The first time I came to Knaresborough was on a school trip to visit Mrs Shipton’s Cave and the Dropping Well where you could, at the time, petrify your handbag on the little waterfall. The tour guide took great pleasure in telling us 10 year olds about how people used to get hung, drawn and quartered, with their bodies being left on display by the river as a lesson to others. I’m not sure many of us had pleasant dreams that night, but that piece of knowledge has stuck with me ever since.
This time, we had just visited nearby Wetherby and so decided to go to Knaresborough. There is supposed to be a B road route between the two towns, but as ever I missed the right road and ended up doing a detour via the A1. When we got there we found a little car park behind the main shops on Chapel Street - £1 for 2 hours.
Knaresborough is a pretty little town packed full of characterful buildings, dating back hundreds of years. One thing I did notice about many of the buildings was that they had three floors which gave the place a more imposing presence. I liked the fact that the centre of town was pedestrianised with car access for disabled parking. It is also a pet friendly town and we kept seeing posh pedigree pooches all over the place, which is always nice to see.
There are so many independent shops in Knaresborough and I did notice there were plenty of vintage style shops selling clothes, knickknacks and upcycled furniture. Definitely a place to go to get vintage stuff and style ideas. I also love to visit stationery shops and I found two here which is always great to see in this digital day and age.
Neil is a fan of daft shop pun names and he remembered on our last trip there was a shop called “Mungo Deli”. Thankfully it was still open and Neil managed to get a picture of it for his Facebook album of silly shop signs.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink here – lots of cosy old pubs, cute cafes and gastropubs. We had already eaten in Wetherby, but as we are greedy we did pick up cake from the friendly and down to earth Hurst’s Bakery. I have to recommend the chocolate cream cake, especially as it had a surprise layer of black cherries in it and tasted great too.
As ever we checked out the charity shops. Other people had the same idea and we kept bumping into them in every shop. There was a hospice charity shop which was really overpriced – although in fairness, with the proximity of so many vintage shops, they probably have a policy to mark up the stock so the vintage shops don’t profit on their donations. Neil managed to get locked in one charity shop when he was browsing through the records upstairs. I was a bit panicked and tried to phone him. Thankfully the shop assistant checked the shop before she left and Neil managed to get out. A practical point to note is that most charity shops in Knaresborough close about 4.00 pm so it’s better to get there earlier than we did.
Knaresborough is a great little place to go, and one to consider for a weekend away as it’s close to the countryside, especially when it’s only a short drive from Harrogate too (fab place, you must visit). Our only advice is to get there earlier in the day, as it begins to close around 4ish – otherwise it’s another fab Yorkshire town to visit.