Welcome to Knaresborough - a picturesque place to spend a while

Steeped in history and cloaked in natural beauty, Knaresborough is a quintessential Yorkshire town. It is a treasure trove of ancient architecture, vibrant culture, and picturesque landscapes.

Knaresborough at sunset

Discover the allure of this charming market town, from the iconic Knaresborough Castle to the fabled Mother Shipton’s Cave, and experience a slice of Yorkshire’s unique heritage. It’s also close to other popular towns such as the foodies town of Easingwold, Ripon, and Boroughbridge.

Points Of Note

  • Knaresborough is a market and spa town and civil parish in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, on the River Nidd 3 miles east of Harrogate.
  • Visitors can enjoy exploring the pretty side streets, old buildings, and unique shops in the market place.
  • The town offers a variety of food and drink options, including cafes, tea rooms, and the Wednesday market for tasty produce.
  • There are hidden gems to discover, such as the beautiful Nidd Gorge, the Beryl Burton Cycle Way, and the hidden pubs of Knaresborough.

Discover Knaresborough

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.

Standing proudly above the River Nidd, this pretty little town has a lot to offer visitors from near or far. A pleasant place to spend a while, the town also makes a sound base for visiting nearby Ripon and Harrogate on days out.

Accommodation Options in Knaresborough

Knaresborough offers over fifty diverse accommodation options, ranging from charming bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, suitable for various preferences and budgets.

The town centre buildings, echoing Yorkshire’s rich history, are often replete with homey guesthouses and inns. The Castle Yard, a stone’s throw from Knaresborough Castle, brims with quaint lodgings.

Hay Park Lane, on the other hand, boasts of tranquil spa town retreats, perfect for a relaxing holiday. Abbey Road, a nod to the town’s religious past, is lined with welcoming accommodations.

All these options provide the perfect base to explore the town’s unique geography, delve into its culture, and experience the local dialect. From budget-friendly options to luxurious stays, Knaresborough’s accommodation variety caters to all.

The Cottage, Knaresborough

Knaresborough, HG5 0HN, United Kingdom

‘The Potting Shed’

