Last weekend I was away at Center Parcs in Newark. I had no plans to get the camera out but upon driving up I noticed signs for Rufford Abbey Country Park which happened to be just outside of the Center Parcs entrance. Being intrigued I had a google to find out some more information and decided it would be nice to get away from the family for an hour or two and capture this former 12th-century Cistercian monastery.

I headed out mid-morning in hope to beat the busyness off a weekend park but unfortunately, I was a little too late and the park was filling up already. The walk-in was stunning. Although you can’t actually walk through the main gates, the entrance is just to the right and a footpath will take you on to the long straight drive enclosed by trees all the way down to the abbey.

Access to Rufford Abbey Country Park is free however parking is Β£4 all day. The house is spectacular and you can really see some of the evolution over the hundreds of years it has been there along with the remains of the 12-century parts. The rest of the park is a lot more modern which makes for a great day out with pieces of its rich history dotted throughout.

Apart from some stomach difficulties which took away some of my ability to really explore where I was, I thoroughly enjoyed this impromptu trip.

Rufford Abbey Country Park

Rufford Abbey has a rich history as a Cistercian monastery for hundreds of years. That was up until Henry VIII broke away from the Church of Rome in 1530. In the coming years, the abbey was closed down and then handed to the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury. Over the course of the next generations of owners, the abbey was converted to a fine country home.

It wasn’t until after World War 2 Nottingham County Council decided to purchase the abbey. Due to the poor state the abbey was in some of it had to be demolished. However, the government had already announced in the event of demolition the 12-century parts must be preserved at all costs. Then finally in 1969, the abbey was converted to a country park.