15 Best Things To Do In Knaresborough, England

15 Best Things To Do In Knaresborough, England

By will

Knaresborough is a beautiful English town, located in North Yorkshire.
It is renowned for its picturesque landscape, rich history, and plethora of attractions.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or an adventure, this quaint little town has something for everyone.
From exploring the town centre to taking a trip to Mother Shipton’s Cave, here are the 15 best things to do in Knaresborough, England.

Stroll Through the Town Centre

Castlegate, Knaresborough
Photo by Graham Robson

Strolling through the quaint, cobblestoned streets of Knaresborough’s town centre is a truly magical experience! From the ancient stone walls of the castle to the charming Tudor architecture, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into a different era.

The town centre is also home to many quaint stores, restaurants, and tea houses, making it the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. The cobblestone streets and historic buildings create a unique atmosphere for visitors, and the locals are always friendly and welcoming.

There’s nothing quite like a relaxing stroll through Knaresborough’s picturesque town centre – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Visit Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle Kings Tower
Photo by Martin Dawes

Exploring Knaresborough Castle is a must-see when you’re in the area – wander around the ruins and take in the history!

This castle is the oldest continually inhabited castle in England, and is located in the beautiful town of Knaresborough. It was built in the 12th century, and is full of history and stories.

The castle is perched above a cliff and overlooks the river Nidd. Take the time to explore the castle grounds and the ruins of the buildings. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding countryside.

Inside the castle, you’ll find a museum dedicated to the history of the castle and the town. You can also view the castle’s chapel, which dates back to the 14th century. It’s a great way to learn about the history of the area and to appreciate its beauty.

Take a Trip to Mother Shipton’s Cave

Mother Shipton's cave Knaresborough
Photo by Chris Gunns

Take a trip to Mother Shipton’s Cave for a unique experience – located just outside of Knaresborough, it’s England’s oldest tourist attraction and has captivated visitors for centuries.

The cave is said to be the birthplace of the famous 16th-century prophetess, Ursula Sontheil. It is also home to the Petrifying Well, which transforms ordinary objects into stone due to the high mineral content of the water.

Visitors can explore the grounds of the cave, take pictures of the petrified objects, and listen to the stories of the prophetess from knowledgeable tour guides.

The cave is open all year round and offers a wide range of activities, including guided tours, a museum, an interactive exhibition, and a souvenir shop.

It is also home to stunning views of the River Nidd and the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re looking for a fun day out or a unique experience, Mother Shipton’s Cave is a must-see destination when visiting Knaresborough.

Enjoy the Scenery at Conyngham Hall

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Conyngham Hall, an 18th-century estate situated on the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough.

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As you explore the grounds, you’ll find a beautiful landscape that includes a lake, a fishpond, and a large rose garden.

The Hall is open to the public for guided tours, which are led by knowledgeable stewards and provide an insight into the hall’s history.

During your tour, you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside, visit the chapel, and wander through the walled gardens.

You’ll also find a tea room in the main house, where you can enjoy a cup of tea or light refreshment.

Conyngham Hall is a great place to visit if you want to admire the beauty of the area and learn about its history.

Visit the House of Correction

Discover the history of Knaresborough’s most notorious landmark, the House of Correction, and experience its dark past.

Built in 1779, the House of Correction was originally used as a place of punishment for prisoners convicted of minor offences. It was also known as a ‘gaol’ or ‘jail’.

Today, it is a museum which allows visitors to learn about the dark history of the building and the criminals that it held. Visitors can also view a range of artefacts and documents from the period.

In addition, the House of Correction offers guided tours which take visitors on a journey through its history. On these tours, visitors can learn about the punishments that prisoners faced, the role of female inmates, and the daily life of the inmates.

The museum also hosts a variety of special events and activities throughout the year.

Visit the House of Correction to learn about Knaresborough’s dark past and discover the stories of those who were held within its walls.

Explore the Nidd Gorge

Stroll along the Nidd Gorge and experience the stunning beauty of one of Knaresborough’s most picturesque sites.

Located a few miles outside of Knaresborough, the Nidd Gorge is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with winding pathways, lush forests, and captivating waterfalls. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely walk, a picnic with friends, or just a moment of contemplation.

The gorge is home to a number of species of birds, including herons, ducks, and kingfishers, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

You can also take a boat trip along the River Nidd and experience the gorge from a completely different perspective.

The Nidd Gorge is a must-see for any visitor to Knaresborough and promises to be an unforgettable experience.

Have a Picnic in the Park

Leaving the Nidd Gorge, I head to one of my favorite spots in Knaresborough, the park.

With its sprawling green spaces and plenty of trees, the park is the perfect spot for a picnic.

Whether it’s a romantic date or a family gathering, a picnic in the park is sure to be a hit.

The park is also home to numerous walking and biking trails.

I love to explore the trails, taking in the sights of Knaresborough.

The park also has a children’s play area, complete with a pirate-ship themed playground and a sandpit.

There are also plenty of benches for those wanting to take a break and just relax.

With its many activities and sights, the park is a great place for a picnic and a great way to spend an afternoon in Knaresborough.

Go Shopping at Knaresborough Market

For a shopping experience unlike any other, head to Knaresborough Market.
Knaresborough Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday in the town center.
Here, you’ll find a selection of local goods, from fresh produce and homemade goods to antiques and secondhand items.
The market has been running since the 13th century, making it one of the oldest in England.
It has a wonderful atmosphere, with a friendly and vibrant community of vendors and shoppers.
You’ll find a great selection of goods, from unique crafts and handmade items to vintage clothing and jewelry.
The market also has a wide selection of food stalls offering local and international dishes.
You’ll be sure to find something to suit your taste.
Whether you’re looking for a special gift, a unique souvenir, or just a great shopping experience, Knaresborough Market is the perfect place to explore.

