Sitting in the Crown Inn listening to claps of thunder and watching the pouring rain and flashes of lightning through the skylight, it was difficult to believe that 30 minutes earlier we had been bathing in sunshine, watching my daughter F enjoying herself in an outdoor paddling pool. The pool was conveniently situated halfway up the hill between the River Nidd and Knaresborough’s Castle, offering us a welcome restbite from the climb.
Our day had started on the riverside at the edge of town. We parked at the Waterside car park and took the opportunity to skim some stones on the water. We walked along the Waterside Lane past an old mill and came to the touristy part of Knaresborough’s riverfront. There were boats for hire and cafes with outdoor tables offering lovely views of the river and the town’s imposing railway viaduct. The viaduct dates from the 1850s and is the 2nd construction, after the first collapsed just before opening. The other side of the river is Mother Shipton’s Cave, which claims to be England’s oldest tourist attraction. It is well known for its petrified objects, but it was not on our agenda that day.
We sat a while by the river, laughing at people’s incompetent attempts at rowing. F wanted us to rent a boat, but I daren’t, just in case I was worse than the rowers crashing into the bank who were entertaining us so well. Besides, the rowers out there looked like they could do without another obstacle to navigate around. Some didn’t realise they had a rudder. We placated F with an ice cream.
Back near the car park, we had a pleasant picnic utilising a bench and table on a stretch of grass by the river. Then there was the climb up the hill, via that paddling pool, to the castle ruins where we came across the castle ravens. Knaresborough is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, making it a royal castle and one chick was supplied by the Tower of London. There are now 7 residing there. Another unusual feature of the castle is that it contains a bowling green. A game was proceeding when we were there, amidst the tourists and ravens. Walking around the walls revealed some lovely views over the River Nidd and the railway viaduct.
As the skies were darkening, we made our way to the pub and arrived just in time to avoid the downpour. Luckily, it didn’t last long and we emerged to explore the rest of the attractive little town. A shop caught my attention that claimed to be “Ye Oldest Chymist Shoppe in England” having been open since 1720. Intrigued, F and I went in, but it appeared to have morphed into a touristy gift shop.
After a little more browsing, we walked through a park down the hill to the car. We enjoyed our visit and were happy to have avoided the storm.
Knaresborough is in North Yorkshire in the north of England, UK, about 4 miles east of Harrogate and 6 miles west of J47 of the A1(M).
The town has a railway station and services are available to mainline destinations via Leeds or York.
For more information on Knaresborough, click here