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Spend a day in Ripon

The beautiful cathedral city waiting to be explored

Ripon is a historic cathedral city with a wide range of independent shops and eateries and a busy programme of events providing year-round interest and entertainment for locals and visitors alike. With such a lot to see and do, we’ve rounded up some suggestions on how you can enjoy a big day out in one of the UK’s smallest cities.

In this Itinerary

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Morning, first stop

Ripon Cathedral

Start your day at the largest and most impressive building in the city. The magnificent cathedral dates back to the seventh century. A range of events including an impressive programme of music concerts and guided tours of the cathedral and crypt ensure there is plenty to see, hear and enjoy.

Once you’ve explored the Cathedral, head down Kirkgate to browse some of the town’s many independent shops. Ripon is perfect for shopping with its compact centre and wide range of outlets to explore.

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Ripon Market
Morning, before lunch

Ripon Market

If you’re in the city on Thursday or Saturday, head to the Market Place and browse the stalls and local produce. Take your pick from fresh fruit and veg, mouth-watering pastries and a range of homewares. The market is a longstanding tradition in the city, dating back to at least the 11th century. Be sure to be around at 11am when the Ripon Bellman formally opens the market. After you’ve browsed the market, pop into one of Ripon’s many cafés and eateries for a tasty lunchtime treat.

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RMT 21 Sept 137 397186963
Afternoon - Part one

Ripon Prison and Police Museum

Learn more about the history of the smallest city in Yorkshire at three different museums that can be accessed with just one entry ticket. First, call into the Ripon Prison and Police Museum and explore the whitewashed cells and barred windows. Tread the stone stairs worn by the feet of hundreds of prisoners to discover the harsh punishments handed out to criminals.

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RMT 21 Sept 166 1894862836
Afternoon - Part two

Courthouse Museum

Next, head to the Courthouse Museum, which transports you back in time to imagine the plight of an unfortunate person facing poverty, hardship, corporal punishment and possibly forced transportation to Australia for as little as stealing an apple! Make sure you make the most of your ticket and visit the last of the three museums, the Ripon Workhouse & Garden Museum to learn about life in a Victorian Workhouse.

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Hornblower Patricio 3 Nov 2022 13

Ripon Hornblower

One Ripon tradition not to be missed is the setting of the watch ceremony every night by the official Hornblower in the market square. The ritual was started to communicate that the city was secured for the night and residents could retire in the knowledge that they were safe from invaders. Now visitors gather to watch the Hornblower blow their horn in what is believed to be one of the longest ongoing traditions in the world – having been continued every night for over 1100 years.

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