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.
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.
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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.
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, 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.
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.
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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