Rievaulx Abbey
Rievaulx Abbey
4.5
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Hidden in the deep River Rye valley, the beautiful and tranquil abbey ruins reflect nearly one thousand years of spiritual, commercial and Romantic history. Rievaulx was one of the first Cistercian abbeys to be founded in England in around 1130, and after the dissolution, became the centre of commercial activity for many years. The abbey forge was used to set up an ironworks on the site. The abbey then entered its Romantic period when its picturesque ruins became a beacon for poets, painters, and scholars. It was one of the first major ruins to be conserved by the Office of Works (ancestor of English Heritage) in 1917.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Amanda F
    Manchester, United Kingdom123 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Rievaulx’s timeless beauty still stuns
    First of all, beware! This place is not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, we decided to make another attempt and we were not disappointed. I remembered Rievaulx’s beauty from my last visit 50 years ago (as a teenager) and it was as stunning as i remembered. The ruins are so beautiful and the setting really adds to it. Got great photos. Staff very friendly and the cafe was great too.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 23, 2023
  • Kevin S
    Pontypridd, United Kingdom6,253 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Pleasant ruin
    A ruins of what would have been a very large church and ancillary buildings. Enough remains to appreciate a 12th century architectural achievement. Check visiting times, not open Tuesdays and Wednesdays and even with a small exhibition an expensive £11 for what it is.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 1, 2023
  • karen R
    North Wingfield, United Kingdom32 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Rievalux
    Yet another dog friendly place and what an amazing place to visit. We did a small circular walk before entering the grounds which was very nice. And well enjoyed by the do. Once in I couldn’t believe how amazing this place was well worth a visit
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 13, 2023
  • Maria C
    Loughton, United Kingdom155 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning!
    Absolutely stunning place. Much larger than I expected. Friendly staff at the reception and in the tea room and lots of information points about the different rooms which would have been in use. The car park is quite small but we arrived early so did not have a problem. You do have to pay for parking when you get your tickets. Well worth a visit, would love to visit again if I am on the area.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 26, 2023
  • danielgraham1989
    Chandler’s Ford, United Kingdom209 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning Ruin
    Spectacular ruin with plenty to see and wander around. Interesting little museum with a little more information and some interesting parts of the ruin. Really interesting walking around what was once a magnificent building. Good facilities and an enjoyable few hours spent wandering around
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 2, 2023
  • Steve Buckley
    London, United Kingdom6,332 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive Attraction but overpriced - and unnecessary - to see at firsthand!
    My wife and myself are currently stay with friends at the small North Yorkshire Village of Old Byland and this morning we walked to and from the nearby Rivaulx Abbey. It both a nice and manageable (4 Kms each way) with the impressive Rivaulx Abbey awaiting one’s arrival. That said, there is no great need to pay the hefty £14 Adults Entry Fee unless you are particularly keen to see things at firsthand as there are no shortage of good viewing points nearby!!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 10, 2023
  • stickymicky69
    Bedford, United Kingdom72 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome site
    All the comments by other respondents are all spot on, this place is awesome in its beauty . Small plaques around site give you snippets of information about the buildings and there is a small museum with incredible finds within. Parking is right outside the entrance , it’s £3 to park . The staff were friendly and helpful . Don’t miss this incredible attraction whilst up in North Yorkshire .
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 22, 2023
  • Philippa W
    27 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nothing can detract from the grandeur of the abbey ruins.
    Stunning abbey ruins in an extremely picturesque setting, with a small modern visitors centre and even smaller museum. The ruins themselves are incredible: a real sense of history and holiness, even on a rainy day in half-term! The interpretation is fairly light but adequate - each board noting the historical context and the way the medieval abbey functioned, with some questions inviting visitor engagement. Most of the interpretation is in the museum, which has a number of artefacts found in the ruins and associated archaeology (including some amazing carved stonework); and it would have been good to have a bit more history here. The visitors centre (in beautiful white and light wood echoing the shapes of the original abbey) has a cafe which looks nice but we didn't use, a small shop (typical for English Heritage) and toilets in the car park, which were adequate and clean. When we were there there was a half-term Halloween pumpkin trail, which the kids enjoyed.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 28, 2023
  • Nigel W
    Farnham, United Kingdom21 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Deeply spiritual and easy to transcend the years...
    Second visit, and this time we stayed in the village... We have now been in rain and sunshine, and it remains as spiritually uplifting whatever the weather. As members of English Heritage the experience cost us nothing on the day, but, if you have a deep sense of history and a desire to understand the past, the one off cost is little compared to the experience. We will be back, and hopefully staying in the same cottage.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 3, 2023
  • epemberton
    North Yorkshire, United Kingdom214 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely afternoon visit
