Knaresborough AutumnFest 2019

Saturday 28th September & Sunday 29th September

A celebration of our Town:

its natural beauty, its long history, its talented people and vibrant community.


So, here we are, well into September, and the excitement is building in anticipation of the new Knaresborough AutumnFest. This Festival will be a celebration of our Town: its natural beauty, its long history, its talented people and vibrant community. We will look at the past, enjoy the present and take a peek into the future!

AutumnFest will run over 2 days on Saturday 28th September from 09.30h to 17.00h & Sunday 29th September from 10.00h to 16.00h coinciding with the UCI Races across the Harrogate District. The races will be screened throughout the 2 days on a Big Screen in Knaresborough Market Place, and, in between races, there will be plenty of activities in locations across the town to keep you entertained and informed!

vampire experiment1Be impressed as artist James McKay paints a reconstruction of the Castle as it appeared in the 14th Century, or join a scary promenade theatre performance of The Vampire Experiment.

But be warned, Knaresborough may be a quiet market town by day; but by night something seethes beneath the streets. Be prepared to risk your very soul in order to cast the light of science onto a shrouded past!

And, if you need a little light relief, there will be music and dance to entertain. From Medieval Musicians in St Robert’s Cave and music from the time of Blind Jack near the Station to more contemporary music with Knaresborough Choral Society and Knaresborough Silver Band. Or, watch Claro Sword dance the Yorkshire Longsword Tradition in Castlegate, and our own Studio 3 Dance Workshop in a beautiful setting on the Castle bowling green. Don’t pass up the chance for children and/or adults to ‘have a go’ at maypole dancing!

turnerBut, you mustn’t miss Our Town, Our Stories', Knaresborough’s first Pop-Up Town Museum and Art Gallery in the Centre on Gracious Street (COGS). So many people have been involved in this project, and you can expect a unique experience.

There will also be games and activities for children. And if you feel you need a sit down at any time, you can go upstairs and enjoy any of the talks about the famous characters in Knaresborough’s long history, such as John Metcalfe (Blind Jack) or St Robert. Or learn about Knaresborough Forest, what it has been, what it is now, and the important role it could play in our immediate future and beyond.

Of course, cycling plays a huge part in the event. On Waterside you can take a cycle-bus for a trip along Abbey Road, or enjoy an hilariously different experience on a conference bike. Up in the Market Place meanwhile, there will be ‘wobbly bikes’ providing fun for kids.

And, if you have an old bike or two languishing, forgotten and forlorn in your garage, you can push it up to Pedalheads on Castlegate and Rob’ll fix it. You will only have to pay for parts, but Rob reserves the Right to say your rescue is beyond the scope of this scheme!

Ever wanted to try your hand at Archery? Now is your chance! Take a walk down to St John’s Fields, and, under the watchful eye of trained archers, adults and children can have a go for a small fee of £5, which goes to the Charity.

While you are down there, Knaresborough Old Ticket Office Cafe at the Station has a Family Fun Day on Saturday, so be sure to call in. And on your way back pop into the Cafe and Art at the Hub @ St John’s.

Early on Saturday evening join a performance at the Hub @St Johns, where Mimesis will present an Ode to Autumn through an intercultural performance of dance and poetry inspired by their roots in South Asian culture.

Children and adults alike mustn’t miss ‘Knaresborough in Miniature’ at Knaresborough House. This is a working model railway within Knaresborough Town in miniature, and is enchanting! All-day on Saturday and Sunday.

NiddadultsOh, and we haven’t even started on the walks. Gorge walks, Nature Reserve Walks, Kids Walks and Town Walks. You can even walk with a Hermit and embark on a pilgrimage for a merry walking tour through Knaresborough, learning about its history and the life of fellow hermit, St Robert!

And, after all that activity, you can treat your mind, body and spirit with a free class of Tai Chi at the Castle, overlooking the beautiful Nidd Gorge.

