Just a short trip out of Harrogate – and still within the borough – lies the historic market and spa town of Knaresborough. Though it is a little smaller than Harrogate it has plenty to offer, from scenic views of the River Nidd and the iconic viaduct, to the ruins of Knaresborough Castle and then mysterious spectacle that is Old Mother Shipton’s Cave. Whether you are looking for somewhere to go for a day out or a short break, you could do a lot worse than this rambling old town.


Knaresborough has been around since the first century AD. In fact Knaresborough Castle dates back as far as 1100 AD, in the midst of Norman rule. It was around this time that the town began to grow, with a thriving market that attracted shoppers and traders from far and wide. The town is packed full of history, from the 12th century hermit’s cave to the 19th century buildings by the riverside, once used in the local textiles trade.

A series of interesting characters began their stories in Knaresborough, and there are still traces of them now. Blind Jack still resides on a bench in the Market Square, a man who lost his vision but managed to become a pioneer road builder in the 1900s. The town’s public art trail also shows Guy Fawkes and King John, among others.

Old Mother Shipton’s Cave is one of the biggest draws of Knaresborough to visitors. In fact the cave and petrifying well is known as England’s oldest tourist attraction, as it has been open to intrigued tourists, including Henry VIII, since the 17th century. Ripley Castle and Deer Park are just a short distance away, providing yet more for visitors to do in this charming old place. Boat hire is popular in Knaresborough too, allowing you to float at your leisure on the River Nidd, looking at the historic architecture of the town and the impressive viaduct.

And there is no shortage of nourishment in Knaresborough either, whether you are looking for a god pub to ensconce yourself in for a few hours, or a cool café or restaurant to get some tasty grub.

For more information visit Knaresborough Tourist Information just off Market Square, or simply head out and follow the rambling streets to see what you see. There is plenty of car parking in Knaresborough so feel free to drive out and experience this beautiful, historic town.