Ripon Cathedral nave
A town on the banks of the River Ure in north Yorkshire. Ripon is famous for its superb medieval Minster church. There was a monastery here as early as the 7th century, when St Wilfrid built the first church, but the current cathedral dates to 1080, with 13th century additions.
Descend a set of worn stone steps to the Saxon crypt, and see the medieval wood carvings that inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in wonderland.

My first visit to Ripon Cathedral came by accident; I was driving north through the centre of the city, but when I saw the cathedral looming ahead of me I knew I just had to stop. To say it is an impressive sight is an understatement; it is simply superb, and repays a visit many times over. My favourite feature is the medieval screen, decorated with beautifully carved statues of kings and saints.

At the heart of the city is the market square, described by author Daniel Defoe as 'the finest and most beautiful square that is to be seen of its kind in England'. On the market square is The Wakeman's House, home of an official charged with keeping the peace after curfew. The Wakeman's horn still blows every knight at 9pm.

Within the city are no less than 3 museums on the theme of law and order. The Prison and Police Museum is housed in a complex of buildings that once served as a House of Correction and Liberty Gaol. Here you can trace the history of policing, try on prison uniforms, and explore original gaol cells.

The Courthouse Museum is a restored 19th century courthouse, and the Workhouse Museum shows what life was like for those who could not support themselves. See a recreated workhouse garden, explore the inmates' wards, the guardian's chambers, and vagrants cells.

If you need a relaxing break after exploring the 3 Yorkshire Law & Order Museums, why not take a stroll along the Ripon Canal? The canal runs 2.5 miles from the city centre to the River Ure at Oxclose Lock, and a peaceful canal-side walk follows the course of the waterway.

Outside Ripon is Norton Conyers, a 14th century manor house. Writer Charlotte Bronte visited the house and was inspired by stories of a man woman kept in the attic to create her character of Mrs Rochester in the novel Jane Eyre.

Another nearby stately home is Newby Hall, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and filled with fine furniture, tapestries, and sculpture. Just 4 miles away is Fountains Abbey, a medieval Cistercian monastery and one of the finest historic sites in England. Beside the abbey is Studley Royal Water Gardens, begun in 1718.