Knaresborough is found in the heart of the county of North Yorkshire and lies within the borough of the famous spa town, Harrogate. This charming and historic market town is one of the most beautiful destinations in the whole of the United Kingdom. The centre boasts medieval castle ruins that sit above sheer limestone cliffs that makes for scenic views of the river Nidd.
Fortunately for me, my husband was born and bred in this scenic pocket of the world so my first experience of England was that of charming towns and the Yorkshire countryside. It has given me the perfect excuse to continue visiting the scenic town regularly in order to indulge in the views, charming character and eclectic markets throughout the week that offer up the finest local produce.
Here’s how to spend a day in the picture book town of Knaresborough:
How to get to Knaresborough
Knaresborough is a very accessible town to travel to as the train station is located a minutes uphill stroll into the town centre. It sits centrally along the Harrogate train line that runs between Leeds and York. Alternatively, there are also regular buses to Knaresborough which leave from surrounding towns and cities such as Harrogate and York. If you’re travelling by car, there are numerous reasonably priced carparks dotted around the town centre such as Conyngham car park and Knaresborough long stay car park.
How to spend your day in Knaresborough
Knaresborough market square: Start from the south east side of Knaresborough where there are affordable parking spaces and an array of charming boutiques. Here is lies the old towns’ market square that is laden with cobble stoned paths, charming buildings and artisan eateries; it’s the perfect place to fuel up on some breakfast and coffee in addition to browsing the locally made goods at the pop up stalls before continuing on your day out in Knaresborough.
Knaresborough castle: A short 3 minute walk east of the market square is where you can find the ruins of the medieval Knaresborough Castle. Boasting flowering gardens and sweeping views of the Viaduct and the river Nidd, this is a perfect place to lay down a picnic blanket and enjoy the views or tour the castle ruins that charges a modest 3.50 pounds per adult to enter and help support the upkeep of the historic site.
The castle was originally built in 1100 as a Norman fortress. Since then it has been occupied and visited by some of the most notable monarchy members such as King Henry I, King Edward I, King Edward II and Philippa of Hainault. In 1644 parliamentarian troops were ordered to dismantle royalist castles which resulted in the ruins that still stand today.
Stroll the riverside: As you make your way down the steep incline which follows the path of the original medieval steps, you edge closer to the timelessly scenic riverside where quaint cafes, restaurants and antique shops line the glistening waters edge. Charming cottages are layered up the steep incline and nestle into the cliffs above with their earthy hues with and flowering blooms in spring.
Row the River Nidd: In the warmer months, it’s impossible not to be drawn in by the charming wooden rowing boats gliding across the rivers surface. These romantic and fun boats can be rented from two locations; Marigold’s cafe and Blenkhorn’s boats, both of which can be found along the riverside. It costs 8 pounds per adult to hire a boat for an hour. During this time you can row up and down the river Nidd and enjoy the unique views of the scenery that surrounds the waters edges. The row boats are also dog friendly, which makes for a paw-fect day with our four-legged friends.
Eat lunch: By the time you have navigated your way back to shore having given your biceps a workout, you’re going to be hungry. There are plenty of places to choose from, my favourites being at Marigold’s cafe and The worlds end pub. Marigold’s cafe boasts stunning riverside views that sits right underneath the viaduct that rises above above river Nidd. However, this picturesque destination can often get crowded so expect to be waiting a while or book a table in advance! The worlds end pub flaunts its quintessentially English character and contemporary courtyard beer garden in which is surrounded by greenery and overlooks the towns historic streets.
Visit Mother Shipton’s cave: This enchanting part of Knaresborough is England’s oldest visitor attraction. From the 16th century, people have been traveling from near and far to explore the enchanting woods and see the cave the medieval witch, Mother Shipton, once occupied. She is believed to have been responsible for the rivers water containing “healing powers” which was deemed as a miracle in the pre-medicinal era. The location also offers a petrifying wall which only takes months to petrify objects due to its conditions, which is factual. Prices start from 9.50 pounds. You can also click here to book tickets.
Drinks and dinner at the Bear and Carriages: Located close to the river Nidd, this pub is the perfect place to wind down to complete your relaxing day of strolling the town of Knaresborough and taking in its naturally breathtaking views. Boasting an atmospherically cosy interior, an extensive wine list, beer garden and mouthwatering food, there’s no better way to end your day.
Where to stay
Knaresborough is the perfect day escape and won’t take any longer than a few days to explore the scenic town, however, if you’re visiting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or visiting to take in the towns medieval charm, then not to worry, the town offers a plethora of accomodation options that allow you to fully immerse yourself into the towns culture.
Teardrop cottage: This adorable and charming cottage stands on the scenic riverside walk in Knaresborough. Boasting a classic yet cosy interior, hot tub and outdoor decking to gaze upon the scenic vista, this is one of the most stunning accomodation in the whole town.
Dower house, hotel & spa: The Harrogate and Knaresborough region is famous for their spas. This is due to its surrounding water which is packed full of minerals and vitamins, which as previously mentioned, had been mistaken as ‘healing waters’ and somewhat of a miracle throughout the last millennia. Located only minutes from the river is Dower house which includes not only charming accomodation, but also spa packages for you to enjoy on your night away.
The old studio: This quaint cottage is located close to the town centre. With an interior flaunts its cosy contemporary designs without taking away from the cottages English accents and charm, it’s the perfect place to stop over.
I’m an Australian blogger based in Central West NSW who has spent the last few years exploring the four corners of the globe, living as an expat and falling in love with the world just a little bit more everyday. Here you can find my tips, guides and experiences to help inspire you for your next trip!
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