Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Knaresborough And Mother Shipton

It was only a few weeks ago that Mick decided to take this week as annual leave from work. Daniel and Eleanor are on holiday from school, so we decided we would have some days out, a sort of staycation which is very popular at the moment.

We were hoping to spend some time outdoors on Bank Holiday Monday, but it was out of the question as it rained just about all day. Instead we headed to McArthurGlen designer outlet near York and had a mooch around the shops.

My niece came over yesterday with her little dog, Poppy. She's a terrier cross and is about the same age as Archie. We took the dogs to Lotherton Hall for a walk, but Archie was rather sulky and wouldn't leave my side. He usually loves to play with other dogs, but I think Poppy was just a little bit too bouncy for him.

The weather today has been lovely, not too warm but dry and fine so we took advantage and headed off to Knaresborough. It's years since either Mick or I have been to the historic park there, and Daniel and Eleanor have never been so it was time we paid it a visit.

Knaresborough is known as the birthplace of Mother Shipton, a prophetess. She was born in 1488 in a cave to an unmarried 15 year old mother.  It wasn't until 1641, eighty years after her death, that her prophecies were published.

This is now England's oldest visitor attraction. We visited the cave where Mother Shipton is reported to have been born. It was very dark in there but you should be able to see a stone statue of Mother Shipton.

In a nearby cave there is a wishing well. You should use your right hand, make the wish with your hand in the water, let the water dry naturally on your hand, don't wish for money, don't wish harm on others and keep the wish a secret - until it comes true.

We all made a wish but I'm not telling what I wished for until it comes true.

Round the corner from the two caves is the Petrifying Well. It's previously been known as both the Dripping Well and then the Dropping Well. The water comes from an underground lake. It contains a massive amount of minerals which turns items to stone. It takes around three months for a small teddy bear to become completely solid.

Many items, from teddy bears to ice skates, from tennis rackets to lobsters, have been hung for the water to drip over them and turn them to stone.

There's also a museum, two children's adventure playgrounds, a beech avenue, a gift shop and a cafe in the park, which is on the banks of the River Nidd. We decided we would eat our picnic at the side of the river and chose a lovely spot right under a tree. Unfortunately for Daniel, some local birds thought the tree was a lovely spot too and perched in the branches. You're ahead of me, aren't you? Yes, Daniel got a lovely 'present' right down his back, so we promptly packed up our picnic and moved further along the bank.

Wednesday is market day in Knaresborough so we headed there and had a mooch around the stalls before heading to Knaresborough Castle. This mosaic is outside the entrance.

There has been a castle on this site since at least the twelth century.

The castle looks down on the River Nidd and the viaduct.

I managed to catch a train crossing the viaduct. I wouldn't fancy looking out of the train window and seeing that drop, I hate heights.

We had a great day. I'm looking forward to more days out this week, I'm hoping the weather cooperates.


  1. I'm glad you were able to get out and about and have an adventure,

    Victoria xx

  2. My knees have gone all wobbly just looking at that train,I wouldn't fancy that either!
    Apart from the 'present' it sounds like a fab day out.Love the bit about the items being turned to stone.
    Lisa x

  3. Staycations are great! I find that I explore places close to home that I have always overlooked because they seemed to familiar!
    Enjoy your daytrips! Cx

  4. I hope you have a great staycation and the weather is good to you. I've never been to Mother Shipton's Cave. I love reading about your days out. :)

  5. You do get out and about a lot don't you. I like Knaresbrough but have not been for years. Another one to add to my days out list. Enjoy the rest of your staycation.

  6. Thanks, everyone.

    Lisa - The Petrifying Well is one of the most popular attractions. It's really amazing to see all those items turned to stone. The museum houses items which have been left by celebrities, including a shoe which was left by Queen Mary and is now turned to stone.

    Rachel - You're only down the road from Knaresborough now, so there's no excuse. Wait till the boys are a little older though, they'll love it, there's a couple of great adventure playgrounds there for them too.

    Karen - We do try to go out as much as we can at the moment. I'm acutely aware that Daniel won't be coming with us for much longer, so I'm doing as much with him as I can while he's here.