Inside England's oldest tourist attraction – that hides a magical secret | The Sun

ENGLAND's oldest tourist attraction has a mystical story and is even said to grant wishes to visitors.

Some people say it's the birthplace of a witch, while others believe she was simply a prophetess who could predict the future.

Either way, Mother Shipton's Cave in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, remains a popular place for locals and tourists alike.

Mother Shipton was born in the cave, which sits on the banks of the River Nidd, in 1488, and was originally named Ursula Sontheil.

She is said to have predicted the deaths of several rulers during, and just after, her lifetime, as well as a number of key historical events.

In addition to predictions, Mother Shipton made traditional herbal remedies for people who were unwell.

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But it was her prophecies that she used to make her living, telling the future and warning those who sought her guidance what would happen to them.

She is said to have accurately foretold the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada among many others.

She wasn't completely accurate all the time though, as she also predicted the world would end in 1881. She eventually died in 1561, aged 73.

Her birthplace is still popular to this day, with its petrifying well the main thing to see.

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People have been visiting the well for almost 400 years to see its waters turn objects to stone.

Every day items, including lamps, teapots and dolls, are suspended in the water, where they have completely petrified.

A small teddy bear takes around 3-5 months to turn to stone in the well's waters, and guests can take the bears home with them from the on-site gift shop.

In the past, people believed the petrifying process to be caused by magic or witchcraft, adding to the mystery around Mother Shipton.

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However, it is simply a result of the amount of minerals that can be found in the well.

The same mineral-rich water can be seen in the wishing well in the inside of the cave, where visitors are known to follow specific rules for making wishes.

This includes placing your right hand in the water as you make your wish before letting it dry naturally afterwards. Wishes should also be kept secret.

According to the cave's website, lots of guests have been in touch after their visits to confirm that their wishes came true.

Visitors can also buy bottles of wishing well water from the gift shop to take home as a souvenir, or to make wishes elsewhere.

A small museum can be found near to the cave, which has some objects left by famous individuals to be petrified in the well on display.

It includes a handbag left by Agatha Christie and a shoe left by Queen Mary among several other curiosities.

There are also woodland walks and an adventure playground for children to enjoy as well.

The cave has a total score of 4/5 on TripAdvisor from more than 1,800 reviews.

One wrote: "The most stunning place to visit!! So magical. The walk along the side of the River Nidd and the views are out of this world!"

Another said: "I really loved this attraction! We stayed in Yorkshire for the weekend and was looking for fun things to do. We loved this."

A third added: "What a magical place!"

Another person who was amazed by their visit was Tiktoker Olivia Phillip (@storieswithliv), who shared video footage online.

She described it as a "legendary location".

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