Ripley – Hampsthwaite Cycle Route For Families

Since we bought a bike rack we spend our weekends finding places where we can enjoy a family cycle. Sometimes they are closer to home, other times a little further afield. One such area we gravitate towards is North Yorkshire. It’s a road cyclist’s paradise and makes up some of the routes of the tour de Yorkshire.

It also happens to have some wonderful trails; perfect for families. We really like the village of Ripley close to Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Not only does it have a beautiful castle but also world-famous ice cream, a lovely little park for the kids and best of all free parking. As far as villages go it sets a high benchmark for others to follow!

I was aware you can actually get from Ripley to Fountains Abbey however the route is over 6 miles which felt a little long for a 6-year-old.

We, therefore, took advice from fellow cyclists to take the path from Ripley to Hampsthwaite where there’s a little cafe to enjoy.

Where does the ride take me?

Leaving the car park in Ripley head towards the castle. You will pick up signs for the route to Fountains Abbey which takes you down the hill from the castle and along a beautiful path. We went in mid-Spring and were fortunate to have the most beautiful scenery with Bluebells scattered around us.

My words cannot do this justice but I thoroughly recommend you take this route in Spring. Here are a couple of pictures we managed to take.

As you leave the Woods there’s a short climb. At the top of the hill, you are greeted with a sign for Fountains Abbey in one direction and the village of Hampsthwaite just half a mile in the other direction.

The hill down to the village is steep but there’s very little traffic and our daughter was able to successfully navigate without much trouble (thanks to the care and understanding of motorists).

Reaching the bottom of the hill you pass two houses which wouldn’t be out of place on Grand Designs. From here you are on the flat into the village (see picture). Cross the small bridge and follow your nose until you see the village square.

Sophie’s cafe is within the centre of the village and seems to be a cyclists’ haven as there were bikes and lycra everywhere. We visited on a Sunday which I assume is a busy period for cyclists.

The Cafe Stop:

The Cafe is a beautiful coffee shop with a wonderful garden at the rear. This was filled with walkers and cyclists alike and had a great vibe to it.

We ordered a couple of cakes and found the service surprisingly just ok given the glowing recommendations and reviews but thankfully the cakes were very tasty. Our Son and Daughter enjoyed sitting at the top of the garden and enjoying the views. It’s North Yorkshire at its finest.

Sophie’s coffee shop from the front
The garden at the rear.

The route back to Ripley:

The route back to Ripley involves tackling the steep hill we had just come down. Fuelled by cake I was able to climb with my little boy on the back of my mountain bike.

Our daughter managed to cycle the vast majority of it but had to push aspects of the steep climb. We followed the route back into Ripley and were soon back at the Castle after a short but difficult ride for a family of cyclists.

The Park:

Ripley village has a play park for children at the far end of the village. It’s constructed mostly from wood and also has a number of shaded picnic benches. We enjoyed our lunch in the park while the kids played.

The park is suitable for children from 1. It’s not huge but our kids really enjoy the park. After spending time in the park we walked back into the centre of Ripley and of course had an ice cream to finish the day. My wife is a huge fan of the fudge sticks which they sell for your ice cream.

Ripley Village Park


If you are a family into leisurely cycles then I recommend this route. The hill back from Hampsthwaite is a bit of a beast but the bike can easily be pushed if anyone in the family is struggling.

For a first-time cyclist it may be a little tough but for children who regularly cycle they shouldn’t have any issues with the route. Ripley is a beautiful village and the route adds some structure to an inexpensive but thoroughly enjoyable day out.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Anyone with a base level of cycling who can comfortably cycle over 5 miles. This includes children.


The hill back from Hampsthwaite is a biggie but as mentioned above it’s not a huge stretch so it’s safe to dismount and push the bike.


Cycling through the Bluebells in the wooded part of the route. I cannot explain how beautiful this was and even the picture doesn’t quite do it justice!


Anyone with an intermediate level of cycling over the age of 5 should be comfortable on the route.


Yes, absolutely. The route into Hampsthwaite is a country road but most residents are aware of cyclists as it’s a popular cycling route and keep the required distance.

The rest of the route is car-less so is more than safe. We did the route with our 1-year-old within the bike seat.

Pros & Cons


  • Free Parking
  • Fantastic play park in Ripley


  • The road back from Hampsthwaite is a bit of a beast and tough for children.

Cycle enjoyment rating

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Ryan

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