We were invited to visit Mother Shiptons Cave during their Easter celebrations, which had a Wizard of Oz theme. They celebrate a different theme for each school holiday and the effort that they go to is evident from the moment you arrive.
Where – Knaresborough, Harrogate (sat nav post code HG5 8DD)
Opening- Open every day from 1st April-29th October – 10am-4pm
Senior Citizens 60+: £6.00
Children 3-15: £5.00
Children Under 3: FREE
Family: £22.00 (2 adults and 2 children 3-15 years, or 1 adult and 3 children; additional children £4.00 each to a maximum of 3)
Disabled (Adult): £5
Disabled (Child): £4
All Day Parking: £2.00 (in addition to admission only)
Dogs are absolutely welcome, which I just love to be able to say about these fantastic family attractions.
We received a warm and very helpful welcome at the admission gate where were given directions and information. The children were given a quiz and a pencil each, to fill in as we proceeded around the attraction. Its worth mentioning here that if you have a large/ 4 x 4 vehicle don’t try to enter through the main admission gates on the left of the entrance – you should drive to the large white gate on the right and a member of staff will open it for you ( and save you losing a wing – mirror!).
The Easter theme is evident even as you drive down to the car park. Tasteful and beautifully thought out decoration and Easter scenes greeted us to the right, with the equally stunning River Nidd to the left.
We parked underneath a viaduct bridge, which is as enchanting in its beauty as its size.
As we made our way along the woodland path we were greeted by splendid characters from the Wizard of Oz. All of whom were in fantastic costume and all of whom were very much in character. We first met the scarecrow, who spent ages chatting to the children and engaging them in the story. They were sent on an errand to find the wizard to ask him for a brain for the scarecrow.
As we continued into the woods we are able to follow clues to answer some quiz questions and see some fantastic scenery. After meeting with tinman, the children oiling him so he can dance and adding a heart for him to their list for the wizard we came across all sorts of activities in the centre of the wooded area.
There is a large new adventure playground, which includes a zip-wire, swings, slides and wooden climbing apparatus. There is also another pirate themed adventure playground under construction, due to open in the summer.
Face paint lady – “What would you like sweetie? A Princess? A unicorn? A fairy maybe?”
Princess D – ” A Python please”
Face paint lady drops brush.
The children were further thrilled to spot an ice cream van, I was much, much more than thrilled to spot that said ice cream van was selling cappuccino. There are picnic tables scattered around, and conveniently placed portaloos not to far away. Once we had enjoyed face-paint, the adventure playground, a picnic and an ice cream we then continued on our mission to the find the wizard. We came across a delightful lion, looking for courage. He spent plenty of time with the kids, getting them to teach him to roar and then handing out chocolate eggs.
Just before we reached the famous petrifying well and cave, we found the wizard and the children were able to complete their quiz.
The story of Mother Shipton, the cave and indeed the petrifying well is extremely interesting. I did some research before we visited, and told the children all about it so they had an understanding of where they were going and what was unique about it. All the information you need on this fascinating story can be found here . The children loved the story, they found it absolutely mesmerising and so to then be able to visit the place where it all took place was very exciting for them.
There is the opportunity to make a wish in a magical wishing well – in order for the wish to be granted you must follow very strict instructions. The children were thrilled that as they were making their wishes the wishing well changed colours right in front of the eyes!
We proceeded along a lovely avenue of beech trees, and passed some clever wood sculptures before arriving at the gift shop. Its a magical fairy and wizard wonderland!The gift shop is packed full of weird, wonderful and quirky items. What’s great is that there are many lovely little bits that are within a pocket money budget, and not the usual plastic tat that can be found in so many of attraction gift shops.
Mother Shiptons Cave can boast to be Englands oldest visitor attraction, having been open since 1630. Isn’t that staggering?
It is a unique, fun and educational day out for all the family, the welcome is always warm and the attraction is beautifully kept. There are some fantastic events coming up too (see below)
Please bear in mind if you have a buggy or a wheelchair, the access to the well, cave and gift shop is via steep steps. Many people carried smaller buggies up and down but for larger, heavier ones these parts aren’t really accessible.