Knaresborough is a picturesque market town in North Yorkshire, England, four miles east of Harrogate. The town is bounded to the west by the deep gorge of the River Nidd, with a railway viaduct vaulting over.
The Tourist Information Centre is on Market Place HG5 8AG, near the castle. In summer it's open M-W F 10AM-5PM, Th Sa 10AM-1PM.
See also Harrogate, as many transport routes come that way.
1 Knaresborough railway station is on a loop of line connecting Leeds (45 minutes, two per hour) and York (30 minutes, hourly); Northern Rail run this service. Anywhere else will involve a change at Leeds or York. York is the better connection for London Kings Cross, journey time under 2 hours.
Note that at York station, the loop train via Knaresborough is shown as going to Burley Park, in the Headingley/University area of Leeds, to avoid sending travellers to Leeds a long way round. Conversely at Leeds station, the loop train may be shown as going to Poppleton, a small halt just outside York.
Between Harrogate and Knaresborough use frequent Bus 1, see "Get around" below.
Bus 780 runs between Knaresborough and Wetherby, M-Sa every two hours, taking 30 min. It runs along B6164 via Little Ribston, and doesn't take the main road through Spofforth.
Bus 22 runs from Harrogate via Knaresborough to Ripon, M-Sa every two hours, taking an hour. Taking Bus 1 into Harrogate then going north to Ripon on Bus 36 takes about the same time. From Ripon, Bus 22 continues east to York, but you'd only take that route to reach intermediate small places such as Kirk Hammerton and Boroughbridge.
Neither National Express nor Megabus call at Knaresborough.
By road, Knaresborough is on the A59 between Harrogate and York.
Knaresborough is compact and easily explored on foot. Cycling is a good option for out-of-town, e.g. Ripley Castle. It's only four miles to Harrogate but this is along the main road A59, which is often busy.
Harrogate Bus 1 runs from Harrogate bus station through Knaresborough (20 min) to St James Retail Park on the eastern edge of town. Buses run every 8 min or so, from 6AM to midnight.
- 1 Knaresborough Castle, Castle Yard HG5 8AS. Daily 11:00-16:00. This is where you flee to if you've just assassinated Archbishop Thomas Becket. The castle was built by the Normans circa 1100, but its royal heyday was 1200-1400. In 1648 it was "slighted" by the Parliamentarians, i.e. partly demolished to prevent rebels using it in future, as were many other castles across the British Isles. The citizens promptly looted the ruins (an early form of recycling) to build their own mansions with "castle stone". Admire what's left in this pleasant park overlooking the river. Free.
- 2 Mother Shipton's Cave and the Petrifying Well, Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, HG5 8DD, ☏ , email@example.com. April-Oct M-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-5:30PM. Ursula Southeil or "Mother Shipton" (1488-1561) is supposed to have been born here, and to have made various scary prophecies. Much of what's attributed to her is later invention, especially the famous prophecy "The world to an end shall come, in eighteen hundred and eighty-one." This was written in 1862, and later amended to "1981" when cosmic events failed to oblige; there's probably a 2023 version coming soon.
Her supposed birthplace, the cave of the Petrifying Well, is a mix of creepy and tacky. Reachable by a riverside walk of about 20 minutes through the woods, it's a rock overhang with a continual drip of lime-rich water from above. The limestone solidifies, as if building a stalagmite, so any object left here for a few months gradually turns to stone. A whole tourist trade has built up around this: teddy bears and similar soft toys are popular sacrificial objects, what's that really all about? £8/£10 per pedestrian weekdays/weekend; £25 for up to five people arriving by car including parking.
- What is believed to be the 3 oldest chemist's shop in England, 16 Market Place, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire HG5 8AG. in a 17th-century timber-framed Grade II building marked with a blue plaque. But it ceased to be a chemist in 1997 and is now the Lavender Tea Rooms. Boots is just round the corner.
- 4 Knaresborough Viaduct. Dating back to the mid-19th century, the railway viaduct over the River Nidd is attractive and of some historic interest. When it was nearing completion in 1848, the viaduct collapsed due to poor construction, causing the river to flood and killing the fish. It was rebuilt in 1851, apparently with more care the second time around because it's still standing today, carrying trains between Harrogate and York.
Harrogate is worth a day to explore, and has better eating & drinking options.
Walk along the river and take in the scenic views.
Rent a rowing boat for £6-7 per person (per hour) and go up and down the river.
- Knaresborough Market. Wednesdays 7:30AM–3PM.
- 1 Thomas the Baker, 12 Market Place, HG5 8AG, ☏ . M-Sa 7:45AM-4:30PM. Friendly branch of a regional craft and artisan bakery chain selling a range of breads, cakes, and pastries. Their Yorkshire curd tart, filled with juicy currants, is sumptuous when fresh out the oven.
- 1 Castle Vaults (Castle Inn), 23 Castlegate, HG5 8AR, ☏ .
- 2 The Crown Inn, 71-75 High St, HG5 0HB, ☏ . 8AM-Midnight. run by JD Wetherspoon
- 3 George & Dragon Inn, 9 Briggate, HG5 8BQ, ☏ .
- 4 The Groves Inn (The Orange Grove), 30 Market Pl, HG5 8AG, ☏ .
- 5 The Hart, 4 Silver St, HG5 8AJ, ☏ .
- 6 Mother Shipton Inn, Low Bridge, HG5 8HZ.
- 7 Wellington Inn, 23 Briggate, HG5 8BQ, ☏ .
- 1 Best Western Dower House Hotel & Spa, Bond End HG5 9AL (Off A59 at main crossroads), ☏ . 3-star hotel in 15th-century red-brick manor. B&B double from £130.
- 2 Newton House, 5 York Place HG5 0AD, ☏ . Good value B&B in an 18th C town house. B&B double £100.
As of Jan 2021, Knaresborough has 4G from EE, O2 and Vodafone, but only a poor patchy signal from Three. 5G has not reached this area.
2011's UK loo of the year is a handy, clean (and free!) place to spend a penny, in Fisher Street car park behind Sainsbury's.
- To the east York, 17 mi (27 km) along the A59.
- To the west Harrogate, 3.8 mi (6.1 km) along the A59.
York, Leeds and Ripon are easily accessible by public transport. You'll need your own car to explore the Yorkshire Dales and National Park.
|Routes through Knaresborough|
|Yorkshire Dales ← Harrogate ←||W E||→ → York|