Thursday 12 September 2019

Exploring Harrogate - A Day Trip to Knaresborough and Breakfast at The Wild Plum

This includes an advertisement feature with Mother Shipton's Cave

We spent quite a bit of the Summer exploring Yorkshire and I have to say I absolutely loved packing our glovebox with Percy Pigs and heading down to God's Own Country. Considering it's the largest county in England I've definitely given us a bit of work when it comes to properly discovering all that it has to offer but I'm certainly enjoying the challenge.

Our last Yorkshire trip of the Summer took us in the direction of Harrogate but having explored the town centre we decided to experience a different part of the Borough with a day trip to Knaresborough and breakfast at The Wild Plum.

If you fancy a day trip, this adventure will take you about an hour and a half from Newcastle with a little breakfast detour (because stops for food are a must!)

Exploring Harrogate - A Day Trip to Knaresborough and Breakfast at The Wild Plum
Breakfast at The Wild Plum

Yet again Instagram influenced my food decisions and I've found myself a little obsessed about wanting to try The Wild Plum ever since the most beautiful photographs of their dishes have taken over my feed.

To tell you the complete truth this entire day trip was more or less made round me needing to try The Wild Plum, much to Simon's confusion - he didn't quite understand why we needed to get up so early to get to The Wild Plum for opening! But with no reservations available and its popularity I knew we had to be first through the door.

Breakfast at The Wild Plum

The Wild Plum didn't just live up to my expectations, it exceeded them and then some! From the moment we walked through the door the service was exceptional with the friendliest staff welcoming us and giving us an above and beyond experience. I needed to make a few changes to my dish to allow for my nut allergy and they were so accommodating.

When visiting The Wild Plum the pancakes are a must, there is a reason they are "instafamous" and I really have never seen anything like them in my life - they appear in front of you in vibrant colour, packed full of incredible flavours and the biggest stack of food you have ever seen.

I opted for the Classic Pancakes (£12.50) - American style pancakes with seasonal fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup (minus the Nutella and Roasted Pecans) and they were absolutely incredible.

Since our visit they have had the most beautiful refurbishment, which now means that I have to visit again (I haven't told Simon this yet, he thinks that I've now ticked The Wild Plum off my list!)

Exploring Harrogate - Breakfast at The Wild Plum

Mother Shipton's Cave

Mother Shipton's Cave is somewhere I've been wanting to visit for quite a while but it wasn't until I was researching our trip that I realised the cave was in Knaresborough so a trip was a must. The carpark at the attraction is ideally located to walk into the market town or down to the river after your visit and once you've paid for your ticket at the entrance the wrist band allows you to come and go as you please.

Mother Shipton's Cave is the oldest tourist attraction in England and has been amazing millions of visitors for 390 years, it's an incredible piece of history and I love that it's been so popular with so many generations.

Exploring Harrogate - Mother Shiptons Cave

The site is made up of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough, The Petrifying Well and Mother Shipton's Cave - its an absolutely magical place to visit. The entrance fee is £10.00 for adults and £8.00 for children (peak) and if you're planning on visiting with children I recommend checking their website ahead of your visit to see if they have any special events happening which really will make your ticket great value for money.

I have to say I love a good English legend. The tale of Mother Shipton began in 1488 when she was born in a cave on a dark and stormy night after her Mother had been banished from the village after falling pregnant at fifteen with no idea who the father was. Who knows how she survived that night in the cave! After becoming separated from her Mother, Mother Shipton grew up in Knaresborough although spent a lot of her time in the cave, making a living by telling the future and warning locals of what was to come. Some of her predictions came true many years after her death including The Great Fire of London in 1966, she even predicted the year of her own death. Standing in her cave I got goosebumps thinking about all her prophecies that are still yet to come true.

I was most excited about seeing the Petrifying Well, where the magical waters turn all it touches to stone. First recorded in 1538, the Well used to be feared by visitors who believed that if they got too close they would turn into stone or a spell would be cast over them. Of course, it was later realised that the process is actually due to a high mineral content of the water, nevertheless it's still very impressive.

Mother Shiptons Cave

Many things have been turned to stone over the years and you can see some examples hanging from the Well including the famous teddy bears that take three to five months to turn to stone. I was so curious about them so was very happy to discover that in the small museum at the exit you have the opportunity to hold one and they really are turned completely to stone - incredible!