    A lovely visit, despite the weather. A nice big site compared to some other ruins, we were very glad to be able to visit the museum when the heavens opened! Our dog was made very welcome throughout the site too which was very appreciated. Worth noting the car park is pay and display and you need to get your ticket when you buy your abbey tickets.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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sus63uk
Potters Bar, UK62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
We visited this ruin on a very grey rainy morning but the weather was worth it! The included audio tour is very well done and easy to follow, with just the right amount of information given out so that you didn't get 'information overload'. Actors narrated stories about being past occupants of the abbey, which also really made a difference. The ruins are fantastic to see and walk around, really stunning. Informative plaques and pictures give you info at each main point (11 in total), as well as more detailed info options to choose from the audio tour. As non-English Heritage members we found the original entry prices expensive (plus £3 for parking) but once we returned the following day after applying an online 50% discount offer we considered it to all be great value for money. Also the entire site is dog-friendly (on leads), and staff were all friendly and helpful. Would certainly recommend this site, although try to find a discount offer if you're not a member Tip: there is a free village car park that is found before the EH site's actual car park, which only asks for donations to assist with its upkeep. However one day it was open but the next day that we actually returned to visit the abbey, it was locked. Worth a try though.
Written June 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John B
Stockton-on-Tees, UK402 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
As a youngster, Rievaulx Abbey was the go to venue of choice for a school outing and we have continued infrequent visits into our retirement. It is a wonderful, impressive place in a fantastic sheltered sun trap of a setting. The modern shop and cafe, which have been added since our last visit are very good and the buildings complement the setting. The small museum is very interesting and gives a good history of the area. In these Covid times you have to book in advance and you are met at the gate by a friendly greeter who explains the entrance arrangements etc. You enter the site via the shop where another friendly greeter points you in the right direction. We visited on a lovely sunny day and being one of the first in, we were afforded people-free views of the abbey for our photos. It is a great site for children as the ruins are impressive and children can scramble over some of the stonework. The surrounding grassy area is great for a picnic and there are some outdoor picnic tables. The scones and coffee in the cafe are to be recommended and service is Covid compliant with the tables and chairs being sanitised after every use.
Written September 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deltablade
Buckinghamshire, UK564 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
What a place this would have been in its pomp! Well done English Heritage for preserving it. Approx 6 mile round trip if you fancy a nice walk from Helmsley (walking poles handy, though not essential, as there are some uneven steps part-way ..take care if wet).
Personally, I found the museum to be rather bland and the video brief so a bit of prior research before visiting will give more meaning and provide a richer experience. Much is made of Abbot Aelred who, prior to his monastic calling, was possibly not as saintly and pious as his legacy suggests! His younger life is largely glossed over in the history books ..my guess is he was simply human! And I have to agree with the comment by Andrew H's (review 11/9/21), 'trying to weave a LGBT narrative around a 12th century abbot was a bit of a stretch' ..certainly above my my pay grade :-)
£5 car parking charge in addition to the £10 admission fee is a bit of a marketing clanger - £12/£2 would give a better look. Free parking for EH members of course.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stewart C
Chatham, UK1,076 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
We visited Rievaulx Abbey on a warm Sunday morning in September in the company of some friends. We had driven here and there is a small (pay & display) car park though this is free to English Heritage members who run the abbey site. We combined our visit with the 3 mile walk from Helmsley Castle and took one of the cars to the (pay & display) car park in Helmsley to walk back to the Abbey.
The Abbey site has a good sized café area and we used this after our walk and before entering the site, there is a gift shop here as well should you wish to purchase a souvenir of your day. As mentioned above, the abbey ruins are manged by English Heritage and entrance is free to members. We took the audio guide for the site and this gives a good insight into the how the abbey operated when in use, with different locations and aspects of the abbey explained as you pass around. The Abbey ruins are quite extensive with not only the church remains but also the lower walls of the monk’s accommodation, refectory, dormitories, chapter house and cloister. Indeed, parts of the remains of the accommodation blocks reminded me of the ruins at Pompei we saw a few years ago. In operation, the Abbey would have been a virtually self-sufficient community with its fish pools and local farming properties.
The abbey ruins are worth a visit just to imagine what it may have looked like in its prime. Stand in the skeletal nave and stare up at the now empty arched windows and imagine this resembling your local cathedral / large church with its stained glass windows and ornamentation. Hear in your mind the sound of monks chanting and singing hymns, the sound echoing around the cavernous interior of the church. Marvel at the strong columns that used to support the weight of the roof above and see the textures of the component stones weathered by exposure to nearly 500 years of sun, wind, rain and ice. When you have finished at the ruin, there is a good museum close by featuring a history of the abbey site and some artefacts found during archaeological excavations of the abbey.
If you like photography then it is possible to get some very scenic pictures here, either in colour or monochrome, particularly if you have an interesting sky. After our visit we took the second car back to Helmsley where we had dinner before returning to our hotel.
Written October 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