Best of all, most of the events are free (although you will find a few tins being shaken for voluntary contributions!), and some carry a small fee.

The new programme will also be on this site in the next few days with full details of each event, and available round Town over the coming week. Some of the activities such as the Vampire Experiment and walks have limited numbers for your safety, but you can pre-book activities marked with an asterisk on the Programme to reserve your place.

And there is so much more, so watch out for the Programme and plan to be at the AutumnFest for the whole weekend to make sure you don’t miss anything!

This event has been supported by many groups and organisations, including the Town Council and Knaresborough Lions

LionLogo .  KTC .  autumnfest2019Logo4smllweb .  RK Logo 200


The full weekend programme and map of activities for AutumnFest this coming weekend!


Click on the Map image to view in large screen

Download Map


Click on the Programme image to view in large screen


Download Programme


How well do you know Knaresborough?

Knaresborough in miniature1

Don’t miss the gorgeous ‘Knaresborough in Miniature’ in Knaresborough House on both Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September.

An exquisite model of Knaresborough Town with working train, this is a must for big kids & little kids!

And, if you think you know Knaresborough, see if you can spot the buildings in the wrong place.

Knaresborough in miniature2

Knaresborough in miniature3

Knaresborough in miniature4

Well,  at the moment, everywhere you go in the Harrogate District there are bikes!  So we thought we’d take a fun look at bikes

This AutumnFest weekend, no matter what age you are, you can have a bike ride with a difference!

If you’re a little person (under 7 years old) you can drag ‘the rents’ up to Knaresborough Market Place and have a mega-fun time on wobbly bikes. And there is no charge (though we might be shaking a collecting bucket in front of your dad) so you can keep coming back for more on Saturday and Sunday!

circle bike1If you’re a bit older, or even a lot older, you might want to head down to Waterside and take a ride on a conference bike.  Everyone sits in a circle, like at a conference table, and everyone pedals.  Good teamwork essential here if you want to get anywhere, but even without it you’ll have a lot of laughs, and so will everyone else in the cafes close by!!

circle bike

But if you’d rather pedal and get somewhere, opt for the Bike Bus.  A Bike Bus trip down Abbey Road won’t be a ‘sit down and relax’ sort of experience.  All passengers on the Bike Bus have to pedal if they want to see the sights.

bike bus

Or you could seize the day, and try both.  Life is for living!  There is no fare (but get used to the inevitable collecting bucket!) 

Remember to bring your water bottles.  There are plenty of places to fill up, and lots of cafes for breakfast, lunch or just coffee and cake after all that pedalling!


So much to do at AutumnFest, and so many places to enjoy doing it!


KCC (Knaresborough Community Centre) are joining in the fun with an Open Weekend packed with activities for the whole family.

Art Exhibition by the Painting for Pleasure Group in the Meeting Room, with Coffee & Cake - all proceeds to MacMillan


You may not become a world champion, but riding your bike is great exercise.  So,if you have an old bike or two languishing, forgotten and forlorn in your garage, you can push (or carry) it up to Pedalheads on Castlegate on the 28th or 29th September, and Rob’ll fix it.  You will only have to pay for parts, but Rob reserves the right to say your rescue is beyond the scope of this scheme!

And whilst your bike is in A & E, you could enjoy other events and activities in the Knaresborough AutumnFest Programme.  Most of these are free, or carry a small charge, so why not take a look on our website for more details

robll fix it pic

What does the Women's Land Army, Turner, Roman cooking pots, Grimbald Crag and the Old Manor House all have in common...?!
Answer - they all feature in the exhibition OUR KNARESBOROUGH OUR STORIES to be held on 28th and 29th September at COGS (Centre on Gracious Street). 

This exhibition aims to raise awareness of the potential for a new Town Museum and Art Gallery in Knaresborough and give a taster of what it could be like....

