Great Knaresborough Bed Race

Participatory Event, Sporting Event



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The Great Knaresborough Bed Race is a mighty pageant of decorated beds, passengers and runners, combined with a gruelling athletic contest around a course of 2.4 miles. It is organised by charity organisation Knaresborough Lions to raise funds for charitable and community causes, mainly in Knaresborough and Nidderdale. The event has been held every year since 1966, always on the second Saturday in June.

The ninety competing beds first gather at Knaresborough Castle, decorated according to the year’s theme, which for 2020 is ‘The Environment: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. They parade through the town down to Conyngham Hall Fields, where they prepare for the race. Meanwhile, there are fairground attractions, stalls, live music and a big screen for the gathered crowds to enjoy.

The route takes the beds through the Nidd Gorge, up the steep Castle Ings to the town centre. Then they hurtle down the High Street, cross High Bridge and dash to the final hurdle: the 30-metre swim, guiding the bed and its passenger across the cold waters of the River Nidd.

For the teams it is an unforgettable experience, and for spectators it’s simply unmissable. Bed racing has now spread across the globe, helping to entertain folk and raise funds for worthwhile causes. But Knaresborough is where it all started!

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