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Attend a Concert at Knaresborough Music Festival

Experience the unique sights and sounds of Knaresborough Music Festival, where you can enjoy a wide variety of musical performances from some of the best artists around.

From symphonies to jazz, folk, and rock, this festival has something for everyone.

Held annually in June, the Knaresborough Music Festival is a beloved event in the local community and attracts visitors from around the world.

The festival features a number of stages in different locations across Knaresborough, so you can explore the town while listening to your favorite tunes.

Additionally, the festival offers a variety of food and drink options, giving you the perfect opportunity to sample the local delicacies.

Knaresborough Music Festival is a great way to experience the culture and vibrancy of the town.

With a wide selection of music to choose from, you can be sure to find something that you enjoy.

Visit the Knaresborough Museum

Take a tour of Knaresborough’s Museum and explore the town’s history, from its ancient roots up to the present day.

Located just off the High Street, this museum is bursting with artifacts from the past. From the medieval ‘Horse Pool’ to the unique ‘Ropewalk’ walkway, visitors will be amazed by the range of history on display. The museum also houses the Knaresborough Castle which is a great way to get a sense of the town’s past.

Visitors can also explore the town’s history through the interactive displays, giving them a deeper understanding of the town’s development.

The museum also offers a variety of workshops and events to keep visitors entertained. From talks on Knaresborough’s past to hands-on activities for children, there’s something for everyone.

The museum is also home to the Knaresborough Heritage Trail, where visitors can explore the town’s ancient streets and landmarks.

With so much to explore and discover, the Knaresborough Museum is an excellent destination for visitors to learn about the town’s past.

Take a Boat Trip on the River Nidd

Embark on a tranquil boat trip down the River Nidd and take in the picturesque beauty of Knaresborough’s local surroundings.

Gliding along the calm waters, you’ll be able to admire the passing scenery, from the magnificent castle ruins that line the banks, to the lush green countryside stretching across the horizon.

With a knowledgeable guide on hand, you can learn about the history and heritage of the area, as well as local wildlife that call the river home.

So why not take some time out from your sightseeing to explore the River Nidd and all it has to offer?

You won’t regret it.

Go to a Music Festival at Knaresborough Castle

Unwind to the sounds of incredible music at Knaresborough Castle and immerse yourself in a magical atmosphere.

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Knaresborough Castle has been host to a number of music festivals over the years, and the atmosphere is electric during these events.

People from all walks of life come together to appreciate some of the most talented musicians around.

With food and drink stands, and the stunning backdrop of the castle, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening.

The music is eclectic, ranging from jazz to folk, and classical to indie. Whatever your taste, you’re sure to find something to enjoy.

There’s something special about the combination of music and history at Knaresborough Castle.

It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy a Meal at the Oldest Pub in Town

Step back in time and savor a relaxing meal in the oldest pub in town. The Old George Inn has been in operation since 1622, so it’s not only the oldest pub in Knaresborough, but one of the oldest inns in the UK.

The pub is situated on the site of an old Abbey, and its cobbled courtyard and ancient history make it a great place to enjoy a traditional pub lunch. Inside, the atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, with log fires and a well-stocked bar.

The menu features classic British dishes, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, or steak and ale pie, all made with fresh local ingredients. The Old George Inn also offers a selection of real ales and lagers, as well as a selection of fine wines.

With its lively atmosphere and historic charm, the Old George Inn is the perfect place to enjoy a meal and experience a bit of English history.

Take a Hike on the Fewston & Swinsty Reservoirs

After a delicious meal at the oldest pub in town, why not get out and explore the beautiful Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs?

This scenic hike is a great way to take in some of the area’s stunning nature and wildlife, and it’s suitable for all ages and abilities.

The route is just over three miles long, but there are plenty of stops along the way to enjoy the views, so you can take as long as you like.

You can take a leisurely stroll, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, there are plenty of routes to explore and plenty of hills and valleys to climb.

Don’t forget to bring a picnic, as the views from the top of the hills are spectacular!

Enjoy the Local Wildlife at the Knaresborough Nature Reserve

If you’re looking to get up close and personal with nature, a visit to the Knaresborough Nature Reserve in North Yorkshire is a must.

The reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and mammals.

You can take in the sights and sounds of the reserve while walking along the path that weaves through the area.

The reserve is also a great place to spot a variety of wildflowers, including primroses, bluebells, and violets.

Birdwatchers and photographers will enjoy the abundance of birds and other wildlife in the area.

There are also several educational programs available, which are great for kids and adults alike.

Additionally, there are several picnic areas, so you can relax and enjoy the wildlife while having a meal or snack.

With its abundance of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Knaresborough Nature Reserve is a great way to experience nature in all its glory.


I’ve enjoyed my stay in Knaresborough and I’ve been amazed by the variety of things to do.

From visiting Knaresborough Castle to taking a hike on Fewston & Swinsty Reservoirs, there’s something for everyone.

I’ve also had the chance to enjoy the local wildlife at the Knaresborough Nature Reserve and learn about the House of Correction.

All in all, Knaresborough is a great place to visit and it has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to explore the town centre, attend a music festival, or just enjoy a meal at the oldest pub in town, you won’t be disappointed.

So why not visit Knaresborough and discover the best of what it has to offer?

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.