Tips for visiting The Shell Grotto in Margate.  Over October half term, we visited Kent.  We hadn’t planned to visit we should have been in Sicily. But with the virus, we were happy to getaway.  As soon as it seemed likely that our trip would go ahead I started researching things we could do.  And I came across The Shell Grotto. As soon as I saw the website I knew that we would have to go.  Discovered in 1835 they have no idea how or why it was created. The fact it survived the blitz relatively unscathed (one wall was lost)  makes it a must-see if you are int he area.

However, during my research I discovered, there is not a lot of practical information.  so here are some tips for visiting The Shell Grotto in Margate to help you plan your visit.

Shell Grotto Kent

Oldest Shell Grotto in England

Shell Grotto Margate suitable for kids

Tips for visiting The Shell Grotto in Margate


I am not sure why I thought that the Shell Grotto would be in the centre of Margate but I did.   Turns out it is not. Instead, it is in the middle of a residential area which is full of old Victorian terrace houses and one-way streets! It really wasn’t what I was expecting at all and parking very close to the Shell Grotto is more pot luck than anything else. I would suggest heading to the park which is close by and parking along the road adjacent to it. This is what we did and there was plenty of space even on a Friday in half term.   It is only a few minutes walk to the Grotto from here.

Other Amenities

Close by there is a large park with a play area and a cafe.  There is also a pub at the bottom of  Grotto Lane to the right if you stand with the Grotto behind you. Ideal if not all people in your party want to explore the Grotto.  The Grotto has its own toilet and a small cafe area so if you are moving around there is the opportunity for refreshments.  But it is very small with only bench seating available.

Bring your pocket money

If visiting with children then make sure they bring their pocket money. As attached to the Grotto is an amazing shop selling all different types of shells.  It is a treasure trove for little hands and prices are really reasonable with shells starting at under £1.  They have all sorts of other sea and shell themed gifts as well. Including a selection of Christmas decorations, jewellery, vases and books.  So it may not just be the children that want a treat!

Don’t forget your camera

The lighting is not brilliant in the grotto itself,  which is no surprise. Since it is underground. But if you are wanting to take photos and your camera phone does not cope well with dim areas. Then it is worth thinking about taking something with a better flash. As you will definitely want to take photos.  Even with the latest iphone, I  struggled to get the crispness I was after.

Tips for visiting The Shell Grotto in Margate

Time at the attraction

There is a small room which gives you a brief history before you go down to the tunnels.  The tunnels themselves are small but beautiful. There is lots of head height, they run in a figure of eight before leading into an alter room. We were given a map which shows the different areas and pictures you can see on the panels.

Because it is not a large attraction it does mean that you can easily slot it into other plans in the area. Also if others don’t want to visit then you don’t need to feel under pressure to rush around.  With the two boys (age 8 & 4), half an hour was probably enough in the tunnels themselves. Just make sure you allow some time for souvenir shopping!

Shell Grotto AltarShell Grotto Tunnels Pagan Shell Grotto


Value for money

You can probably guess that I loved our trip to the Shell Grotto.   I think it represents great value, with a family ticket costing just £9.50 (2 adults and 2 kids). I can not remember visiting an attraction which is so different from anything else and seeped in history for such a reasonable price.

At the moment because of the virus, you need to book timed slots online in advance. They will sell tickets on the day but of course, it depends on how popular it is so I would recommend booking to avoid disappointment.

Definitely one for the bucket list.


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Tips for visiting The Shell Grotto in Margate



    wow! that place looks amazing, magical for kids to explore

  2. justine meyer

    wow the shell grotto is amazing how interesting

  3. Wow! That looks beautiful, I’ve never heard of the shell grotto

  4. Pippa Ainsworth

    What a beautiful place! I love quirky little spots like this.

  5. Andrea Fletcher

    I visited one of these as a child, they are amazing.

  6. Jazz Tattersall

    Oh wow this is beautiful imagine it as a Airbnb

  7. William Gould

    Wow! What an amazing place! Never heard of this before. We will be sure to look this up if we are ever in the area!

  8. lynn neal

    This looks amazing, what a lovely unique place to visit!

  9. Natalie Crossan

    I’ve never heard of a shell grotto! What a lovely idea

  10. Sandra Fortune

    Looks beautiful all the work in this with all the shells I would love to see it

  11. Carly Belsey

    Oh this is a great idea to visit. This is terrible but I live in Broadstairs, literally the next town to Margate and for some really strange reason I have never visited! I must do. I forgot it was actually there.

  12. Priscilla Stubbs

    What an amazing place, I have never heard of it and not surprised that you all enjoyed it

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