Old Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough

Want a one off, weird outing? Old Mother Shipton’s Cave will be right up your street. The oldest tourist attraction in England, having been open since 1630, is home to a petrifying well and is said to have been the home of Old Mother Shipton, a famous prophetess from the Tudor period. It’s expensive, but for a one off, it was probably worth it.

Old Mother Shipton's cave 1

First you have the petrifying well itself. Set in picturesque surroundings, stream water flows towards the river over a large overhang. Mineral deposits carried in the water petrify everyday objects hung under this slowly trickling water flow. It takes about 3 months to turn a teddy bear to stone here. But it doesn’t half look creepy, with dolls and teddy bears strung up and abandoned to petrify. There’s an audio box stood here that tells you about the process of petrification, but this educational element doesn’t draw your attention from the bizarre scene of the everyday objects dripping with water.

Old Mother Shipton

The other treat is the tiny ‘museum’, brimming with crap taxidermy, creepy waxworks and objects left by famous individuals to be petrified via the well’s magic properties. It’s more a collection of curios that a museum, but what an utterly surreal treat it is!

Everywhere you look there’s something else that’s just a bit scary – it would be excellent for ghost tours. The old fashioned tarot reading machines were a personal highlight, somehow shoehorned in the tiny space as was the gibbet with installed gruesome waxwork, oh and taxidermy raven.

Old Mother Shipton's Tarrot Machine

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