North Yorkshire

Knaresborough is a market town in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire.

Knaresborough is a historic and picturesque town which has the remains of a royal castle which has a history dating back to Norman times (see below). The castle offers a magificent panorama across the River Nidd, the town and its railway viaduct.

What is claimed to be England's oldest visitor attraction, Mother Shipton's Cave, is situated in a small remnant of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough just across the River Nidd from the town centre (see below). Boat hire on the River Nidd and its riverside cafes provide a further attraction to visitors to the town.

A bronze sculpture seated in the town's Market Place is a tribute to local hero Blind Jack of Knaresborough. Born John Metcalf 300 years ago in 1717, he was a man of remarkable achievements despite his blindness. His work included the surveying and building of some of Yorkshire's finest roads of the late 18th century.

 Town features

Knaresborough has a castle.
Knaresborough has a museum.
The town is at a bridge over the River Nidd.
The town has a rich variety of traditional shops. Knaresborough offers bakery goods, butchers, clothes, crafts, flowers, gifts, jewellery.
Knaresborough holds a traditional outdoor market.(Wed).
The town has a Post Office.
Knaresborough has bank and building society branches.
The town has a pharmacy.
The town has pubs and social clubs.
Restaurant dining and cafes can be found in Knaresborough.
Takeaway food outlets in the town include fish and chips, curries, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches.
The town has a library.
Knaresborough has a theatre.
Places to stay in Knaresborough include hotel, inn accommodation.
There are public toilets in the town.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, United Reformed.


Knaresborough station

Station managed by: NORTHERN.
Operator/s: NORTHERN.

NORTHERN - Departure and station info
Link to Northern - external website providing information on all services at this station.

Bus travel

The town has buses to neighbouring towns and villages.

Road travel

Knaresborough can be reached via the A59 A6055 B6165

Places to visit

Aldborough Roman Site

Front Street/Chapel Hill, Aldborough, near Boroughbridge
The village of Aldborough is on the site of a Roman Town, Isvrivm, which was on Dere Street, the main Roman road north from York (Eboracvm). The Romans made York their provincial capital in the north of England after invading the lands of the Brigantes, largest Celtic tribe in Britain, around 71 AD. Aldborough became the main centre of Romanised Brigantes. The present Roman site has the original walls of one corner of the town, set out in gardens laid out many thousand of years later in Victorian times. A collection of Roman finds can be found in the museum at the site and there are also two mosaic pavements in their original positions. The site is managed by English Heritage and is open throughout April to September. The site is best reached on foot as there is no car park.
 Find on map
More information at the  English Heritage - Aldborough Roman Site website.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Moor Road, near Summerbridge
This area of around 160 hectares of heather moorland and woodland can be found around 3 miles east of Pateley Bridge. It features some weird and wonderful rocky outcrops in many strange shapes and formations which have been given familiar names such as The Sphinx, The Gorilla and The Dancing Bear. Some formations stand around 10 metres high and attract climbers as well as walkers and tourists. The site also has visitor facilities including a car park, shop, refreshments and toilets and is managed by The National Trust.
Find out more at the  National Trust - Brimham Rocks website.
Locate on map:  Brimham Rocks

Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum

Castle Yard, Knaresborough
In the town of Harrogate, Knaresborough Castle is a ruined Royal Castle on a rocky outcrop with a stunning view over the River Nidd. The castle has a rich history. Originally dating from around 1100, Kings Henry I, John, Edward I and Edward II all oversaw building and improvement works to their northern fortress, while Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III, made it a summer residence in the 14th century. The castle was taken by Parliamentarians after a siege in the Civil War in 1644 and four years later orders from Parliament to destroy Royalist castles saw it dismantled. The museum reveals Knaresborough's role in the Civil War and other stories in the town's history and includes an original Tudor courtroom. The castle ruins remain part of the Duchy of Lancaster, but, together with the museum, is maintained by Harrogate Borough Council.

Find out more at the  Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum web pages.
Find on map:  Knaresborough Castle

Mercer Art Gallery

Swan Road, Harrogate
The building was originally opened in 1806 and is Harrogate's oldest spa building. It was then known as the Promenade Rooms, where those coming to Harrogate could go to socialise after taking the waters. It has also had periods of use as a library and reading room, a theatre, town hall and council offices, before becoming a gallery for Harrogate's fine art in 1991.
More information at the  Harrogate Borough Council - Mercer Art Gallery web pages.

