Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ripon Spa Garden, England

The Ripon Spa Garden is a well-maintained park just outside the town square. It has something for just about every taste.

Entrance to Spa Gardens

The Ripon War Memorial is located here and has won Best War Memorial, "town class," in Yorkshire several times.

Ripon War Memorial

Close by is the statue of the Marquess of Ripon, George Frederick Robinson. He was born at 10 Downing Street in 1827 (yes, he was the son of a sitting Prime Minister). As an adult, he was known as Earl de Grey, and worked tirelessly for the good of the country. He served in Parliament and then in the War Office. He worked with Florence Nightingale to improve the lives of average soldiers and negotiated to avoid war with America over the Alabama Affair (the Alabama was a Confederate ship that received hospitality from British ports during the American Civil War; the US Government was naturally unhappy that Britain's promise of neutrality had been violated; Earl de Grey smoothed things over). He became a Roman Catholic in 1873 (a controversial move for a prominent British politician). He served as Viceroy to India in 1880. He died in 1909.

Marquess of Ripon statue

Close up

The garden has a large lawn with a Victorian Gazebo in the middle. Concerts are performed on Sunday afternoons in the summer with plenty of ground for picnicking.

The lawn

The gazebo

A mini-golf course and other fun activities are available as well as a small cafe for a cuppa and a snack.

Mini-golf with the cafe behind it

Another fun activity is the Green Man Trail. Many Green Man plaques are hidden among the trees and bushes. I only found the obvious one on a shed door. I must bring the kids next time to help in the hunt!

Green Man on the door!

Of course, the garden has plenty of well maintained flower beds and interesting trees.

Early spring crocuses

A tree in early spring before getting leaves

The most interesting tree is one that has been cut down. It was not entirely removed and Chainsaw Mick has carved several characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland on the remaining tree branches. Carroll's father was a canon at Ripon Cathedral, so young Lewis spent plenty of time in Ripon.

Alice in Wonderland carvings

Alice and the Mad Hatter

Another Green Man!

Spa Garden is worth a visit when coming to Ripon!

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