Town Museum and Art Gallery for Knaresborough

A Town Museum and Art Gallery is sorely needed in Knaresborough. Knaresborough has a rich multi-layered and unique history but its story is not being told. Local children miss out by not finding out about their local history and Knaresborough’s artefacts are being scattered and worse lost. Visitors do not fully engage with and enjoy the town’s cultural heritage because the Court House Museum (the only local museum) can only offer a limited visitor experience because of site constraints. Currently, the Court House Museum has neither the space nor the conditions to provide the appropriate environment for the type of treasures a Town Museum in Knaresborough could potentially display. A Town Museum could be transformative – boosting the local economy, encouraging investment and offering ample scope for the local community to become more engaged with their town’s wonderful heritage.

Nidd riverboat

What does a Roman hoard, stone gargoyle from the Trinitarian Abbey, the Women’s Land Army, child evacuees, JW Turner and the Manor House all have in common?  They all feature in a wide-ranging exhibition “Our Knaresborough Our Stories” taking place on 28th and 29th September. 

I gargoylet will be part of our new and exciting Autumnfest taking place in and around Knaresborough.  The exhibition will take place at our Heritage Hub at COGS from 10 -5 with amazing banners, artefact displays and activities for children.

For further info contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Dare you stare into the soul of a town…?

A promenade performance of four stories in the grounds of Knaresborough Castle

vampire in Knaresborough

Knaresborough: by day a quiet market town on the banks of the River Nidd; by night something seethes beneath the streets. Why this town of two halves, of two faces? When did the fracture begin?

Initial research undertaken by the Vampire Experiment has unmasked something sinister, something lurking at the heart of the town – a curse buried beneath the place where the hangman's noose once swung, protected by the walls of the castle.

We are looking for brave subjects to risk their very souls in order to cast the light of science onto a shrouded past.

The experiment will take place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September 2019 at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm each day. Ghosts will be awoken, doorways unlocked. The time to act will be short, but the evidence must be gathered, and a choice must be made. The soul of a town depends on it.

Are you courageous enough to take part in the Vampire Experiment?

Bookings are now being taken or those brave souls who dare to unlock Knaresborough’s buried past.

Promenade theatre performances will take place on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September at 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00 each day, and we hope that participants return in an hour!

Places are limited so book soon, but there is no charge for those courageous enough to book!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

vampire experiment


After a busy Saturday at Knaresborough’s AutumnFest, why not try an activity that’s good for your body, mind and spirit?

taichi in the castleTry a free Taster Class of Lee Style T’ai Chi, a yin and yang style which looks to balance and harmonise the body, mind and spirit. Physically the graceful movements allow every part of the body to move and work together without stress and strain to the joints and muscles. Building strength, flexibility and suppleness.

T’ai Chi helps sharpen the mental faculties, improving focus and balancing emotions, and because T’ai Chi is based on Taoism, it helps develop a deep inner peace, naturally leading to greater awareness and understanding of oneself and with the world around us.

The Class will start at 10.00 am Sunday 29th September and will last 45 minutes.

To join, please check-in at the Renaissance Knaresborough Gazebo in the Castle Grounds before 10.00am. The class will take place on the Bowling Green on Castle Top. Please wear comfortable clothing.


Saturday 28th September

Leaving Knaresborough Castle at 10.15 & 14.15

This is a 4-mile circular walk which is open to visitors and Take a Hike/Ramblers members.

After pausing to take a look at the well-known view from the castle, we will head down the steps to Waterside which we follow towards the Half Moon. We cross the River Nidd and then walk parallel to it, along Spitalcroft, before heading up through trees ad crossing a field to the edge of Birkham Wood. We follow the edge of the wood to emerge at the roadside near St James Retail Park. We cross back over the River Nidd and head along Abbey Road, pausing to take a look at St Robert’s Cave and a couple of other landmarks before heading back up to the Castle grounds where the walk will finish.

There are plenty of pub/cafe/tearoom options in the Town Centre and on Waterside if you are in need of refreshment after the walk.