A Guide To Living in Ripon

Ripon is the fourth smallest city in the country and is steeped in history.

The city and its surroundings are noted for their architecture, with its magnificent Cathedral overlooking the centre of the city and sites like Fountains Abbey, Newby Hall among the many attractions within close proximity.

Ripon also races ahead with its sporting heritage – boasting a racecourse, known to many as ‘The Garden Racecourse' due to its numerous horticultural awards and picturesque surroundings.

Ripon and its periphery combine to form one of the most sought-after areas to live in the north of the country and is especially popular with families, who make use of its excellent schools; there are two secondary schools in the city - an academy and a selective – a state grammar school, as well as several junior and infant schools.

Professionals are also drawn to the city to make use of its transport links. Many people living in the city work elsewhere, preferring to live in Ripon but commute to their place of work in places such as Harrogate, York, Leeds and sometimes as far afield as Newcastle.

Access by road is the typical choice for commuters. The recently-upgraded A1 runs within easy reach of Ripon and the A61 - the main route running alongside the city - provides a direct route to Harrogate and Leeds. It also has easy access to the region via the local bus service.

The city - one of the oldest in the country - is also rich in culture. Ripon's Hornblower, who sets the watch every evening at 9pm at the square, is believed to be the longest ongoing, unbroken daily ceremony in the world, having taken place for over 1,127 years.

Notable former residents include: Lewis Carroll, who took his inspiration for the Alice in Wonderland stories from the area, and the well-known War Poet, Wilfred Owen. The current Foreign Secretary, William Hague and television presenter, Richard Hammond also spent time here where they both attended the local grammar school.

Ripon has a market on its square every Thursday, with around 30 stalls in total, as well as an award-winning farmers' market once a month. In addition, the city contains a number of popular shops including three supermarkets, two of which are located centrally. Ripon prides itself on its variety and has a number of smaller, independent shops, a swimming pool, leisure centre, and is due to open a cinema in 2013.

As well as its racecourse and Cathedral, Ripon is a popular tourist destination. Just outside the city is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Studley Royal Deer Park adjoining Fountains Abbey, and also the National Trust’s Brimham Rocks site.

There is never a shortage of things to do in and around the city and if you’re feeling adventurous the theme park, Lightwater Valley is just along the road.

And there's no better way to end your day than with a pint of famed Theakston’s bitter, brewed just up the road in Masham.

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