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The exact origins of this market town of ancient walkways, cobbled alleys and secret passageways are shrouded in mystery. But one thing's for sure, Knaresborough has carved out a real character for itself with a Tudor prophetess, once royal castle, magnificent viaduct and breathtaking countryside views.
Knaresborough viaduct Viaduct over the River Nidd
Knaresborough Castle Destroyed in 1648, many town centre buildings were built using 'castle stone'.
The picturesque old market town spills down the river bank while towering above is the iconic viaduct and the ruins of Knaresborough Castle. With a history that goes back to the 5th Century there are several ancient sites to visit or you can follow the colourful public art trail of trompe l'oeils which tell the story of Knaresborough's past.
Cobbled paths and stone staircases lead down to the riverside for boat hire, mini-golf, pretty walks and little cafes. With great pubs, plenty of independent shops, a thriving Wednesday Market and a vibrant calendar of events, this town has a lovely holiday atmosphere.
An impressive sense of history is woven into the very fabric of Knaresborough, and it's everywhere to see. A wonderful place to start is Knaresborough Castle which towers over the River Nidd. Once a royal residence, it's said that Richard II was once imprisoned in the keep - and who knows what secrets the underground dungeon hides! At least you're free to escape down the hill to the natural haven that is Bebra Gardens, nestling at the foot of the castle.
Take a relaxing woodland walk and you'll discover one of Knaresborough's enduring curiosities; Mother Shipton's Cave. Believed to be England's oldest tourist attraction, it's the birthplace of the renowned 15th century prophetress who predicted the death of Mary Queen of Scots. See a whole host of everyday objects slowly being turned to stone in the cascading waters of the Petrifying Well and don't forget to make a wish in the wishing well before you go.
There's always plenty going on in the bustling town itself. You'll find the oldest chemist shop in England in the picturesque market square and why not stop for a pick-me-up in one of the charming old worlde tea rooms? The lively Knaresborough FEVA Arts Festival celebrates everything musical and artistic in August each year and the first weekend of December sees visitors flock from far and wide to the Edwardian Christmas Market. But the real spectacle is the annual Great Knaresborough Bed Race - a riotous jumble of specially constructed ‘beds' zipping through the cobbled lanes, with thousands of spectators turning out to support the teams and raise money for charity and community causes.
Lounging by the river on a summer's afternoon...especially as that's where my husband proposed to me!