12 Iles Lane, Knaresborough, HG5 8DY, United Kingdom

Waterside Cottage Bed and Breakfast

Waterside Cottage 120 Briggate, Knaresborough, HG5 8BH, United Kingdom

The Old Studio

72A Briggate, Knaresborough, HG5 8BH, United Kingdom

The Mitre Inn

4 Station Road, Knaresborough, HG5 9AA, United Kingdom

The Groves Inn

30 Market Place, Knaresborough, HG5 8AG, United Kingdom

The General Tarleton

Ferrensby, Knaresborough, HG5 0PZ, United Kingdom

Woofles Luxury Caravan at Knaresborough Lido

Lido Leisure Park, Knaresborough, HG5 8LR, United Kingdom

The Club House

17 Kirkgate, Knaresborough, HG5 8AD, United Kingdom

Teardrop Cottage

15 Waterside., Knaresborough, HG5 9AZ, United Kingdom

Stunning 2-bed Riverside Luxury Home with Parking

3 Waterside, Knaresborough, HG5 9AZ, United Kingdom

Nidd Way Holiday Let

Wetherby Road Lido Leisure Park, Knaresborough, HG5 8LR, United Kingdom

Newton House

5-7 York Place, Knaresborough, HG5 0AD, United Kingdom

Modern Central House with 2 Parking Spaces

The Briars, Knaresborough, HG5 0PG, United Kingdom

Lilly Pad

8a Castlegate Knaresborough, Knaresborough, HG5 8AR, United Kingdom

Lido leisure park

Wetherby Road, Knaresborough, HG5 8LR, United Kingdom

Kirkgate House

17 Kirkgate, Knaresborough, HG5 8AD, United Kingdom


Wetherby Road N17, Knaresborough, HG5 8LR, United Kingdom

Jacob’s Ally

Hg5 8ar, Knaresborough, HG5 8AR, United Kingdom

Host & Stay – Lane’s End

12 Garten Close, Knaresborough, HG5 0TA, United Kingdom

Custard creams cottage

6 Iles Lane, Knaresborough, HG5 8DY, United Kingdom

Courtyard Cottage

17 Kirkgate, Knaresborough, HG5 8AD, United Kingdom

Castle house

Castlegate 15A, Knaresborough, HG5 8AR, United Kingdom

Belmont Gem

3 Belmont Mews Brewerton street, Knaresborough, HG5 8BA, United Kingdom

Latest about Knaresborough

The Allure of Knaresborough: A Brief Overview

Enveloped by stunning natural landscapes and steeped in rich history, Knaresborough’s enduring allure, a key discussion topic, lies in its unique combination of scenic beauty, historical significance, and diverse cultural offerings, making it an irresistible destination for both tourists and locals alike.

This historic market town in North Yorkshire is nestled on the banks of the River Nidd, with Knaresborough Castle standing proudly on a cliff above. Its legends and folklore add an intriguing layer to its appeal, with Mother Shipton’s Cave being a popular draw.

The town’s rich tapestry intertwines natural, historical and cultural threads, resulting in a truly unique Yorkshire charm. Its evocative landscapes, enriched by the River Nidd, and its distinctive cultural identity make Knaresborough a compelling destination.

An Exploration of Knaresborough’s Historical Significance

Grounded in a rich tapestry of history, the town of Knaresborough, with its impressive castle and strategic location, has played a pivotal role in shaping the socio-economic landscape of North Yorkshire.

The castle, a symbol of the town’s strength, eventually fell during the civil war, marking a significant turning point in Knaresborough’s history. Despite the castle’s fall, the town’s legacy lived on, immortalized by the enigmatic figure of Mother Shipton, a renowned prophetess.

The Courthouse Museum, an important local landmark, offers a deep dive into Knaresborough’s past, showcasing the town’s vibrant history and culture.

Today, Knaresborough stands as a testament to the resilience and enduring charm of North Yorkshire, its story an integral part of the United Kingdom’s rich historical tapestry.

Must-Visit Attractions in Knaresborough

The picturesque town of Knaresborough is home to an array of must-visit attractions, ranging from historical landmarks such as the Knaresborough Castle and Mother Shipton’s Cave, to natural spectacles like the River Nidd and its captivating Nidd Gorge.

The charming Market Square, brimming with Yorkshire’s rich history, offers a vibrant hub where local dialects and idioms colour the air. Conyngham Hall’s grandeur is a testament to the town’s illustrious past, while the tranquillity of Bebra Gardens provides a contrast with its lush greenery and serene pathways.

The Castle Grounds, steeped in tales from the days of yore, overlook the town, offering breathtaking views. Each site, deeply rooted in Yorkshire’s vibrant culture and geography, makes Knaresborough a truly unique destination.

Exquisite Culinary Experiences in Knaresborough

Navigating the gastronomical landscape of Knaresborough offers an unparalleled journey into Yorkshire’s culinary traditions. Locally sourced ingredients meet innovative cooking techniques to create a symphony of flavors. This town is a popular destination for food enthusiasts, attracting visitors from all over the globe to experience its fine dining scene.

From the heart of the bustling market place to the cozy corners of its ancient inns, Knaresborough serves up a rich array of dishes. Each dish tells a tale of the region’s rich history and culture. As evening descends, the town transforms into an intimate dining paradise.

Accommodation options are plentiful in Knaresborough. Ranging from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, they provide an inviting retreat after a day of culinary exploration. Immerse yourself in Knaresborough’s gastronomic heritage and experience Yorkshire’s culinary soul.

The Shopping Scene in Knaresborough

In Knaresborough, both tourists and locals alike can enjoy a diverse range of shopping experiences, from exploring quaint boutiques to visiting the lively Wednesday market, offering a myriad of unique items and artisanal crafts.

The market place, a hub of activity since this market town’s inception, continues to be the heart of the town centre, attracting traders and shoppers alike.

