Mother Shipton’s Cave Review Guide

Did you know that Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the UK? It is in an idyllic part of Yorkshire in a setting right next to the river with woodland and the village of Knaresborough on the opposite bank. It is known to be the oldest tourist attraction to charge a fee in England and has been open to tourists since 1630.

Mother Shipton, according to legend, was born back in 1488 in the cave that you can now visit today. Her body was severely disfigured and the older she became the more hagged her body became. She became England’s most famous prophetess as she foretold the fates of several rulers, plus the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. She died in 1561 at the age of 73 which was very old for those times.

Mother Shipton's Cave Review Guide

The other famous thing to see is the Petrifying well that is located next to the cave. This has been drawing tourists for hundreds of years. Artefacts are hung where the water drops down and in no time at all, they become ‘petrified’.

Mother Shipton’s Cave Things To Do Review

When we arrived we totally missed the entrance. It doesn’t look like an entrance to an attraction at all, more like a gateway to someone’s house. The entrance is almost as historic as the site itself. We were directed to parking down by the river. We then made our way up the hill to the park. There are plenty of signs to read detailing the history of the place.

Mother Shipton's Cave Review Guide

The site is not accessible for wheelchairs or buggies as there are some pretty steep steps. It is recommended that you bring young children in a sling. They do not permit buggies on the steps and they must be parked up. Please note that the main toilets are back up at the main entrance and there are just portaloos near the play area.

Mother Shipton’s Cave usually has a special event running during the school holidays. They put a lot of effort into their events and not only do they provide more things to do but they are great fun as well. Extra activities can include unique photo opportunities, trails in the woodland, fairies, dinosaurs and more.

Mother Shipton's Cave Review

At the top of the hill, there is a lovely adventure playground. My son loved this area and we spent a good length of time here. There is a large wooden pirate ship to play on with a sandpit, a zip wire, swings, obstacle course and more.

Mother Shipton's Cave
Mother Shipton's Cave

After some time spent here, we headed on down to the Petrifying Well. Here you can watch everyday objects turn to stone. Many famous people have visited the attraction and often donated items to be hung in the water. These are then displayed in their museum.

A small teddy bear takes just 3-5 months to turn to stone and you can even purchase them in the shop. It was believed that the water had healing powers, especially after a medical physician examined the water in the early 1600s and concluded that the waters were a miracle cure for “any flux of the body”. If you look at the side of the well from near the cave it looks a bit like a giant’s skull.

Mother Shipton's Cave Review
Mother Shipton's Cave Review Guide

If you head behind here there is a wishing well. Tucked into the rocks you have to dip your hand into the water and make a wish. But make sure you read the instructions first so you don’t get it wrong. They sell bottles of the water in the shop.

Mother Shipton's Cave Review Guide

The museum is small but worth a look around to see petrified items donated by celebrities. There is also a life-size figure of Mother Shipton. You can also see a figure of her in her cave. The cave is small and is a walk-in walk-out kind of cave but my son loved it in there, especially as I made sure he knew all about who Mother Shipton was.

We spent just over a couple of hours at the attraction during an event day. If you want to extend your day out there is plenty to do in Knaresborough. Please note that on our last visit they were only allowing visitors to park for 2.5 hours at the car park for Mother Shipton’s Cave. If you want to visit Knaresborough you will have to leave the car park and park elsewhere.

There is no cafe etc. on-site although you can purchase drinks, snacks and ice cream. There is a small castle, boating on the river, mini-golf, a riverside walk, a park and a paddling pool in Knaresborough. You are also not far from the town of Harrogate.

Mother Shipton’s Cave FAQ & Further Information

Address: Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD, North Yorkshire

Category – Historic Attraction – Mostly Outdoors – Suitable for all ages.

What are the ticket prices?

School holidays – £30 per Car (max 5 people per car), £10 per additional passenger or £10 per pedestrian. Under 3s are free. Term time – £25 per car or £8 per pedestrian weekdays, £30 per car or £10 per pedestrian weekends. Under 3s are free. Online booking is essential.

What are the main facilities and things to do?

Historic attraction with a cave surrounded by legend, a well that turns things to stone, adventure playground and family-friendly events. There are toilets and refreshments.

When are they open?

They open from late March until late October. For up-to-date opening times please visit their website.

Is there food available?

There are refreshments including snacks, icecream and hot and cold drinks. You are welcome to bring a picnic.

Is there parking?

There is free parking.

Are they dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome on a short lead, they are not permitted in the playground.

Are they accessible?

They are not accessible.

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