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  • The English Translator

What manner of folly is this?

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

If you're going to have a folly, then you're going to want to put it somewhere where you can see a thing or two when you're standing inside it and the Temple of Fame at Studley Royal in Yorkshire has done itself proud. Perched at the top of a hill overlooking the grounds surrounding Fountains Abbey, the view is quite superb.

It's a bit of a steep climb to get up to the folly from the gardens but once you're there, I'm sure you'll agree that it is well worth the effort.

Not everything is as it seems, though. In fact, the temple is something of a conundrum.

You might be forgiven for thinking the columns of the Ionic rotunda are hewn from stone but they're not. Actually, they are hollow and made of wood and plaster. If you think about it, it could well be a subtle nod to the hollow and vacuous nature of fame itself. Interesting thought, don't you agree?

Dating back to around 1770, the temple built for William Aislabie stands in the grounds of the water garden at Studley Royal, which was created in 1718. Now owned by the National Trust, the entire park - including the famous Fountains Abbey - was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden make for a great day out. There is ample parking and a shuttle bus to take you from one end of the park to the other. Pop into one of the tea rooms dotted about and take in the stunning scenery as you enjoy a pot of tea and a delicious home-made scone with clotted cream. Oh, and don't forget to drop by the National Trust's gift shop and perhaps pick up a souvenir before you make your way homewards.

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