location: Unit 6-7 The Arcade, HG4 Ripon

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    M&Co Ripon

    Location: 6 Fishergate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Clothing

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    Thomas Cook Ripon

    Location: 15 Market Place, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Travel agencies

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    Morrisons Ripon

    Location: Harrogate Road, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Supermarket

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    Fat Face Ripon

    Location: Unit 15 Marketgate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Clothing

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    Home Bargains Ripon

    Location: The Arcade – Moss Arcade, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Discount

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    WH Smith Ripon

    Location: 13 Market Place, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Bookshops / Newsagents

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    Screwfix Ripon

    Location: Charter Road Off Boroughbridge Road, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Electrical goods

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    Booths Ripon

    Location: Marshall Way, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Supermarket

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    Dorothy Perkins Ripon

    Location: 11/12 Market Place East, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Clothing

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    Specsavers Ripon

    Location: 18 Fishergate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Opticians

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    The Works Ripon

    Location: 4 Market Place East, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Bookshops

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    Timpson Ripon

    Location: 1-3 Fishergate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Furniture shops

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    Mountain Warehouse Ripon

    Location: 2 Fishergate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Outdoor and Sports shops

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    Subway Ripon

    Location: 11 Queen St, HG4 Ripon

    Category:Sandwich shops

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    Kia Motors Ripon

    Location: Dallamires Lane, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Car Dealers

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    Plumb Center Ripon

    Location: Dallamires Way North Dallamires Lane Ind Est, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Plumber shops

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    Yesss Electrical Ripon

    Location: Charter Road Ripon Business Park Boroughbridge Road, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Electrical goods

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    Curzon Ripon

    Location: 75 North Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Hobby shops

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    Poundstretcher Ripon

    Location: Unit Su2 Market Gate – Marshall Way, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Discount

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    MKM Building Supplies Ripon

    Location: 1 – 3 Charter Road, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Home decor

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    Superdrug Ripon

    Location: 23 Market Place, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Health & beauty shops

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    Boots Ripon

    Location: 27 Market Place West, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Pharmacies

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    Saks Ripon

    Location: 23 High Skellgate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Hair

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    Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ripon

    Location: 10 Market Place, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Clothing

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    Majestic Ripon

    Location: 30 North Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Alcoholic drinks shops

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    Bargain Booze Ripon

    Location: 6 Queen Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Alcoholic drinks shops

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    YMCA Ripon

    Location: 4 Water Skellgate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Employment agencies

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    Day Lewis Pharmacy Ripon

    Location: 4 Westgate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Pharmacies

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    Wine Rack Ripon

    Location: 6 Queen Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Alcoholic drinks shops

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    Caffe Nero Ripon

    Location: 17A-B Market Place, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Coffee Shop

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    Leeds Building Society Ripon

    Location: 17 Market Place North, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Banks / Mortgages

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    Travis Perkins Ripon

    Location: Charter Road Boroughbridge Road, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Home decor

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    Day Lewis Pharmacy Ripon

     

    Location: 81 North Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Pharmacies

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    Skipton Building Society Ripon

    Location: 1 Market Place East, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Mortgages / Banking

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    Salvation Army Ripon

    Location: Lead Lane, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Salvation

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    Cartridge World Ripon

    Location: 70 North Street, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Printer Ink

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    Tofs Ripon

    Location: 16 Fishergate, HG4 Ripon

    Category: Furniture shops

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    Age UK Ripon

    Location: 7 Old Market Place, HG

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    Explore Ripon
    Entertainment

    WELCOME TO​ RIPON OPERATIC SOCIETY Discover the Vibrancy of Ripon’s Premier Musical Theatre Community

    Embark on a journey with Ripon Operatic Society, a cornerstone of musical excellence since its establishment in 1940. Initially dedicated to the timeless works of Gilbert & Sullivan, our society has evolved into a dynamic force, embracing a diverse repertoire of musical productions.

    Boasting a robust membership of over 150 individuals spanning ages 8 to 80, we take pride in our storied legacy of delivering captivating musical experiences in Ripon and Harrogate. Each spring, our enchanting performances grace the Harrogate Theatre, while our annual Autumn fundraising concert takes center stage at our own venue, the Ripon Arts Hub. Our society comprises two thriving entities: the main society, encompassing a vibrant community aged 16-80+, and the Ripon Youth Theatre, a haven for talented individuals aged 8-18.

    Join our musical family and be part of the magic! Whether you’re an experienced performer or someone with a newfound passion for musical theatre, we welcome you with open arms. Explore the Join Us section on our website for more details on becoming a cherished member of Ripon Operatic Society.

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    Welcome to Ripon Theatre Festival, proudly managed by Ripon City Festival Trust 1986, a registered charity (Charity Number: 514981), with valuable support from Ripon Together.

    At the heart of our community, Ripon City Festival Trust boasts a rich history of orchestrating events that enhance the lives of Ripon residents, such as the beloved Ripon By the Sea and the annual Pancake Races.

    Dedicated to bringing the magic of the stage to our city, Ripon Theatre Festival operates under the guidance of a passionate team of volunteers, serving as a dynamic sub-committee of the Trust.

