Hotel closures deliver blow to Ripon tourism


Sep 14, 2020
The Old Deanery will close after more than 17 years.

The Old Deanery Hotel’s closure early next year, combined with the closing of Ripon’s Spa Hotel, is a double blow to the city’s tourism sector.

As the city slowly emerges from lockdown, concerns have been raised about its future tourism prospects with a reduced choice for overnight visitors.

Tourism in Yorkshire and Humber is worth more than the whole tourism expenditure in Ireland or Denmark, while the number of people in the region employed in the sector is approximately 250,000.

Visitors are drawn to Ripon’s ancient church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, known as the Cathedral of the Dales, and the city’s heritage includes the world-famous nightly Hornblower ceremony.

As operators of visitor attractions look to the future, there are concerns about the loss of the bed spaces that they provided.

Ripon Prison and Police Museum

Ripon’s Prison and Police Museum

Helen Thornton, director of Ripon Museum Trust, which runs The Workshouse Museum, The Prison & Police Museum and Old Courthouse Museum, told the Stray Ferret:

“Covid-19 has impacted all tourism sectors and it is perhaps too early to say what the long-term picture will be. The closure of two hotels in Ripon is very sad and the decision must have been really hard but understandable given the circumstances we have all faced.

“I think it has long been acknowledged that a tourism city like Ripon could do with more hotel beds to develop the cultural  and heritage tourism offer further. Undoubtedly Ripon as a whole would benefit from more hotel beds.”

The trust re-opened its heritage attractions in mid-July and secured the Visit England’s ‘Good to Go’ kitemark for all the Covid-19 safety measures put in place to keep visitors, staff and volunteers safe.

Helen added:

“We are cautiously pleased with our performance in August. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of numbers but so far so good! We certainly did have tourists visiting who were ‘staycationers’, staying in the area in a variety of accommodation types.”

The trust has benefited from Heritage Lottery funding and works with organisations including Welcome to Yorkshire, Visit Harrogate and we other attractions in Ripon and the surrounding area, to promote the city-wide offer.

Read more:

Richard Compton, the owner of Newby Hall on the outskirts of Ripon, is also saddened by the loss of two hotels, but remains optimistic.

He said:

“There are many new ways nowadays through which people stay in a particular place to enjoy the tourism offer – AirBnB for example – and I hope that the hotels will re-emerge in some form or other as places that welcome visitors to stay so that they can service Ripon’s tourism offer.”

The Stray Ferret asked Ripon’s MP Julian Smith if he had any support to offer to operators of tourist and visitor attractions in his constituency, but no response was received by the time of publication.


Download the FREE Stray Ferret app here to access the latest news, competitions and offers.

Follow us on

The Stray Ferret Feed