Exploring Yorkshire: Mother Shipton’s Cave

We are still feeling happy, rested and refreshed after our little staycation to the dales a couple of weeks back. It was just what we needed. Are you going on holiday this summer? 

You should, you deserve it. There are so many wonderful places to explore and the Yorkshire Dales is our favourite place to go. With the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, beautiful waterfalls, heritage and so many sheep. It is a great place to disconnect from the world, walk in the hills and just take a breath.

We wanted to go and explore as many adventures as we could and Mother Shipton's Cave which is the oldest attraction in England was the first place on our list. With a petrifying well, mystical cave, picturesque woodland and an amazing adventure playground, it’s easy to see why it has been visited by millions of people over the years. The adventure playground that includes an enchanting Pixie Village Trail, making it an exciting outdoor adventure for all the family.

About Mother Shipton

As the legend goes Mother Shipton was the daughter of Agatha, a local girl who found herself pregnant and unmarried at a young age. When she refused to tell the identity of the father she was shunned from the village. Agatha found shelter in a cave and one stormy night with thunder banging, lightening crashing and gales blowing, she gave birth to her baby daughter, Ursula. Shortly after the birth the baby was placed with a local family and the mother was send away to a convent. 

Life wasn't easy for Ursula. With a large crooked nose, a bent back and twisted legs many taunted her. So she went back to the cave where she was born preferring to live her life alone in the woods. Years later she married a young carpenter from York, Tobias Shipton but life together was short, as he died two years later. The name ‘Mother’ Shipton came years later when Ursula became the oldest woman in the village.

Mother Shipton made a living telling the future and fortunes of those who asked. She foretold the fates of several rulers within and just after her lifetime, as well as the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and even the end of the world. It is an intriguing tale to learn about. 

Arriving at Mother Shipton's Cave

Due to the social distancing measures all admissions to the cave needed to be booked online in advance, with allocated time slots allowing 2.5 hours to explore the attraction. Entry to the cave is £25 per car term-time weekdays, £30 per car weekends and school holidays (max 7 people per car), including parking. Please note that minibuses and motorhomes will not be allowed. Unfortunately, pedestrians without a car will not be able to visit at the moment. Dogs are welcome in all areas of the Mother Shipton’s park, apart from the adventure playground which was clearly signposted. 

The Cave and Petrifying Well in Mother Shipton’s Park are both natural rock formations, situated in the centre of a mile-long, woodland park. Therefore access can only be gained via the many many steps within the park. But don't worry there are hand rails and little seats in between for those who need a rest in between. 

The Pixie Village

As you know, my girl loves the thought of fairies and pixies, so to her, the Pixie Village was an absolute dream for her imagination. Deep in the captivating woodland, filled with fairy rings and secret doorways, pixies are waiting to play! As you make you way through the magical woodland keep your eyes peeled for for those tiny little houses. 

But due to the social distancing measures the cottages were too confined for interaction for visitors so there were large screens placed over the doors and no visitors were allowed to touch the toadstools or the pixie houses. But visitors were provided with a trail sheet to explore the natural woodland at their own pace.

The Adventure Playground at Mother Shipton's

We all loved the new adventure playground which has a variety of equipment for all ages. The park is situated partly on a hill where you will find lots of more fun and exciting things to play over the hill. Dogs are welcome at Mother Shipton's apart from the adventure playground due to health and safety, but we all took it in turns to have some park fun with our daughter. 

There were swings, climbing frames, a huge slide, a zip wire and a huge pirate ship with a sandpit. On top of the hill there were more swings, seesaws and some really cool dinosaurs that our daughter just loved. 

The Petrifying Well 

A little way on from the playground you will walk down a series of steps towards the Petrifying Well which is a fascinating and picturesque spot. The waters comes over the rock and falls down to the clear pond below and for many centuries people believed that the water had miraculous healing powers. In the early 1600s samples of the water were examined by medical physicians who agreed that these waters, were in fact a miracle cure.

There are minerals in this waterfall can turn lots of things in just a matter of a few months. There are lots of random objects hanging from the rock's edge including a hat, a boot, pots and teddy beats.

The Cave

Slightly on from the Petrifying Well you will walk up a few steps to Mother Shipton's Cave. But, you'll be surprised as it's not some dark, cold eerie cave, it's more like a cove within the rock side. There is a statue of Mother Shipton as well as signposts and audio available to tell you all about her story. As we walked around the cave, we all turned around to look back at the Petrifying Well and saw that Giant Skull that visitors having been calling for years. It's pretty eerie, however the photo I took was out of focus. 

The Wishing Well

During a visit it is an old tradition to make a wish. The wishing well is fed by the same magical waters as the Petrifying Well and has been wished in for over three hundred years. But if you do want to make a wish there are some important instructions you need to follow to ensure that you wish will come true. Obviously we all made our secret wishes and hopefully they will come true one day.

The Museum 

We were coming towards the ends of the attraction and joined a queue, to our surprise, it was for the museum and gift shop. However due to the social distancing measure and the size of the museum we all needed to wait before going inside. We waited for around half an hour and entered the shop all masked up ready to look at some more interesting facts about this mystical place. 

Many of the items have been donated by famous people over the years from John Wayne's Hat, Agatha Christie's Bag and for the most valuable item was a shoe left by Queen Mary when she visited in 1923. As well as seeing some of the prophecies she foretold and events centered around Mother Shipton's. There is also a little gift shop full of wild and wonderful things. We brought some 'magic water' from the Petrifying well as well as some pencils and fairies to put in our little fairy garden. 

It was a great day out for all the family and Winston loved the walk and all the attention from other visitors. An intriguing and quirky place that children will love.


  1. What a beautiful place to visit. I love the minerals in the waterfall. We have had a couple of camping trips and can't believe they'll be back at school tomorrow!

  2. Wow, this looks amazing. I would quite like to go myself.

  3. Wow my daughter's would love the Pixie Garden! They love all things magical like that :)

  4. This sounds really interesting, we have never visited the Yorkshire Dales but would like to one day. We managed just under two weeks in France before having to return to quarantine!