Knaresborough is a beautiful Yorkshire town that’s easy to walk through. On this easy stroll see the famous Knaresborough Castle and Viaduct, and if you’re brave go for a swim in the River Nidd at Conyngham Hall on the edge of town.
This walk starts from Conyngham Hall Car Park at the edge of Knaresborough Town. It’s a 15-minute drive from the centre of Harrogate and 35 minutes from Leeds. You can also take a 45-minute train from Leeds via Harrogate to Knaresborough.
Knaresborough Town Walk Map
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The first loop of this hike to the viaduct and castle is just over 2 km. To complete the second loop through Conyngham Hall Park is an extra flat 1.5 km. To extend the walk you can explore more of Conyngham Hall Park.
- Knaresborough market is on Wednesdays year-round from 7.30am until 3pm, at the marketplace behind the castle.
- From the car park at Conyngham Hall you can easily swim in the adjacent river (it is often cold!).
- For an easy nearby hike in the countryside, try strolling up Almscliffe Crag.
- You can find other Yorkshire ideas in our Yorkshire Guide.
From the car park head towards the centre of town. At the exit of the car park, use the crossing to cross the road to the World’s End pub. There’s some nice outdoor seating here that overlooks the river if you want refreshments on the way back.
Head down the small lane to the right of the pub. You’ll soon see a boat hire place by the river – little rowing boats are available to paddle yourself up and down the river beneath the viaduct.
You have to continue along the small lane which soon reaches the edge of the Nidd River. Here you will see the obvious Knaresborough Viaduct soaring across the river. It’s surprisingly high, and still functions today – if you get the train here from Leeds you’ll go over it.
Shortly past the viaduct, Marigolds Cafe (closed on Tuesdays) is a lovely place to sit outside by the edge of the river close to the viaduct and have a drink or food.
Soon you’ll see some steep steps leading away from the river on your left. Take these to head upwards to the Castle. Continue right on the stairs and you’ll soon reach the top. Head right to the jutting-out area by the War Memorial for the best views over the river, town and viaduct.
Next to the bowling green is an old building – now the Tudor Courthouse Museum. This and the inside of the castle keep are only open on Wednesdays and at weekends, from 10am to 4pm.
Complete a loop of the now mainly ruined castle, today more of a park, and head back to the far side of the grounds to some steep steps heading down the hill.
These steps lead down and up slightly into Berba Gardens. These are a pleasant, peaceful part of town. Head downwards through the garden, to the children’s paddling pool at the lower end. Take the steps still downwards back to the river’s edge.
At the small road by the river, head right. On your right-hand side you’ll see some nice rocks – mainly sandstone – forming the cliffs at the edge of the river. Return back along the river to the car park.
Conyngham Hall Park
For a slightly longer walk, continue to the far end of the car park and across the river. This is Conyngham Hall Park and you’re now in Horseshoe Field – so called because the river makes a sharp horseshoe bend around this wildflower meadow. Walking around this field makes for a pleasant stroll – look out for kingfishers in the river and admire the lovely big trees. Once you’ve completed a loop of the field, head back across the bridge and to your car.
Guidebooks to explore more of Yorkshire
The Rough Guide to Yorkshire* is a great little guidebook and has a section on Ilkley and things to do nearby. The Yorkshire Dales Pathfinder Guide* has a good collection of short hikes suitable for the entire family and the Guide to North Yorkshire Pub Walks* has some fun walks in the Dales for those who are hungry and thirsty.