A few short steps from Mother Shiptons Cave you'll find The Wishing Well, it is a very old tradition that if you are visiting the cave you must visit for a wish. The rules are very specific, you dip in your right hand and make a wish, leaving the water to dry naturally and not telling another person of your wish! I obviously can't tell you what I wished for!

Mother Shiptons Cave - Wishing Well

The Museum at the exit of the attraction is well worth a visit with many items donated by celebrities that have been turned to stone. As well as recent items donated by stars of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Blue Peter there is also a hat worn by John Wayne and Agatha Christies hat. The most valuable item is a shoe left by Queen Mary donated from her visit in 1923.

Mother Shiptons Cave - Knaresborough

Exploring Knaresborough

Until a couple of months ago Knaresborough wasn't on my radar at all but after seeing some truly beautiful photos of the market town I thought it would be worth a visit and it truly was absolutely stunning, one of the prettiest places I have ever visited.

We began our visit pottering along the River Nidd, the perfect place to explore on such a beautiful Summer's day. If you love messing about on rivers in the sunshine then Knaresborough is a must visit. There are a couple of different spots along the banks of the river where you can hire boats and take yourself out for an adventure on the water.
Exploring Knaresborough

We're definitely more observers than action men so loved spending an hour or so sitting by the river watching the row boats go past, chuckling at those that were struggling and enjoying seeing the excited children's big smiles and the romantic couples out for a row. Maybe next time we'll give it a go.

Exploring Knaresborough Yorkshire

If, like us, you love the slow lane there are plenty of lovely places along the river for lunch or a drink. We set up camp on the terrace of the Marigold Cafe, the prime spot for watching the row boats and a nice menu of hot food and light bites. I went for a cheese scone which I enjoyed eating whilst watching the world go by.

It's worth knowing that Marigold also have an ice-cream shop just across the road, selling Yummy Yorkshire ice cream made in Denby Dale. They create the most incredible flavours and Marigold have up to 12 flavours available. I opted for Lemon Mascarpone and Ginger Crunch and it was incredible.

Exploring Knaresborough Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream

A few people had told me that the best part of Knaresborough was the waterfront and that the town wasn't really worth exploring but I'm very glad we decided to go and have a look because we discovered something quite different. There were some really lovely streets to explore and although we didn't have a lot of time to look properly what we saw we liked and Simon was thrilled to find The Sweet Cabin, a traditional shop that sold all of his favourites.

Exploring Knaresborough Town

For the very best views of The Viaduct (the very beautiful focal point of Knaresborough) a stroll up the hill to the Castle is a must. The views over the gorge are lovely, it's very much the kind of place where you use up your entire memory card snapping photographs because every time you turn a corner you're met with a view even prettier than before.

Exploring Knaresborough Viaduct

Whilst visiting Knaresborough Castle it's only right to say hello to the Castle Ravens but don't be surprised if you get a response. They talk to tourists! Not only do they talk, they talk in a Yorkshire accent and have been known to greet visitors with a cheeky "you alright love?" - they're incredibly mischievous and the most famous of all, Izabella has been known to fake illness only to fly off with concerned people's cameras and dump them on top of the castle roof (brilliant!)

Knaresborough Castle Ravens
We loved exploring the Harrogate area and discovering some new wonderful places to add to our favourites list. If you're after a really entertaining day trip that will appeal to the whole family I highly recommend following in our footsteps.

View From Knaresborough Castle

We were very kindly gifted complimentary admission to Mother Shipton's Cave in exchange for an honest review as part of this feature.


  1. Oh those bears turning to stone is the most bizarre thing ever! I feel like I need to visit and see for myself.

    1. I know, I couldn't believe my eyes! Even when I saw them there I wasn't convinced, but when you go into the gift shop and actually get to touch them it's incredible

  2. I love Harrogate, my old work head office was based there so I had to visit regularly. I have never been to Knaresborough though it looks lovely. I am not a pancake fan but those ones look delish xx

    1. Such a beautiful place, Knaresborough is definitely worth a visit, it's such a pretty spot and there's so much to do there!

  3. There is so much of the UK that I am yet to explore - deffo adding this to my list of must-sees! And also making note of those pancakes, yum!

    1. YES! I can't wait to go back to the Wild Plum, especially now they've had a refurb too!


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