Knaresborough is full of surprises, a warren of medieval streets and stone staircases that weave their way up and down the hill. The town centre is perched on the cliffs above the River Nidd and the imposing railway viaduct across the Nidd Gorge offers an amazing view to visitors as they arrive by train.
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What’s best about Knaresborough?
The market place in the centre of the town offers a great place to enjoy a cup of tea or something delicious and home baked. On a Wednesday the market place fills with stalls offering tasty produce, whole foods, plants and flowers, as well pretty much anything else you can imagine, in the ever popular Knaresborough Market.
The narrow streets are a joy to meander through discovering cafes, curious shops and artists’ workshops. You cannot help but feel relaxed in Knaresborough, as the frantic pace of modern life is left behind wherever you go you stumble on little pieces of history; whether it’s the 12th Century hermit’s cave, the medieval castle or Parish Church or the 19th century riverside buildings whose names tell of the thriving textile industry once here.
It’s surprising how many people visit without venturing down to its beautiful waterfront. At the base of the cliffs on which the town sits, there you will find a delightful promenade that traps the sun in summer, giving a coastal feel despite being more than 60 miles from the sea. Enjoy an ice-cream or indulge in the tradition English pastime of ‘simply mucking about in boats’.
The largest event is the annual Great Knaresborough Bed Race which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Often copied but never beaten the race sees a number of teams pushing their elaborately decorated beds along a demanding course around the town, including a challenging river crossing and the long climb up for a lap of the market place. The event is enveloped by a festival atmosphere as crowds cheer on the teams.
The annual Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts, or FEVA is a highlight of the summer and includes some sensational events from plays and comedy to an urban beach and a range of street entertainment.
Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well is thought to be England’s oldest tourist attraction and was once the home of Knaresborough’s mysterious prophetess who died in 1561. This pretty riverside location also includes the petrifying well, where numerous artefacts have been turned to stone over the years.
Knaresborough Castle sits above the river and gorge, in a commanding position with spectacular views. The castle ravens can be seen on summer days, each with their own distinctive character and charm. The castle is a dramatic feature on the cliff tops and was sketched then painted by JMW Turner
The spotted house of Knaresborough was one of the iconic images from the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France, and the house is still decorated with decorations relating to the time of year. This year the Tour de Yorkshire will take the peloton of the world best cyclists past the spotted house again!
Hidden Gems of Knaresborough
The Nidd Gorge is a beautiful wooded landscape just upstream of the town, rich in wildlife and following the winding course of the river Nidd. The Nidd Gorge makes a great spot for walks, picnics and wildlife watching for all the family.
Jump on the bike and go for a ride; the Beryl Burton Cycle Way is a Sustrans route allowing cyclists to ride to Harrogate, Bilton and Ripley by traffic free routes. With a stunning view from atop the grade II listed Nidd Valley Viaduct, idyllic paths through fields and the odd pub along the way.
Getting to Knaresborough
The town sits on the A59 between York and Harrogate, a convenient east-west road that also connects to the A1M just few miles away. Regular rail services provide a convenient connection to Harrogate, York and Leeds.
- York Place, Long Stay Car Park
- Conyngham Hall Long Stay Car Park
- Fisher & Chapel St Short Stay Car Parks
- Castle Yard Short Stay Car Park
The Number 1 bus travels to Harrogate every seven minutes, and well as providing an hourly connection to Boroughbridge.
This circular route around the Historic Castle town of Knaresborough takes in quiet...
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