My regular stops on the way to and from the North-East are Wetherby and Knaresborough. Wetherby has a poor Beer Guide record, but a great riverside park and chippie.
Knaresborough is overshadowed by Harrogate and York, which is fair enough, but it deserves the budget accommodation it lacks to make it a really good overnight option. A near annual new GBG entry means regular stops, always rewarded by new discoveries, and also suggests a vibrant pub scene.
A work colleague use to rave about Mother Shipton’s Caves, possibly the only thing the town is known for, and I’ve still never managed a visit.
You can see a lot just by walking along the Nidd though, including the famed house in the rock. The views from the ruins of the castle are inspiring.
The town has some gorgeous houses too, particularly west from the Market Place toward the station, with the sort of views you’d hope for in a Yorkshire market town.
There’s a couple of handsome Sam Smiths houses in town, including the Marquis of Granby with its superb multi-roomed Victorian interior.
Like Sams, Wetherspoons divide opinion among pubgoers. Not among the town’s gentlefolk though, who fill the splendid new Crown on Friday afternoon. It’s one of the most attractive Spoons I’ve seen, with real fires, craft beer cabinets and a top quality Moorhouse Blonde that restored my faith in that brewery, following some wishy-washy pints in its homeland.
The Spoons seems to have drawn trade away from the traditional hub of the Market Place, which is a disappointment to the chuggers whose trade is slow. The fish and chip trade seemed to be taking a particular hammering from Spoons on Fish Friday.
I enjoyed the buzz of conversation, with most of the punchlines seeming to be digs at Otley, which seems most unfair.
Rather like Bridgnorth, Knaresborough is a fantastic little town in its own right, as well as having good access to tourist central. If you visit Mother Shipton send her my regards.