Solve the mystery of Margate’s Shell Grotto

Margate, Kent

Explore atmospheric underground passages, marvel at walls covered with millions of shells, can you solve the mystery of the grotto?

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Local legend says Margate’s Shell Grotto was discovered by chance over180 years ago, when 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. 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. Is it a pagan temple or a meeting place for some secret cult?

Content provided by Thanet District Council Tourism Unit

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