We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Deserves wider recognition”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey
Ranked #4 of 149 things to do in Leeds
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Attraction details
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Halifax, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Deserves wider recognition”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

Although a popular attraction in West Yorkshire, Kirkstall Abbey seems to receive little mention in national guides to abbeys and attractions - which, given how extensive the ruins are, seems unfair. Possibly it stands (metaphorically) in the shade of more historically important Yorkshire abbeys, such as Rievaulx, so is overlooked. A shame, because the ruins are extensive and very well-presented.
Particularly interesting is the drainage system, which can still be followed on its route through the abbey grounds. The abbot's house remains (having survived misguided Victorian restoration efforts) and most of the night-stairs are intact. Although no 'interiors' remain on site, some surviving tiles and architectural finds are on view in the visitor centre. The cloisters retain an atmosphere of enclosure and the height of the ruins around the main transept give a sense of scale that's often missing from abbey ruins.
There are information boards throughout, making interpretation of the ruins very easy, and there are also child-friendly features. A cafe, museum and shop are opposite, and it stands in an extensive park - great for dog-walking (dogs are allowed on leads.) The site is owned by Leeds Museum service rather than NT/EH and the shop sells items reflecting this. Frustratingly, I couldn't find a guide-book - but the information boards did make up for this.
On a previous visit, a fun dog-show was taking place in the Abbey and there are also weekend markets held there - so if you are making a visit from far afield it would be worth checking in advance - you might want to avoid the 'events' if you're going primarily to take photographs and contemplate the site - or on the other hand they might enhance your visit, depending on your tastes - also it's not always open on Mondays.
As a bonus, the Abbey entrance and car-parking are free (there is a charge for the Abbey House museum) - all in all, definitely worth a special trip from far afield, and deserves more fame outside Yorkshire.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Malentaheloyse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

880 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    483
    321
    70
    6
    0
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Ver interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013

I knew this place existed from my child hood but forgot how impressive it is. Sat right by the main road towards the airport, you can see it what an effort it trook to construct it. The building structure is still evident enough to form an idea of the size and complexity of the structure. The grounds surrounding it will be lovely in summer and we even found time to have tea in the little cafe opposite.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank MrEddy1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leeds UK
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Kirkstall Festival”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013

You def need to visit the Abbey when the festival is on held in early July each year. Love the Abbey. So beautiful and great for a picnic.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank adele k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montrose, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Graceful”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2013

The abundance of crocuses were brilliant the Abbey itself was graceful and so litter and dog foul free.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank my3boys-great
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“historic”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2013

beautiful setting next to the river. lots to explore and great for photography enthusiasts and history lovers

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank jayem76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Kirkstall Abbey also viewed

Leeds, West Yorkshire
Leeds, West Yorkshire
 

Been to Kirkstall Abbey? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing