Knaresborough Things to Do

  • The bottom floor of Knaresborough Castle
    The bottom floor of Knaresborough Castle
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  • The oldest chemist shop in England
    The oldest chemist shop in England
    by Drever
  • Knaresborough
    Knaresborough
    by Drever

Most Recent Things to Do in Knaresborough

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    Knaresborough and Castle

    by Drever Updated Apr 6, 2014
    Part of the ruins of Knaresborough Castle
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    Viewed from the riverbank Knaresborough resembles a chaotic patchwork of colourful buildings clinging precariously to the sides of the gorge rising steeply from the River Nidd.

    As I discovered it has much to offer - a castle, the oldest chemist shop in England, historic streets, boating and a mixture of charming buildings - including a house built into a rock. Traders here have held a market here on Wednesdays since at least 1310. There are some unusual offspring, legends and folklore. Part of this bustling settlement's appeal lies in the unspoilt quarters with their intriguing maze of alleys and ginnels. The viaduct view and the river complete with interesting boats enchant.

    Standing supreme, high on the cliff top overlooking the River Nidd gorge, is Knaresborough Castle. Originally built in Norman times the castle one of several royal castles around the country served as a temporary home for the king as he toured the country for meetings with his barons and attending to royal duties.

    Parliamentarian troops besieged the castle during the civil war. At first the massive stonewalls built of soft stone simply absorbed the cannon fire. Bringing up heavier artillery the Parliamentarian started to damage the walls. Decision time had arrived for the besieged forces. They tried to escape through a secret sally port of which the castle has three. The Parliamentarians spotted them. Hastily retreating back into the castle they seized prisoners on the way. Having a bargaining counter they surrendered in 1644 on condition their lives were spared. The castle was largely destroyed in 1648 on order from Parliament to dismantle all Royalist castles. Masons used some of the stone in building houses in Knaresborough.

    It is possible to deduce the structure of the castle from the remains. Towers along its length punctuated the enclosure wall, and a pair spared the destruction still forms the main gate. At the junction between the inner and outer baileys, on the north side of the castle stood a tall five-sided keep. The keep had a vaulted basement, at least three upper stories, and served as a home for the lord of the castle. The castle baileys contained residential buildings, and some foundations have survived.

    The remains are open to the public. The grounds serve as a public leisure space, with a bowling-green, a putting green and as a performing space, with bands playing most afternoons through the summer. The property owned by the monarch forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster holdings, however Harrogate Borough Council looks after it for her.

    Famous folk associated with Knaresborough are Guy Fawkes (plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and Jack Metcalf, born in 1717 but caught smallpox and became blind. Despite this he was a violinist, major road builder, forest guide, an expert swimmer and smuggler. He died at the age of 93 but a pub in the Market Place bears his name.

    Mother Shipton born in a riverside cave here during a violent thunderstorm in 1488 is England's most famous Prophet. Her crooked facial features frightened many. People feared her prophetic visions. She foretold the dissolution of the monasteries, the defeat of the Armada, the Civil War, the Great Plague and she forewarned of the Great Fire of London in 1666. She foretold that Cardinal Wolsey would not become Archbishop of York. He died before facing a charge of high treason. Today her prophecies are still accurate - consider:

    'Carriages without horses shall go.
    And accidents fill the world with woe.
    Around the world thoughts shall fly
    In the twinkling of an eye...
    Under water men shall walk,
    Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk;
    In the air men shall be seen
    In white, in black, and in green.
    Iron in the water shall float
    As easy as a wooden boat.'

    She forecast the time of her death in 1561 and many friends wept bitter tears at her passing.

    Knaresborough is indeed a colourful place with equally colourful people.

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    KNARESBOROUGH WOOD CARVEINGS

    by clart-keron Written Apr 4, 2013
    WOODERN CARVED DRAGON
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    WALKING THE RIVER NIDD WHEN VISITING KNARESBOROUGH IS A MUST IT IS VERY PEACEFUL AND HAS REAL CHARM,BUT IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU DONT EXPECT TO SEE IT IS A DRAGON AND A ROCK CARVED CHAPEL,THESE ARE ONLY 2 OF THE THING YOU WILL SEE ,SO GO AND PAY A VISIT.

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    The Castle

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 5, 2012

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    Knaresborough Castle

    The castle sits on top of a large cliff and the ruins command a view of the River Nidd and Forest of Knaresborough. On a clear day you can see for miles from up here.

    All that is left today is the ruins of the keep but it is well maintained and grassed and a pleasant place to walk and sit and of course , enjoy the view.

    Oliver Cromwell had the castle demolished so that it would never pose a threat again.

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    Mother Shiptons Caves

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 5, 2012

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    Entrance to Mother Shiptons Cave
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    Mother Shipton was an English witch who lived in the river side area of Knaresborough who made correct predictions on the fire of London in 1666, iron ships and the fate of several monarchs in her lifetime.
    Perhaps she knew of the petrifying well here - the only one its sort in England where 700 gallons or 3200 litres of water flow over the well each hour. If a soft toy is hung under the water it will turn to stone in 3 to 5 months - there are a whole range of things hung under the water to see that have all turned to stone.
    So the park is named after a famous witch and it is well worth a visit - the view from the river bank to the town is stunning.

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    Art in the Mill

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 4, 2012

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    Art in the Mill
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    A mix of paintings, photography , carvings, ceramics , wood, glass and sculpture can be found in this gallery situated in a courtyard setting.
    The Blue Skies Gallery has a regular changing programme of work from Yorkshire artisits and also artists from further afield.
    The gallery is situated in an old flax mill dating from 1808.

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    The Old Chemists Shop

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 4, 2012

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    The Old Chemists Shop

    This is Englands oldest chemist shop although today its only links with the past and its apothacary links is the Lavender Water made by a Mrs Lawrence back in 1720 when the shop opened.
    Today the shop is on two levels - the ground floor is a wonderful array of chocolates, old fashioned sweets, toffees, jams and preserves and upstairs (and outside in front of the shop) are the Laveneder Tearooms where they sell wonderful scones, buns and cakes etc.

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    Painted Windows

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 4, 2012

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    Painted windows
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    A unique thing to see in Knaresborugh are the painted windows in the town centre. The windows and their locations are - Gracious Street (Ginger Lacey - a famous pilot), Briggate (Guy Fawkes - local man who tried to blow up parliament in 1605), Castlegate - three windows (King John, a window cleaner and Mother Shipton), Market Place (Blind Jack - a famous local road maker), Kirkgate (a double window depicting the Civil War) and High Street (opposite the bus station a double window called the Zoo).

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    Bilnd Jack public seat

    by Britannia2 Written Jun 3, 2012

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    Blind Jack

    John Metcalf (1717–1810), also known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf, was the first of the professional road builders to emerge during the British Industrial Revolution.
    In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles (290 km) of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England.
    He was born on 15 August 1717 in Knaresborough into a poor family, the son of a horse breeder and blind from the age of 6 due to a small pox infection.
    In 1765 Parliament passed an act authorising the creation of turnpike trusts to build new toll funded roads in the Knaresborough area. There were few people around with road building experience and John seized the opportunity, building on his practical experience as a carrier.
    He won a contract to build a three-mile (5 km) section between Minskip and Ferrensby of a new road from Harrogate to Boroughbridge. He explored this section of countryside alone and worked out the most practical path despite his blindness.
    Metcalf went on to build roads throughout the then counties of Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire.
    His memory lives on in Knaresborough with a seat incorperating his statue in the Market Place.

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    The House in the Rock

    by Kaysta Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The house is to the left

    The House in the Rock were built by a linen weaver Thomas Hill. The work began in 1770, It took 16 years to build and consisted of four rooms, in the affect of a lighthouse, one room on top of the other.

    Thomas Hill, his wife and family lived in the house. The descents of Thomas Hill lived in the house until 1996 when renovating took place. It is in hope that when renovations are completed it will be open to the public to vist.

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    KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE

    by alyf1961 Updated Feb 4, 2010

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    Knaresborough castle was built around 1100 by a Norman baron. It is situated on a cliff overlooking the River Nidd. Hugh de Moreville took refuge here in the 1170's after assassinating Thomas Becket.
    Edward I rebuilt the castle between 1301 and 1307.
    John of Gaunt acquired the castle in 1372 and added it to the vast holdings of the duchy of Lancaster.

    In 1644, the castle was taken by parliamentarian troops during the civil war.
    It was largely destroyed in 1648 by an order from parliament to destroy all royalist castles.
    Many of the buildings in the town centre are made of the stone that was removed from the castle.
    The castle and the ground it stands on are owned by the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the duchy of Lancaster holdings and are administered by Harrogate borough council.

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    Knaresborough Castle

    by tim07 Written Sep 12, 2009
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    The castle is situated on top of a cliff overlooking the River Nidd. The original castle was built in the 12th century, the remains here now date back to the 14th century. Most of the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War, the main bits left are the East Gate, King's Tower & Court House.

    Inside the Court House museum you'll discover the history of the castle. Also here is a surviving Tudor court room. The museum is open from Good Friday until October & has an admission charge.

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    Castle grounds

    by tim07 Written Sep 12, 2009
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    The grounds of the castle are a beautiful place to explore or relax in. As well as the castle remains there is a war memorial. The highlight has to be the spectacular views of the Nidd Gorge and the viaduct.

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    Viaduct

    by tim07 Written Sep 12, 2009
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    This stone viaduct over the River Nidd was completed in 1851 to carry a branch of the Leeds Northern Railway. The four-span bridge stands 78ft high above the river. It's an impressive structure to look at & photograph from any angle.

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    Rowing boats

    by tim07 Updated Sep 8, 2009

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    A delightful way to spend some time on a Summer's day is to go on the river in one of the many rowing boats that are for hire. From the boat you'll get a different view of the castle & the railway bridge.

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    The Oldest Chemist Shop

    by Balam Updated May 6, 2009

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    The Oldest Chemist Shop

    As well as having the oldest attraction, Knaresborough also lays a claim to having the Oldest chemist shop. This shop has stood in Knaresborough Market Place since 1720, However the dates back even further to medieval times.
    Its unusual façade and antiquated interior which still harbour original fixtures and fittings of the 18th c Chemist shop have made it an attraction of exceptional value to local people, historians and visitors.
    Now the Ist floor rooms are now Tea rooms serving Speciality Teas and confectionary while the ground floor shop sells Luxury Handmade Chocolates, Toffees and Old Fashioned Sweets, Jams & Preserves

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