The fairytale town perched on cliffs two hours from Greater Manchester
It seems straight out of a fairy tale; medieval streets, two castles and a town center perched on cliffs.
But Knaresborough, a stunning spa town nestled above the River Nidd in North Yorkshire, is just two hours’ drive from Manchester – or just under two hours by train.
Those who choose to travel by train will be rewarded with stunning views of the region and the river from the railway viaduct upon arrival.
Knaresborough is rich in history and tradition, located a few miles northeast of Harrogate.
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And, despite being over 60 miles from the coast, it has a promenade at the base of its cliffs – giving the place a seaside feel.
What to do
Take in the views Knaresborough has to offer from the River Nidd itself.
Whether you are a professional rower or just a beginner, renting a boat is an excellent way to discover the region.
Or you can hire someone to do the rowing for you, letting you explore from an iconic red and green boat, without all the elbow grease.
Historical tours on a punt are also on offer, with a guide to tell you about Knaresborough’s traditions and tourist attractions.
The boats will operate again from March 2022.
Mother Shipton’s Cave
If you’re looking for a slice of history, then Mother Shipton’s cave – and the petrifying well nearby – are not to be missed.
The cave is the birthplace of – you guessed it – Mother Shipton, born Ursula Sontheil in 1488.
She is England’s most famous prophetess and predicted the fate of several rulers in her lifetime, as well as the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the defeat of the Spanish Armada, according to his site.
Meanwhile, the petrifying pit, also known as the drop pit, is a preserved remnant of Knaresborough Royal Forest.
It is England’s oldest paid tourist attraction and has been operating since 1630.
Visitors can explore the Grotto and the Well during weekends from March 2022.
Every week, stalls fill the popular Knaresborough Market, offering a wealth of produce, whole foods, plants, flowers and more.
The market is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday.
Knaresborough is home to not one, but two remarkable castles, both surrounded by beautiful green spaces.
Knaresborough Castle is a listed ancient monument owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, the grounds of which are open as a public park all year round.
Meanwhile, Allerton Castle is a Grade I listed 19th century Victorian Gothic house. It was owned by Prince Frederick – known as the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ and brother of King George IV.
Both castles are open to visitors seasonally.
Knaresborough offers a range of independent cafes and restaurants, serving Indian and Japanese cuisines, to your favorite pub grub.
Visit the Ugly Duckling Tea Room for a hot chocolate or warming soup – and a selection of vegan treats.
Or step into The Guy Fawkes Arms for a top-notch Sunday roast, followed by a wide range of delicious desserts.
Where to stay
There are many accommodation options in and around Knaresborough.
If you want to stay in the heart of the city, there are plenty of luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts within walking distance of the centre.
Teardrop Cottage is located in the Nidd Gorge, not far from the town center and has a hot tub. The Miter Inn is adjacent to the train station and serves specialty coffees and beers.
Further afield, Rustling Pines offers static caravans set up in the Knaresborough Lido. Each caravan can accommodate up to six people.
Or continue your historic tour and spend a few nights at Princess Mary’s former home, Goldsborough Hall, a 16th-century stately home offering luxury accommodation surrounded by manicured gardens.
You can also stay close to Harrogate, from where a bus service can take you to Knaresborough in 20 minutes.
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