What’s going for it? One can snigger at local customs – you know, the Ye Olde Knee-Painting Ceremony of Nuneaton, that kind of thing. But I think there’s something just fabulous about Ripon’s ancient hornblower, who blows his horn (stop sniggering at the back) at the four corners of the obelisk in the Market Square, every night at 9pm. First of all, someone still bothers to blow a horn four times every night, even when it’s throwing it down, even when there’s something good on the telly. Second, I do love a custom that takes us back to a distant past, when much of the country was ruled by Vikings and Danes. Alfred the Great is said to have given the horn to the people of Ripon to be blown for reassurance that no pesky Vikings were lurking, poised to pillage. These days the horn has its own website, YouTube videos and everything. It says much about this handsome, independent city of ancient history, modern twists, a flawless cityscape and damn fine tearooms. All seems right in the world here under the bunting on Kirkgate, which, considering all is very much not right in the world, is quite an achievement. One thing’s for sure: when the hornblower stops blowing, the end is nigh.
The case against Some might find it a bit dull. There’s local culture aplenty, but not enough to keep the cool cats among you satisfied. Where do you think this is, Halifax?
Well connected? Trains: no, the nearest is a 20-minute drive away at Thirsk or Knaresborough. Driving: the A1(M) is a five-minute drive away, Harrogate 30 mins, York 45 and Leeds 50. You are right on the edge of the glorious Yorkshire Dales national park. Buses to Harrogate and Leeds several times an hour.
Schools Primaries: Moorside Junior, Ripon Cathedral CofE, Holy Trinity CofE Junior and Sharow CofE are all “good”, Ofsted says, with St Wilfrid’s Catholic “outstanding”. Outwood has no report yet. Secondaries: Outwood and Ripon Grammar are both “outstanding”.
Hang out at… The Old Deanery is the local star, and you won’t want for nice pubs and smashing tearooms. But the real culinary hotspots are not far away, in Harrogate and the Dales.
Where to buy There’s a lovely old, bricky centre, of course, up on the hill, with a fine line in Georgian townhouses and Victorian terraces aplenty. Explore. Some nice (posh) homes, too, on the banks of the rivers. Fine period and modern suburbans south, off and between Harrogate and Knaresborough Roads. Large detacheds and townhouses, £450,000-£900,000. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £220,000-£400,000. Semis, £200,000-£450,000. Terraces and cottages, £125,000-£320,000. Flats, £70,000-£250,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £400-£600pcm; a three-bedroom house, £750-£950pcm.
Bargain of the week Three-bedroom Victorian terrace in the centre, at the new price of £146,950, with davislund.co.uk.
From the streets
Dave Jelley “For 25 years we had no cinema – now we have a Curzon with four rows of seats, brilliant. Fountains Abbey – one of the country’s most scenic Park Runs.”
Kathryn Stewart “The One Eyed Rat, with its superb hidden beer garden.”
Jonathan Thomas “An inordinate number of hairdressers and no major high-street retailer.”
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