Yorkshire Photo Explorer

‘Fountains by Floodlight’ at Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey by Floodlight

Every Saturday evening in October, Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, is lit up for the ‘Fountains by Floodlight’ event. Starting at 5pm and running through until 9pm, you can capture the sun setting over the abbey, the blue hour and then explore the grounds by torchlight. To add to the atmosphere, a live choir performs in the abbey ruins. The abbey is already a photogenic place during the day, but the illuminations allow you to capture some different photographs.

Lay Brothers Refectory, Fountains Abbey

Lay Brothers Refectory

I arrived around half an hour before sunset. The weather was not the best during my visit and the hoped for sunset and pink sky did not materialise. I didn’t mind however, as the floodlights came on and the abbey starting glowing against the darkening sky. There are numerous different angles to take your photos from, both within the abbey ruins and around the grounds. After the last of the light faded, a torch was handy to find your way around as there is no other source of light! On a clear night, this would be a great place to try and capture the starry night sky with the abbey in the foreground.

After the choir had finished performing around 8pm, the crowds lessened, allowing the chance to photograph the archways of the Lay Brothers Refectory. This is probably one of the most famous photographs at the abbey and I enjoyed being able to photograph it without the crowds. I also loved wandering the grounds in the darkness, hearing only the sound of owls hooting. On my next visit I would like to explore a bit further into the grounds by torchlight and try some light painting.

‘Fountains by Floodlight’ at Fountains Abbey is open on Saturday 22nd October and Saturday 29th October 2016 if you would like to try some of your own night time shots. It is an annual event, so if you are not able to make it this year, then you can always visit next October.

Here are some of the photos I took on my visit:

Practicalities
Approximate post code (for sat nav) HG4 3DY
Parking There is on-site parking at the abbey. There is a charge to enter the Abbey and illuminations itself (National Trust)
Website ‘Fountains by Floodlight’ event page: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/81ff17ee-0842-477e-a77d-6cd5e40e7bbe/pages/details
Fountains Abbey webpage: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden

This is the location of Fountains Abbey:

Notes for next time
  • Try some shots from further away to get the landscape with the abbey
  • A clear night would be good for some starry sky photos

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