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A day out in Knaresborough for £30

Updated: Jan 16


Mother Shipton's Cave

Well, hello there!


Great Barrier Reef
Kitty and I in 2010 Great Barrier Reef, Australia

How has your Halloween been? We had NO trick or treaters; we are considering knocking on doors to give sweets away!


Every October my friend Kitty and I meet up for our yearly catch up. We travelled the world together in 2010 and make every effort to keep in contact, which can be tricky with adulting living in different counties.


This year the time came to have our meet up and I realized, due to house renovations, I just don’t have the spare money for me to spend a night in Yorkshire, which is disappointing because we always make the effort.



We settled on a day trip to Knaresborough, home of Mother Shipton’s Cave and a stunning viaduct over the River Nidd. It also has the remains of Knaresborough Castle, which has a grisly past.

It looked like a perfect day out. I really need to do this on a budget and I managed a day out (minus the fuel) for £31.00.


Here is how I did it.


 

Parking

£1.60 all-day


York Place Parking Knaresborough
My truck, happy as can be!

I drive a Nissan Navara. Driving through historical English towns usually means excruciatingly small winding streets and even smaller parking spaces. As you can probably guess I use the park and ride where possible, which Knaresborough doesn’t have.


Never fear, fellow drivers of big trucks!


It does have York Place Parking. Which has a HUGE car park, set on the edge of Knaresborough. This was excellent and meant that I would not have to fight small streets and easily found parking.


I arrived at 1030 on the Friday of Halloween weekend (half term) and there were a lot of spare spaces.




The car park also has public toilets, baby change and disabled toilets which is helpful because you are a slow 10-minute walk into town.


This car park was a great find, had facilities to use before the long drive back, parking is extremely cheap and it was close to town.





 

Eating and drinking

£18.40

I went to three places for tea and in each place, the tea was £2.20. My lunch was £9.00 and I had a flapjack which was £2.80.


This was for a full day out. I could have reduced this by packing a flask of tea and a small picnic, but part of our ritual is going to tea shops, so it wasn’t something I was willing to miss out on.

The places we went were:


Café Di Lucca

£2.20 (tea)

I called in here whilst I waited for my friend and her little one to arrive. I had a cup of tea and sat in the indoor courtyard which was pretty and cosy. The staff were friendly and the tea was great.


So! Bar and Eats

£11.20 (salad and tea)

This was the priciest place to eat, but it is a restaurant, not a tea shop, so we expected this to be the case. They do a tasty kids menu (I had to have a bite of Kit's macaroni cheese). They have an excellent vegan menu too. The staff were friendly and accommodating.


The Marigold

£5.00 (tea and generous sized flapjack)

Located at the bottom of Nidd Gorge, this gorgeous café also does boat hire. It has a log burner and a view of the river. It also boasts award-winning ice cream, which we didn’t try this time, but will on our next visit. The staff were friendly and welcoming.


I would have expected higher prices based on its location, and I feel like it was great value for money.





 

Things to do


Knaresborough Castle

Free



I easily spent at least 40 minutes walking around the castle then alongside the River Nidd. I did this whilst waiting for my friend who had got caught in traffic.


The Autumnal views were spectacular.

On entry to the castle, there are warnings for steps, steep slopes and sheer drops. I am pleased I had flat boots on as the steps were slippery when covered by leaves. This was not pushchair friendly, so I am pleased I did it before my friend arrived with a toddler.


Around the castle, there are plaques to read which inform you about the history of the area and the castle. I am a huge fan of history and I enjoyed walking around at a slower pace.





The walk down to the River Nidd walk involved these steps.


The River Nidd is postcard picturesque and offers boat trips. There are hodgepodge houses, many of which have plaques on to read with fun facts and which link to the dye trade which used to be popular in Knaresborough.


There are many benches to sit on next to the river and watch the world go by. I spotted a grey wagtail whilst I was sitting by the River Nidd. There were Mallards on the water and signs said that otters and kingfishers have been spotted, although I was not that lucky.



Visit Knaresborough for under £30
Loving the Autumn vibes!


 

Mother Shipton's Cave

£11 per adult on foot, under 3’s free


The Petrifying Well located next to Mother Shipton’s Cave is England’s oldest visitor attraction.



It is a place of classic English beauty combined with the enchanting mystery surrounded by Mother Shipton.


It is dog and child friendly. There is a park for kids both young and old refreshment vans, toilets (portaloos near the top) and a place to leave your pushchairs for when you walk to the cave.


Who was Mother Shipton?


Ursula Sontheil, who we know as Mother Shipton was born in 1488. Her mother Agatha gave birth aged 15 and raised Ursula in the cave for two years before Ursula was taken in by the Abbot of Beverley. Agatha, who never revealed who the father was, spent the rest of her life in a nunnery, where she died. Agatha never saw her daughter again.


Ursula was intrigued by the forest and studied the plants and herbs, learning how to make herbal remedies out of them. She had a crooked nose and her back was twisted, meaning she had to walk with a stick. Ursula married briefly, although her husband died young and they had no children.


Mother Shipton is famous for her collection of prophecies. According to records, she predicted the Great Fire of London in 1666, the French Revolution, the American Civil War and the First and Second World Wars.



What is the petrifying well?


A petrifying well can make an object (such as a stuffed toy) obtain a stony appearance over a period of time. A small stuffed teddy takes around 3 months.


People used to believe this was due to witchcraft, however, that isn’t the case (sadly) and is caused naturally by minerals in the water.


Halloween at Mother Shipton’s


Mother Shipton's Cave certainly knows how to put on a Halloween show. Great fun for all the family, there are witches in trees, dragons and even a spooky banquet to be photographed with.

It was great fun for all the family and I will revisit next year.


I spent seven hours in Knaresborough and only spent £31, and went to the main tourist attractions.

Certainly, one for the frugal family day out.


Nothing says a good day out, like a muddied, exhausted toddler!

 

Fairly Frugal, Nancy Mac dress

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