We were looking for somewhere new to visit on the last Sunday of October. The clocks had just gone back so we'd had a leisurely morning with the extra hour we'd gained. We didn't want to travel too far but fancied going somewhere we hadn't been before and after a quick Google search, we came up with Ripley Castle.
Ripley Castle is a 14th century country house which is situated three miles from Harrogate in North Yorkshire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. We were actually really lucky when we visited because there was an artisan market being held in the grounds and therefore, admission was free. It also meant that we had extra to see on our visit.
The market was held in the Castle courtyard and there were the usual artisan food and drinks on offer, as well as a few craft stalls.
Such a beautiful setting for a market.
We ventured round the side of the Castle and into the grounds. There's plenty of space here for a good walk around.
There's a large ornamental lake with a waterfall, and if you cross this it takes you into the deer park.
The outbuildings comprised of a brewhouse, bakehouse, game larder, laundry and stores for the Castle. They were restored and converted to their present use in 2001.
Just look at the colour of this acer, absolutely beautiful, even on such a dull day. I'm sure it's even more stunning with a little sun shining through the leaves.
All the trees were clothed in autumn's hues, dripping in reds and golds.
Nature is so clever. This is a self-perpetuating beech tree.
The sign explains it better than I could.
How about this beautiful Redwood in the woodland. Isn't it a beauty.
There's a beautiful walled garden which I expect looks spectacular in the sunny summer months, though I'd like to visit in the springtime as there's a collection of Hyacinth which not only provide a riot of colour but also a magnificent aroma.
The buildings in the walled garden have undergone repair work and though at one time they were on the Heritage at Risk Register, they've now been removed.
The Palm House and Hothouses hold the current collection of tropical plants and ferns.
The archway leads you from the walled garden into the walled kitchen garden.
It's so well kept, even at this late stage of the year.
An avenue of fruit trees.
There's still so much to see in the kitchen garden with some beds planted up for the winter months.
It was quite a whistle stop tour as we didn't want to be out too long, but we did linger over hot drinks before we returned to the car.
The Castle is set in a small village, though we didn't look around the wider area this time.
A return visit is definitely in order. There's so much we missed on this visit and there's enough here to keep you entertained for a whole day and more. That's without even mentioning the Castle tours which you can take if this is something which would take your fancy. Yes, we'll definitely be back.