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Mother Shipton’s Cave
Mother Shipton’s is a beloved Knaresborough landmark and England’s oldest visitor attraction, open since 1630. Mother Shipton’s cave offers schools the chance to experience the geological phenomenon of the petrifying well which turns objects to stone, as well as to learn about Mother Shipton; England’s most famous prophetess.
Over hundreds of years curiosity has drawn millions of visitors to the well to see cascading water turn everyday objects to stone – as if by magic. People from around the world come to visit the park, a remnant of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough with some of the oldest, tallest beech trees in the country.
Learn the story of Mother Shipton, a very special baby who was born in a cave in 1488 and grew up around Knaresborough. She had a gift of foreseeing the future, and townsfolk would come to ask her advice. As she grew older, her prophecies became known throughout England. She foretold the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. She made her living telling the future and warning those who asked of what was to come.
There’s something for everyone at Mother Shipton’s, including themed events during the school holidays and a large adventure playground, which has a variety of equipment for all ages. There is also plenty of seating, perfect for a family picnic. We serve a selection of hot drinks, soft drinks, cakes, ice creams and refreshments from our vintage style refreshment kiosks. Dogs are welcome in all areas of the park apart from the adventure playground due to health and safety.
During a visit it is an old tradition to make a wish. The wishing well is fed by the same magical waters as the Petrifying Well and has been wished in for over 300 years. Many visitors have been in touch to tell us their wishes have come true! There are some important rules to follow when making a wish, so please read them carefully first. You can also buy bottles of Wishing Well water from the gift shop to take home as a souvenir. The Gift Shop also sells toys, books, gemstones, and even unique Petrified Bears!
Petrified items donated by celebrities and TV programmes over the years can be viewed in the museum. Probably the most historic and valuable item is a shoe left by Queen Mary when she visited in 1923. The museum also contains a life size figure of Mother Shipton.
Mother Shipton’s cave has a great deal of scope with regards to the subjects contained in the National Curriculum. We now offer a comprehensive range of activities that link to all subjects and to specific objectives of the Curriculum. A visit links well with Key Stages 1 to 3 in history, science, geography and English. Our passionate and enthusiastic Tour Guides, who dress up in character as Mother Shipton or a Town Crier, can take groups on a walk through the attraction, explaining the history along the way through the ancient forest. Please contact us for more information or to arrange a visit.
The Cave and Petrifying Well in Mother Shipton’s Park are both natural rock formations, situated in the centre of a mile-long, woodland park. Access can only be gained via three sets of twenty-five steps. All steps are outside and have handrails. There are rest areas between with seats provided. The attraction, however, may not be suitable for people with impaired mobility. There is no access for pushchairs for these steps, pushchairs must be parked at the bottom of the steps under the shelter provided or bring a sling if possible. Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access.
School Holidays: 9:30am-5.30pm (last admission 4pm). Term Time week days: 10am-4:30pm (last admission 3pm), term time weekends: 10am-5.30pm (last admission 4pm)
£7.50 per child, teachers free. £20 for a guided tour, up to 30 people per tour.
Prophecy House, Knaresborough
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