Solve the mystery of Margate’s Shell Grotto

Margate, Kent

Explore atmospheric underground passages, marvel at walls covered with millions of shells, try to work out how it all began.

Read more … Close ×

Local legend says Margate’s Shell Grotto was discovered by chance nearly 180 years ago. The story goes that 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.

Its origins remain unexplained today. In this remarkable subterranean enclave, winding tunnels snake beside 2000 sq ft of magnificent symbol mosaics, made out of cockle, whelk, mussel and oyster shells. Could this be a pagan temple or a meeting place for some secret cult? Nobody can explain who built this amazing place, or why, but since its accidental discovery visitors from all over the world have been intrigued by the beautiful mosaic and the unsolved mystery.

Content provided by Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate


For more local tourist information:

Show me more like this:

Previous slide
S© Credit Thanet Tourism
S© Credit Thanet Tourism
S© Credit Thanet Tourism
M© Credit Thanet Tourism,
Next slide
Lat: 51.36862, Long: 1.315593
View on Google MapsMore experiences nearby

Customer survey …

VisitEngland would like to invite you to take part in a short survey about our website.

It should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Please click here to be taken to the survey


To add items to favourites …

… you need to be logged in.

If you already have an account, log in.

Or register a new account