The town centre buildings, characterised by their Yorkshire stone facades, house a variety of shops offering everything from antiques to locally produced food.

The vibrant Wednesday market, a tradition steeped in history, showcases a selection of local produce and artisanal crafts.

The quaint boutiques, nestled amongst the historic architecture, provide a unique shopping experience, offering a range of distinctive items and bespoke gifts.

Knaresborough’s shopping scene beautifully intertwines the town’s rich history and vibrant present.

Unveiling Knaresborough’s Hidden Gems

Unearthing the hidden gems of Knaresborough opens up a treasure chest of cultural, historical, and natural attractions, and offers a deeper understanding of this charming town’s rich heritage.

The town’s crier, a traditional figure donned in red and gold, adds a colorful narrative to the rich tapestry of Knaresborough’s history.

The Yorkshire Dales, a picturesque haven, paints a breathtaking backdrop to this quaint town.

The magnificent viaduct, a marvel of Victorian engineering, spans the Nidd river, offering idyllic views from rowing boats below.

Surrounded by nature, the local quarry reveals a glimpse into Knaresborough’s industrial past.

Understanding Knaresborough’s Governance and Political Structure

How does the political structure of Knaresborough function, and what role does the North Yorkshire Council play in its governance?

Knaresborough operates as a civil parish within the broader regional administration of the North Yorkshire Council. This council, formed through a historic marriage settlement of responsibilities, handles local services while also liaising with national affairs.

The council’s influence stretches back to when parliamentary forces shaped the region’s governance. The North Yorkshire Council ensures the smooth functioning of Knaresborough’s social, economic, and infrastructural matters. This council also supervises the local education, transportation, and social services, playing a crucial role in maintaining Knaresborough’s unique culture and heritage while propelling it forward.

Thus, the North Yorkshire Council is intrinsic to Knaresborough, steering its growth whilst preserving its historical essence.

Knaresborough’s Rich Cultural Tapestry and Community Life

Remarkably, the community life and cultural richness of Knaresborough are interwoven, creating a vibrant tapestry that is reflective of its historical significance and contemporary dynamism. This charming Yorkshire town began its humble journey around the parish church of St John and flourished as the railway age began. With each passing era, Knaresborough’s rich cultural tapestry and community life have expanded and diversified, offering a unique blend of ancient and modern.

  • The annual Bed Race, a heartwarming symbol of unity and competitive spirit.
  • The hauntingly beautiful ruins of Knaresborough Castle, a testament to the town’s historical resilience.
  • The fascinating Courthouse Museum, keeping the past alive for future generations.
  • The bustling Wednesday market, a sensory delight and hub of local commerce.

Knaresborough’s Remarkable Landmarks and Geographic Features

The striking Knaresborough Castle, a significant historic landmark, and the enchanting River Nidd, a key geographic feature, both contribute to the town’s unique charm and allure.

The castle stone, a mute witness to the town’s rich history, bears the marks of time and the prowess of its former occupants, including the Stuteville family and Serlo de Burgh.

The railway station, a marvel of Victorian engineering, stands as a testament to the town’s industrial past. It’s a cultural hub that connects Knaresborough to other parts of Yorkshire.

St Johns, a historic church, serves as a spiritual bastion for locals.

The interweaving of these unique elements paints a vibrant tapestry, showcasing Knaresborough as a jewel in Yorkshire’s crown.

Transportation and Economic Structure in Knaresborough

Knaresborough’s robust transportation networks significantly contribute to the town’s economic structure. The railway station, a testament to the railway age, stands as a symbol of progress and connectivity. Close proximity to major motorways represents the pulse of modern transportation, vital for local businesses. The town’s history is intertwined with the railway age, which brought significant growth and prosperity.

However, the narrative of Knaresborough is not without its losses. The once formidable Knaresborough Castle lost its strategic importance over time, yet it remains a poignant symbol of the town’s rich history. The lost castle stands as a silent storyteller narrating tales of Knaresborough’s past.

