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Written by Chandru on July 16, 2020 Share on

Things to Do in Knaresborough (North Yorkshire, England) in 2024!

Travellers will find a lot of interesting things to do in Knaresborough thanks to its unique geography and ancient heritage. Knaresborough rewards those who are inquisitive and keen to explore. The aged Norman Castle has stood its ground against several sieges over the centuries including those by the Parliamentary Forces in the English Civil War. A visit to the castle gives travellers a fascinating insight into its medieval life whilst the perfectly preserved Tudor courtroom in the adjacent Courtroom Museum conveys a genuine feel for Law and Order at the time. Knaresborough’s market continues to thrive every Wednesday after over 500 years, with a variety of stalls that surround the statue of local hero, Blind Jack, in the Market Square. Below are the top things to do in Knaresborough.

Top 10 things to do in Knaresborough

Let us explore the best things to do in Knaresborough:

  1. Knaresborough Castle
  2. River Nidd Waterside Walk
  3. Nidd Gorge
  4. Mother Shipton’s Cave
  5. St Robert’s Cave
  6. Allerton Castle
  7. Bebra Gardens
  8. Ye Oldest Chymist Shoppe In England
  9. Beryl Burton Cycleway
  10. Church Of St John The Baptist

Also read: Things to Do in Cleethorpes (Lincolnshire, England)

1. Knaresborough Castle

This ruined fort has a dominant position high over the River Nidd on a cliff. Built by the Normans at the turn of the 12th century, Knaresborough Castle was strengthened in stone a century later by King John and developed further under Edward I and Edward II in the 14th century. Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III, took charge in 1331 and would visit during the summertime. Although the castle was brought down after the Civil War and its stone reused in the town centre, you can gaze into the dungeon and scale the King’s Tower. You will meet the castle’s ravens, an inmate since 2000 and able to talk to visitors in a Yorkshire accent.

Knaresborough Castle
Credits – Pexels

Also read: Edinburgh Castle – An escapade into history

2. Courthouse Museum

South of the ruined fortress, there is a part of Knaresborough Castle in good condition. The Courthouse, within the bailey, dates back to the 1300s but was reconstructed at the turn of the 17th century. It started out as a “house of records”, before becoming a court for the “Honour of Knaresborough” and a prison was combined in the 19th century. The Courthouse Museum inside shows Knaresborough’s quirky cast of former citizens, like Blind Jack (John Metcalfe), who lost his eyesight to smallpox but still built more than 180 miles of roads across Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1700s.

3. River Nidd Waterside Walk

The Nidd riverside in the centre of Knaresborough is remarkably photogenic for the high banks of the gorge and dense vegetation. You can easily stroll the length of the town centre’s riverside, from Mother Shipton’s Cave down to Our Lady of the Crag. The latter is a sweet early-15th-century chapel unearthed from the sandstone. A constant appearance along the route will be Knaresborough’s Victorian viaduct leaping across the gorge.

River Nidd Waterside Walk
Credits – Pixabay

4. Nidd Gorge

Up the Nidd, between the village of Bilton and Knaresborough, the river has slashed a ravine from the soft sandstone. The walls are up to 37 metres deep, while the river is adjoined by ancient broadleaf and coniferous woodland dating back to the 1600s. It also provides a habitat for more than 80 bird species, and 30 different types of mammal, reptile and amphibian. Go quietly and you may spot roe deer, herons by the water or green woodpeckers in the trees.

Also read: London’s Best Museums: Museums in London, England

5. Mother Shipton’s Cave

Above the Nidd and next to the Harrogate Road is officially the best tourist attraction in England, charging an entrance fee since 1630. At that time, there was a lot of interest in a prophet named Mother Shipton who was claimed to have been born in this cave in the year 1488. Mother Shipton was thought to have foretold a number of events, like the Great Fire of London in 1666. Another source of enthusiasm for hundreds of years is the “petrifying well” just outside the cave.

Mother Shipton’s Cave
Credits – Wikimedia

6. St Robert’s Cave

Some way down the Nidd on the south side of the town is another well-known cave, this one attached in real history. Robert of Knaresborough was a sceptic who lived in this little recess in the magnesian limestone cliff at the turn of the 13th century. Robert was born into a wealthy family, which he left to become an amateur monk at Fountains Abbey in Northumberland. He eventually gave up and moved to Knaresborough, cutting himself a house from the rock and becoming worshipped for his piety.

St Robert’s Cave
Credits – Wikimedia

7. Allerton Castle

As an estate, Allerton Castle has a history which dates back to the Norman Conquest. In 1843, the premier Baron of England, Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton approved an entirely new building with a fashionable figure that blended Gothic and Tudor architecture. From Easter to the end of October, you can visit this castle on Wednesdays for a comprehensive guided tour of a property that stands as a time capsule of English aristocratic life in the 19th century.

Musicians garden in Allerton Castle
Credits – Wikimedia

8. Bebra Gardens

Formerly known as the Moat Gardens, Bebra Gardens adopted the name of Knaresborough’s German twin town. This small but beautiful park is in the castle grounds on a stiff angle and has a swirl of pathways under mature conifers and broadleaf trees, and past well-tended rockeries and herbaceous borders. At the bottom of the slope, you will find a paddling pool for the smallest members of the family, open from the spring bank holiday to the start of September.

Also read: Explore the beauty of Hyde Park in Central London

9. Ye Oldest Chymist Shoppe in England

The oldest drugstore in England sits on Knaresborough’s Market Place and is registered with an official blue plaque. According to reports, John Beckwith ran a chemist shop here in 1720, but it is believed that the shop might be as much as 200 years older than that. What is known is that Beckwith used apothecary jars of “dispensatories and herbals” going back to the 17th century.

10. Beryl Burton Cycleway

Developed by the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, the Beryl Burton Cycleway is a concrete path allowing cyclists and pedestrians to avoid the busy and dangerous A 59 road between Knaresborough and Harrogate. The cycleway begins by the River Nidd and guides you as far as Bilton Hall Drive. From there, you can connect with another path, the Nidderdale Greenway, which will guide you to Harrogate on a spectacular comfortable ride, and also crossing that grand bridge.

Knaresborough, England
Credits – Unsplash

Here are a lot of things to do in Knaresborough, England, making it an interesting place to visit. It is a wonderful town with a great atmosphere, culture, and friendly people. You will definitely have a great time here! Book your United Kingdom package with Pickyourtrail now and have a great vacation. Also, check out our guides page or leave a Whatsapp inquiry for more options!

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