Mother Shipton was a mediaeval seer who lived in a cave south of the town. Many of her predictions are held by some to have been borne out, but not her prediction that the world would end in 1881. Guy Fawkes once lived in the town, and Richard II was imprisoned there.
Sights in the town include remains of Knaresborough Castle, a petrifying well and several cave dwellings, one a chapel, dating from the Middle Ages. Knaresborough is also the site of the oldest chemist shop in England, started in 1720.