Ripley Castle near Harrogate has been in the Ingilby family for 700 years, a truly remarkable achievement that they celebrated in 2019. There’s a unique record of the turbulent history of the house that includes political, military, religious and social turbulence, of plague and persecution, of renaissance, enlightenment and industrial revolution. The Ingilby family continue to occupy this seat of romance, courage, loyalty and recklessness and provide a visitor experience that evokes all of the periods that have gone before and an environment that includes beautiful scenery, a deer park, a beautiful lake with infinity waterfall view and in the village of the same name with its own hostelry, The Boars Head that offers modern hospitality, accommodation and dining in a high-level historic setting.
Ripley Castle takes you from Edward III, plague, Henry VIII, through the gunpowder plot, Oliver Cromwell, it has eccentric ancestors and even ghost stories! There is so much more and if you want to learn much, much, more about the history of the family a new website has been produced, please visit ingilbyhistory.ripleycastle.co.uk
Ripley Castle is such a delight for visitors and although smaller than the grand scale of some of Herriot Country’s other great houses, castles and gardens it provides a more intimate and personal visit as the family is still very much involved in the day-to-day operation. There are regular tours of the Castle and Grounds which take approximately 1 hour and where you can enjoy six of the Castle rooms which include the Library, Drawing rooms, Tower room and Knights Chamber.
Families are encouraged to visit Ripley Castle as the tours are entertaining and engaging and can be valuable as an educational visit for over fives. There is a small children’s play area for younger visitors.
There is a tea-room in the Courtyard open all year round providing a warm, friendly and efficient hospitality. The Gift Shop provides a wide range of Ripley memorabilia and local arts and crafts.
The Walled Gardens contain a collection of Hyacinth giving a riot of colour in Spring as well as a magnificent aroma. The huge range of hot houses contain a highly impressive collection of tropical plants, ferns and cacti. Ancient wisteria and clematis thrive on the high south-facing walls. The Walled kitchen garden contains an extensive herb bed and an extraordinary collection of rare vegetables, grown in cooperation with the Henry Doubleday Research Association.
A collection of specimen trees from around the world and thousands of spring flowering bulbs, daffodils, narcissi, snowdrops, aconites and bluebells are to be found in the pleasure grounds.
Some of the magnificent oak trees in the deer park are one thousand years old and look impressive with their gnarled branches and girth. There is much wildlife including fallow deer, rabbits, squirrels, heron, canada and greylag geese, mallard, teal and wigeon, pheasants, woodpeckers and for the sharp-eyed you may see a kingfisher. A visit isn’t complete until you have been to the deer park.
Herriot Country is all the richer for having Ripley Castle as one of the Great Houses, Castles and Gardens in the area, only a half hour drive to and from the World of James Herriot in Thirsk and close to the famous spa town of Harrogate. Ripley and Harrogate were often places visited by Alf Wight OBE (James Herriot).