The Great Knaresborough Bed Race has been held every year since 1966, always on the second Saturday in June. It is a mighty pageant of decorated beds, passengers and runners, combined with a gruelling athletic contest around a course of 2.4 miles. It is organised by volunteers from the Knaresborough Lions to raise funds to meet local charitable and community needs.
This takes the teams – usually 90 squads in the maximum race field - through parkland, through the Nidd Gorge, up the steep Castle Ings to the town centre. They then hurtle down High Street and Bond End, cross High Bridge and dash to the climax of the event: the 30-yard swim through the ever-icy waters of the River Nidd, beds racers and all. For the teams, it is an unforgettable experience, and for spectators unmissable. Bed racing, begun in Knaresborough, has spread across the globe, helping to entertain folk and raising cash for worthwhile causes.