Mother Shipton's Cave

Mother Shipton's Cave

High Bridge/Long Walk, Knaresborough
Said to be England's oldest visitor attraction as it has been open since 1630, Mother Shipton's Cave is set in a small remnant of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough. The parkland pays tribute to Mother Shipton, a famous prophetess named Ursula Sontheil. She is said to have been born in the cave in 1488 and to also to have taken refuge there later in her life to evade those who called her a witch. One highlight of the woodland walk is its Petrifying Well where everyday objects are hung beneath its flowing waters and petrified to stone in a matter of months. A wishing well and museum, including objects petrified by celebrities, are also part of the attraction.
Further details and opening times at the  Mother Shipton's website.
Locate on map:  Mother Shipton's Cave

Newby Hall & Gardens

Skelton on Ure
Newby Hall is a family home eight miles north-north-east of Harrogate (about 15 miles by road). It is a fine example of an Adam House, a style practised by the Scottish Adam brothers in the 18th century. Originally built in the late 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren, it was enlarged by John Carr and later modified by Robert Adam. The house has stunning 18th century interior decoration, a dolls house exhibition, Gyles Brandreth's teddy bear collection, a miniature railway and beautiful gardens with a relatively modern design dating from the early 1920s. In July, the hall is a venue for a historic vehicle rally.
For more information see the  Newby Hall & Gardens website.

Royal Horticultural Society Garden Harlow Carr

Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw
The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Harlow Carr, nearly 2 miles to the west-south-west of Harrogate town centre, covers more than 27 heactares (68 acres) and shows a wide variety of growing landscapes from woodland to wildflower meadows. Gardens include a kitchen garden, a streamside garden running the length of Harlow Carr and a hedgehog-friendly garden, while a glass Alpine House displays a vast collections of alpines. Harlow Carr also holds a host of events, including autumn plant and food festivals and a real ale and cider festival.
Find out more at the  RHS - Harlow Carr website.

Royal Pump Room Museum

Crown Place, Harrogate
Harrogate's history as a spa town is shown at the Royal Pump Room Museum. The building was originally created as one of the town's spa buildings over its old sulphur well in 1842 and, after a period as a cafe, was converted to a museum in 1953. In late 2016, the museum also has temporary exhibitions with fashion and costume themes with a Men of Fashion exhibition until early October and from October until the end of the year film and TV costumes from screen portrayals of the writings of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë.
Further information at the  Harrogate Borough Council - Royal Pump Room Museum web pages.

Ripley Castle

Ripley Castle Ripley
Situated four miles north-north-west of Harrogate town cente, Ripley Castle has been the home of one family for more than 700 years. It is set in beautiful gardens, grounds which include a deer park and the picturesque estate village of Ripley, remodelled in the mid 19th century. Ripley Castle has a fascinating history involving Kings and Queens, the Gunpowder Plot and Oliver Cromwell. It offers daily guided tours from April to October, has a gift shop and tearooom, offers a wedding and meeting venue and a variety of outdoor activities and events.

For further details see the  Ripley Castle website.
Locate on map:  Ripley Castle

Spofforth Castle

Spofforth Castle

off Castle Street, Spofforth
Spofforth Castle is the ruins of a fortified manor house about 6 miles by the A661 road to the south-west of Harrogate. William the Conqueror granted Spofforth to William de Percy, a favourite who was granted many estates in Yorkshire. A manor was built and extended through the 13th century by later generations of the Percy family. It is reputed that the Magna Carta was drawn up there in 1215. Although the Percy family made Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, their base from early in the 14th century, Spofforth remained within the family and underwent some remodelling in the early to mid 15th century. In the War of the Roses, the Percy family supported The House of Lancaster and the castle was wrecked by Yorkists who had gained victory in the 1461 Battle of Towton in which Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was killed. There was some 16th century restoration, but it was reduced to ruins around the time of the Civil War. The site is free to enter and managed by English Heritage.

Further details at the  English Heritage - Spofforth Castle website.
Find on map:  Spofforth Castle

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Extending across an area of 232 square miles (600 sq km), the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty starts 4 miles from Harrogate, 2 miles from Ripon. It covers an area between those towns and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, just a few miles further away. At its centre is the small town of Pateley Bridge. The area has a beautiful and varied landscape including rolling heather-topped moorland, stone-walled agricultural fields and farms, small villages, lake-like reservoirs and some outstanding geological features, the best known of which are Brimham Rocks. For more details see our Nidderdale page.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

After going through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 841 square miles (2,179 square kilometers) of the Yorkshire Dales National Park starts just 12 miles west of Harrogate and 15 miles west of Ripon. Find out more on our Yorkshire Dales National Park page.

Emergency services

North Yorkshire Police  North Yorkshire Police website.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Knaresborough Town Council
Provides some local services in the area.

District authority
Harrogate Borough Council

Harrogate is the administrative centre of Harrogate Borough, one of the large district authorities of the North Yorkshire County Council area and the most populous of its seven districts.

The borough also includes many other villages, towns including Knaresborough, Boroughbridge and Pateley Bridge and the city of Ripon.

Within the borough are 76 town and civil parish councils and 11 parish meetings.

The borough council was made up of 54 elected members with one-third elected in each year out of four, but from 2018 there are now 40 elected members elected each four years.

Link to  Harrogate Borough Council website.

The political composition after the May 2018 election was:

40 members

County authority
North Yorkshire County Council
Includes the Harrogate borough and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
 North Yorkshire County Council website.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and  City of York.
 Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Ceremonial county
North Yorkshire

-1974: within the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1974-present: Within Harrogate borough in the county of North Yorkshire.

Also in

In Harrogate district: Boroughbridge Harrogate Knaresborough Masham Pateley Bridge Ripon

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