"In 1835 Mr James Newlove lowered his young son Joshua into a hole in the ground that had appeared during the digging of a duck pond. Joshua emerged describing tunnels covered with shells. He had discovered the Shell Grotto; 70ft of winding underground passages leading to an oblong chamber, its walls decorated with strange symbols mosaiced in millions of shells. Is it an ancient pagan temple? A meeting place for some secret cult? Nobody can explain who built this amazing place, or why, or when, but since its discovery visitors from all over the world have been intrigued by the beautiful mosaic and the unsolved mystery." A quote from the website, which describes it better than I could, as I haven't visited since I was a kid!
Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent, around five minutes’ walk from the seafront and a 20-minute walk from Margate Station.
If you're going to drive to Margate by car, keep in mind that traffic starts on Sunday afternoons at about 5 p.m. somewhere in the middle between Margate and London. Sometimes you can be stuck there for an hour or even longer. I'm not sure this is only on Sundays, but I guess so, as many people who live outside London, but work in London drive there on Sunday evenings. We drove to Margate several times and when coming back we always experienced traffic.
- Road Trip
This postcard is of The Shell...
This postcard is of The Shell Grotto in Margate. The Grotto is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. It's only small, but quite fascinating. It's estimated there are about 4.6 million shells covering the walls and ceilings of the tunnels. It was discovered in 1835 although nobody's quite sure what it was for. Some ideas are an ancient pagan temple or a secret cult meeting place.
I'd suggest getting a leaflet from the tourist office for directions, but it's located on Grotto Hill - in the middle of a residential street.
Opening times are Easter to Halloween 10am - 5pm daily and in winter, weekends only 11am - 4pm. The website is www.shellgrotto.co.uk.