grumpimus
Scarborough, UK266 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Solo
Chose to visit Rievaulx Abbey having purchased EH Membership recently. Weather was fantastic on arrival. Had to pre book due to Covid-19. Website show how many have booked for each hours booking slot, so you know when the quieter times may be.
On arrival met by a very pleasant and happy lady, who directed us to a parking area having checked details online.
Good Covid restrictions on arrival at reception and having collected an audio tour off went.....
Audio tour has little boards with brief explanation, simply scan the audio device over the board and it begins playing. Even tells you which direction to go at the end of each brief.
The ruins are amazing, very serene/thought provoking, and huge!
You can understand why the Cistercian Monks chose where they did to build the Abbey.
You can spend as much time as you like there, be sure to look inside the exhibition area which houses some of the artifacts salvaged from the site over the years.
Lovely cafe and outdoor seating area, and a gift shop housing the usual fare.
Definitely worth the visit, and would love to go back again soon.
Written September 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jenny
25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
This abbey has it all in terms of a tranquil setting and ambience.

The audio guide is excellent and you can wander around or find somewhere to sit to listen and the talk is backed up with a little museum.

After the spiritual experience there is plenty of room for a picnic and run around for children or use the on site cafe.

Unlike Whitby Abbey the car parking and toilets are included in the entrance fee.
Written September 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

susan l
United Kingdom167 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
We enjoyed our visit. We were turned away as we walked in by carpark person because hubby said no we hadnt prebooked. It took me to explain we were seeking membership for them to welcome us in with open arms and promise of being abel to go in even if we didnt take membership up . Initially everything seemed straightforwa re pricing explanation until same lady then showed us to till were she caused us great embarrasment by lenghty questioning and confusing us with more information about pricing options,..why could we not affordit ??really was that any of her business? in end we were so worn down we signed up just to end it all! Never have we come across such a hard sell in any other tourism business and are appalled that they seem to have an endless list of questions until they get a yes response. Its hard to walk away from the till when there is a queue building up..and very confusing when the queue for the till is for both admission and shop purchases without any differentiation or signage. Very confusing. Are senior management aware of the hardsell encouraged by this shop manager? Is it really anyone elses business if we feel the pricing is too expensive when weve already been explained the options ..until we felt bamboozeled as she changed the explanations re pricing options which were clearly stated on leaflet anyway?
Written July 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yorkshiregirl29
East Riding of Yorkshire, UK334 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
Our son home from university wanted to visit Rievaulx Abbey, we had never been so decided to make it a family day out from East Yorkshire a good 1hr 20mins. It's a great place to visit in a wonderful location. Museum part was interesting but freezing cold, it was warmer outside so I had a quick scoot round than waited outside. The cafe does excellent food & drink and not too pricey, great staff. We also went for a local circular walk to make more of our time here. Is it worth £10 not sure really!

However there were a few negatives which took away one rating, these were:
Had pre-booked tickets, on arriving had to pay for parking on top of this, which I think is ridiculous & unnecessary when paying an entry fee. Later found that you could have an audio guide we never offered one.
There was a school group noisy and climbing all over the walls rather spoilt our visit not to mention trying to use the toilets. Children leaning against our car was unacceptable.
There was dogs mess around the Nave area of the Abbey, whoever let their dog foul put grass on top so we nearly trod in it, disgusting.
Written March 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RachieBN1984
Whitby, UK19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
We didn’t have long to see the splendour of this Abbey but made the most of the hr we did have. Its a great setting and the size of the abbey is captivating. It has been well locked after by the Trust and there were workers there onsite scaling the walls to preserve its glory. There is a huge garden at the foot of the Abbey for picnic tables and play area. Will definitely be returning when the sun is shining again!
Written September 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

richard r
Borgue, UK161 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
This magnificent ruin has a lot of the walls left so that it is easy to see just how big and magnificient the Abbey was in its heyday.
The parking is not good on the very narrow village roads unless you have booked a carpark slot at the visitor centre. There are a lot of walkers who are not visiting the abbey who park here .
The museum is small but full of interesting medieval remiains and is dog friendly like the rest of the site.
Lovely dog friendly cafe and shop with very friendly staff.
Beautiful site set in a sheltered valley with river.
Written October 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Rievaulx Abbey, Helmsley

Frequently Asked Questions about Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM




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