    We are thrilled to announce the upcoming Ripon Theatre Festival, set to captivate audiences in the first week of July next year.

    Our Festival Team is diligently curating an extraordinary lineup, featuring the finest in touring theatre, captivating children’s shows, vibrant street entertainment, side-splitting comedy, mesmerizing dance performances, and enchanting storytelling—a promise of another unforgettable jamboree throughout the city.

    Joining the festivities, local groups are invited to participate and add their unique flair to the weekend, whether through city-center pop-up performances or family-friendly entertainment in the scenic Ripon Spa Gardens.

    As we approach the new year, stay tuned for more exciting details about our venues and partners for 2024. Get ready to mark your calendars and anticipate a July filled with theatrical wonders and community spirit at Ripon Theatre Festival.

    Social Clubs

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     Ripon & District Social Club

    Allhallowgate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1LQ

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    Ripon Bowling Club

    26 Bondgate Green, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1QW

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    Masham Sports Association

    The Recreation Ground, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4DS

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    Boroughbridge Social Club

    14 Fishergate, Boroughbridge, York, North Yorkshire, YO51 9AL

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    Ripon Rugby Union Football Club

    Mallorie Park Drive, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 2QD

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    Ripon Motor Boat Club

    Littlethorpe Lane, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1UB

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    Green Hammerton Social Club Ltd

    Boroughbridge Road, Green Hammerton, York, North Yorkshire, YO26 8AE

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    Masham Riding & Trekking Centre

    Swinton, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4JH

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    Origin Health Club

    River View Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1JJ

    Gymnasium, fitness classes, sauna, jacuzzi. tennis court…

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    Ripon City Golf Club

    Palace Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3HH

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    All Action Sports Ltd

    16 Camp Hill Close, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1QY

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    Explore Ripon

    Hotels

    Welcome to the charming Black Swan Public House, situated in the heart of North Yorkshire, near Fearby Nr Masham. Our 17th-century establishment, run by three continuous generations of the McCourt family, provides a warm traditional welcome that embodies the essence of the Yorkshire Dales. With guest accommodation now available, our pub serves as an ideal base to explore the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and beyond. From the public bar and most rooms, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Burn valley, spanning 40 miles across the Vale of York and local moors.

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    Experience the historic charm of The Unicorn in Ripon, a J D Wetherspoon Hotel. Reopened in April 2011 after a £2.1 million refurbishment, the hotel boasts free Wi-Fi and stands as one of Ripon’s oldest and most iconic inns.

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    Discover the epitome of luxury at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire, the highest-rated hotel in Yorkshire and Cumbria with 4 Red Stars and 3 Rosettes awarded by the AA. Nestled in 200 acres of parkland, lakes, and gardens, this castle, the ancestral home of the Cunliffe-Lister family, offers access to rivers, reservoirs, moorland, dales, and the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park.

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    Indulge in the grandeur of Ripon Spa Hotel, a splendid Edwardian hotel surrounded by award-winning gardens in the historic city of Ripon. With ample free parking, the hotel is an ideal starting point to explore the city and witness the traditional Ripon Hornblower ceremony in the Market Square.

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    Experience the Old Coach House, a 5-star gold award luxury guesthouse nestled between the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Located in the picturesque village of North Stainley, this 18th-century coaching house offers a perfect retreat to explore the beauty of Yorkshire, including the Yorkshire Wolds, Nidderdale, Harrogate, and York.

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    Step into history at The Ship Inn, a Tudor-style residential inn and pub near Ripon’s center. Just minutes away from Ripon Cathedral and the town center, this inn offers beautifully furnished rooms with en-suites.

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    Escape to the Buck Inn, an ideal country retreat in North Yorkshire. Whether you seek a romantic break, a family holiday, or outdoor pursuits, The Buck Inn caters to all. Explore the dales, moorland, and waterfalls before unwinding in the small, cozy bar with an extensive wine list and locally brewed ales.

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    Revel in the modern amenities and historic charm of The Royal Oak in Ripon, originally built as a coaching inn. Extensively renovated in 2007, it stands as one of the best places to eat, drink, and stay in the city center.

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    Experience the heart of Masham at The Bay Horse, an ideal place to stay near local attractions. Enjoy homemade food, real cask ales, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The Bay Horse offers comfortable seating with two roaring fires, and there are six letting bedrooms for a cozy overnight stay.

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    Immerse yourself in the rich history of The Old Deanery Hotel, situated in its private grounds near Ripon Cathedral. Dating back to 1625, this grade 2 red star listed building blends old-world charm with modern comfort, offering a unique and welcoming atmosphere.

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    Welcome to The Black a Moor Inn in North Yorkshire, a family-run establishment known for traditional home-cooked food, friendly service, and a great selection of real ales. Relax in the calming décor, by roaring log fires, and enjoy the inviting atmosphere.

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    Explore the inviting atmosphere of The George at Wath in North Yorkshire, where the bar’s log-burning stove and elegant restaurant offer the perfect setting for a relaxing pint, imaginative pub classics, and delightful seasonal dishes.

For additional information or queries, feel free to reach out to info@harrogateguide.co.uk.

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Ripon Cathedral

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