We had no idea how huge and spectacular Fountains Abbey is and we were pretty awed by it. We went on a crisp autumn day and it was a highly enjoyable walk down to the abbey and then back up the hill to the visitor centre. The cafe in the gardens was kind of mediochre but we were desperate for a cup of tea by the time we'd done the first half of the walk and we were grateful for it. There is more upmarket hospitality at the main visitor centre, though we didn't sample this. Quite a long walk for small children - our son is five and he was flagging towards the end - but lots to see in terms of trees, pheasants, waterways etc as well as the abbey. We'd definitely go again.
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