History at every turn
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.
Jack of all trades
John Metcalf, also known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf, was the first professional road builder to emerge during the Industrial Revolution. Blind from the age of six, John had an eventful life, which was well documented by his own account just before his death. In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England. You will find a statue of Blind Jack in the market square of Knaresborough, across from Blind Jack's pub.
Agatha Christie's stone handbag
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.
Ye olde traditions
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.