Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

September seems to be disappearing fast. Dark skies in the morning leave me disorientated,  and when I wake I wonder if it is morning yet. But once the sun rises, opening the bedroom curtains reveals a sky lit almost by magic - stunning reds and oranges, lifting the city skyline. 

This month is always a great time to get out and explore.  The leaves are turning golden, many flowers are still in bloom and the trees are providing the wildlife with fruits, berries and nuts. We know as a family that we need to go out, walk, breathe, try not to argue (although we fail at this pretty much every time now that we have a slightly moody pre-teen to contend with) and then to return home, tired but happy. 

Only recently we took out a Family Membership to the National Trust. It's something I've been meaning to do for years but never really made the effort to sort it out. Procrastination is the name of the game in my life. However, I've finally done it  and I was super excited to read the Members Handbook when it arrived and start planning all the places I'd like to visit in Yorkshire and further afield. Top of the list was Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, somewhere I have been before but not since Harry was two years old. So a heck of a long time ago!

Truthfully I'm not a big fan of the old monastery - I can appreciate it's beauty. But I have a tremendous fear of monks after watching the movie 'The Name of the Rose' as a teenager. Have you ever seen it? It scared the living daylights out of me.  So I naturally find the Abbey a little creepy, especially when all those pigeons flew up at once, squawking as they did so. It was very eerie. But the husband loves his history and he finds these places fascinating, so I stuck it out for a while before getting him to move along.....

For me, it's all about the gardens, and Studley Royal is a gem. It's centre piece is the Moon pond, lined with eccentric statues and quirky follies. It's a place to be quiet and to immerse yourself in your surroundings. The views are simply spectacular. 

Our real goal was to find the deer. And eventually we did up near St Marys Church. Lots of them, just going about their daily business. Not at all bothered by the cries of toddlers or the playful pheasants that are all around the estate. It's a wonderful sight, I only wish I had a zoom lens on my camera to pick them out a little better. 

And after all our walking and burning off that piece of Raspberry and Lime cake back in the cafe, it was time to visit the Shop. What a little gem - jams and chutneys, perennial plants and shrubs and best of all, great big chunky woollen blankets for a lot less money than I've seen them online. I'm going back to stock up for Winter. 

And we'll definitely be returning. We can't wait to go back and see the Autumnal changes at half-term. x