Margate Shell Grotto

Published Categorised as Travel 3 Comments on Margate Shell Grotto


Earli­er in the summer I went to the Margate Shell Grotto with my mum. I thought it was a piece of victori­an tour­ist kitsch from memory, but it wasn’t like that at all.


It’s some creepy tunnels under some houses, with every surface covered in shells. They’ve got no idea who built it or why or when, and they can’t carbon date the shells because the gas lamps installed by the victori­ans covered them in soot. The cement’s like roman cement and made of volcan­ic ash (no volcanos on Thanet). At the end of the tunnels is a little altar room with a seri­ously creepy feel­ing. I was the only person down there and I felt a bit like Indi­ana Jones.


Cent­ral cupola to let the light in.


Look at the intric­ate detail.





Recon­struc­tion of what the shells looked like before the victori­ans spoilt them with gas fumes. (They can’t get the shells off to clean them without break­ing them, and they can’t clean them on the wall either)




Strange shell lady sculp­ture in the cafe upstairs. I sent post­cards of them to vari­ous people. My mum also bought some gemstones for my aunty, and I got some coloured quartz slices to hang in the window.

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  1. Hi

    Visited this amaz­ing grotto today with my 12yr old twin grand chil­dren. we were all blown away by it. I cannot under­stand how I had not heard of it before now as I have lived in Kent all my life.

    I also think it has great­er mean­ing than a FOLLY!

    I hope that someone some­where does find some more conclus­ive evid­ence but I have a gut feel­ing that there is much much more to it than a folly.

    Go take a look every­one but please please respect its fagil­ity.

    Lesley Taylor

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