The Caves have been welcoming visitors since 1863. Originally dug as a chalk mine in the 18th century it went largely forgotten for over 100 years before being rediscovered and restored for personal recreation and then eventually as a tourist attraction. Despite its huge popularity during the Victorian period and on into the 20th Century, the Caves were closed in 2004.
In 2011 the Friends of Margate Caves and The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) began a campaign to save the Caves and reopen them to to public.
Thanks to various fund raising initiatives, and major funding from the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund) and Heritage Lottery Fund, TMCCET were able to contract geotechnical engineers and conservation specialists to restore The Caves and Cave paintings for the next generation of visitors to enjoy.
The Margate Caves finally reopened in September 2019 with a new Community Building, Café, Shop and Exhibition and Interpretation spaces which share the rich history of the Caves and explain how the landscape, ecology and geology of the area have become intwined in town’s rich social and cultural history.
We are very proud of our award-winning building, designed by Kent-based architects Kaner Olette, but we like to think that the Caves are more than just a physical presence nestled on border between Margate and Cliftonville. We are a community.
Our Caves team are dedicated to providing a friendly welcome to all visitors and to supporting our local community. As a non-profit organisation we invest a lot into our outreach programmes for schools and local groups and are committed to providing opportunities and training for local residents. None of this would be possible without your continued support and we’d like to thank you for that.
So please do come and visit us at The Margate Caves where a warm welcome will always awaits you.