The economic structure of the town is a blend of the traditional and contemporary, mirroring its resilience and adaptability. It fosters both local businesses and commuter-based employment, creating a diverse and thriving economy.

Media, Religion, Education, and Sports in Knaresborough

Diving into the media scene, religious establishments, educational institutions, and sports culture in Knaresborough, it becomes evident that these sectors significantly influence the town’s social fabric and community engagement.

The town’s history, steeped in the narratives of medieval kings, reverberates in the local media which often features stories about the castle, a key site of historical significance.

The religious landscape is shaped by the drama of Hugh de Morville’s forfeiture, the younger son who played a significant role in Knaresborough’s history.

Educational institutions, deeply rooted in Yorkshire’s cultural richness, embrace local dialects and idioms, fostering a sense of community.

Sports, particularly cricket, have a dedicated following, reflecting the town’s vibrant community spirit.

Each facet contributes to Knaresborough’s unique identity.

Knaresborough image gallery

History of Knaresborough

Knaresborough is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chenaresburg, meaning “Cenheard’s fortress”, in the wapentake of Burghshire, renamed Claro Wapentake in the 12th century.

Knaresborough Castle is originally from Norman times. In around 1100, the town began to grow. It provided a market and attracted traders to service the castle.

The parish church, St John’s, was established around the same time. The earliest identified Lord of Knaresborough is around 1115 when Serlo de Burgh held the Honour of Knaresborough from the King.

Hugh de Morville was granted the Honour of Knaresborough in 1158. He was constable of Knaresborough and leader of the group of four knights who murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170. The four knights fled to Knaresborough and hid at the castle. Hugh de Morville forfeited the lands in 1173, not for his implication in the murder of Thomas Becket, but for “complicity in the rebellion of Henry the Young King”, according to the Early Yorkshire Charters.

The Honour of Knaresborough then passed to the Stuteville family. When the Stuteville line was broken with the death of Robert the 4th (son of Robert 3rd) in 1205, King John effectively took the Honour of Knaresborough for himself.

The first Maundy Money was distributed in Knaresborough by King John on 15 April 1210.

Knaresborough Forest, which extended far to the south of the town, is reputed to have been one of King John’s favourite hunting grounds.

Although a market was first mentioned in 1206, the town was not granted a Royal Charter to hold a market until 1310, by Edward II.

A market is still held every Wednesday in the market square.

In Edward II’s reign, the castle was occupied by rebels and the curtain walls were breached by a siege engine.

Later, Scots invaders burned much of the town and the parish church.

In 1328, as part of the marriage settlement, Queen Philippa was granted “the Castle, Town, Forest and Honour of Knaresborough” by Edward III and the parish church was restored.

After her death in 1369, the Honour was granted by Edward to their younger son, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and since then the castle has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster, who also own nearby Harrogate’s Stray.

After the accession of Henry IV the castle lost much of its importance in national affairs, but remained a key site in regional administration for another century.

In the Civil War, following the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, the castle was besieged by Parliamentary forces. The castle eventually fell and in 1646 an order was made by Parliament for its destruction (but not carried out till 1648). The destruction was mainly done by citizens looting the stone. Many town centre buildings are built of castle stone.

The railway age began in Knaresborough in 1848 with the opening of a railway station on Hay Park Lane; this was replaced with the current one three years later in 1851. The town had a railway line to Boroughbridge until it closed to passengers in 1950; it was dismantled in 1964.

Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Knaresborough became part of North Yorkshire in 1974.

Knaresborough on the map

Knaresborough Fact Pack

  1. Knaresborough is a historic market town located in North Yorkshire, England.
  2. The town has a population of around 15,000 people.
  3. Knaresborough is situated on the River Nidd and has a beautiful riverside location.
  4. The town is known for its stunning scenery, including the nearby Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  5. Knaresborough has a rich history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Bronze Age.
  6. The town played an important role in the Norman Conquest, with Knaresborough Castle being built in the 12th century.
  7. Knaresborough is home to several historic buildings, including the 14th-century St. Robert’s Cave and the 14th-century Knaresborough House.
  8. The town has a range of independent shops and boutiques, selling everything from antiques to designer fashion.
  9. Knaresborough has several traditional pubs and restaurants, serving everything from pub grub to fine dining.
  10. The town is famous for its annual Knaresborough Bed Race, which takes place on the second Saturday of June.
  11. Knaresborough is also known for its annual feva festival, which is a celebration of music, arts, and culture.
  12. The town is a popular destination for anglers, with the River Nidd being home to a variety of fish.
  13. Knaresborough has a range of parks and green spaces, including the beautiful Conyngham Hall Gardens.
  14. The town is well-connected by road and rail, with excellent transport links to nearby towns and cities.
  15. Knaresborough is home to several excellent schools, including King James’s School and St. John’s Catholic Primary School.
  16. The town has a range of leisure facilities, including a swimming pool, a golf course, and a fitness center.
  17. Knaresborough is home to several art galleries and museums, including the Courthouse Museum and the Knaresborough Castle Museum.
  18. The town has a range of churches and religious buildings, including St. John the Baptist Church and Knaresborough Methodist Church.
  19. Knaresborough has a strong community spirit, with several active community groups and organizations.
  20. The town is home to several social enterprises and cooperatives, including a community-owned farm and a community-run café.
  21. Knaresborough is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the Nidderdale Way and the Yorkshire Dales.
  22. The town has a range of accommodation options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and self-catering cottages.
  23. Knaresborough has a reputation as a center for alternative and holistic therapies, with several health and wellness centers in the town.
  24. The town is a popular location for filming, with several movies and TV shows having been shot in the area.
  25. Knaresborough is a beautiful and welcoming town, with a rich history, stunning scenery, and a strong sense of community.

FAQs about Knaresborough

What is Knaresborough known for?

Knaresborough is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the River Nidd and the famous Knaresborough Viaduct. It is also home to the historic Knaresborough Castle and the Mother Shipton’s Cave, a popular tourist attraction.

What are some popular activities to do in Knaresborough?

Visitors to Knaresborough can enjoy a variety of activities, including exploring the castle and cave, taking a boat ride on the River Nidd, visiting the local market, and hiking or cycling through the surrounding countryside.

Is Knaresborough a good place to visit with children?

Yes, Knaresborough is a great place to visit with children. There are plenty of family-friendly activities, such as the Knaresborough Waterside Walk and the Knaresborough Pool.

What is the best time of year to visit Knaresborough?

The best time to visit Knaresborough is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. However, the town is also beautiful in the spring and autumn, when the foliage is changing and the crowds are smaller.

Are there any good restaurants or cafes in Knaresborough?

Yes, Knaresborough has a variety of excellent restaurants and cafes, serving everything from traditional British cuisine to international dishes. Some popular options include the Blind Jack’s pub, the Carriages Cafe, and the Old Royal Oak.

Where Next After Knaresborough

After visiting Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, there are several nearby destinations that are worth exploring. One of the most popular options is Harrogate, which is just a short drive away. This charming spa town is known for its elegant architecture, beautiful gardens, and high-end shopping and dining options. Visitors can take a stroll through the Valley Gardens, visit the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms, or relax in the Turkish Baths.

Another great option is the historic city of York, which is just a 30-minute drive from Knaresborough. York is home to some of the most impressive medieval architecture in the country, including the iconic York Minster cathedral and the ancient city walls. Visitors can also explore the narrow streets of the Shambles, visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, or take a relaxing boat trip along the River Ouse.

For those who prefer the great outdoors, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is just a short drive from Knaresborough. This stunning area of natural beauty is home to rolling hills, picturesque villages, and some of the best hiking and cycling routes in the country. Visitors can explore the famous Three Peaks, visit the charming market town of Hawes, or simply enjoy the stunning scenery.

View more places in North Yorkshire.