The wait is over- The Margate Caves are now open!
The building is finished, the fridge has been stocked, the paintings conserved and a new exit excavated – we still have plenty of work to do but we’re eager to open the doors and welcome visitors so you can all see what we’ve been up to. We’ve all waited long enough!
Scroll down for opening hours, ticket admission prices and how to find us. And if you’re a near neighbour, you’ll find details of our free ticket offer on the Ticket Prices page.
Originally dug as a chalk mine in the 18th century, the Caves have been welcoming visitors since 1863 but were closed in 2004. Since 2011, campaigners determined to save the Caves have gained major funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, boosted by lots of local fundraising including a Secret Postcard Auction and a Crowdfunder campaign.
The money raised has enabled the The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) and the Friends of Margate Caves to contract geotechnical engineers to conserve the Caves and ensure they conform to all modern Health & Safety criteria, while a specialist conservator has brought the site’s vibrant murals back to life, undoing years of damage.
Alongside the building and Caves works, our funding also supports an activity programme that takes the Caves out to the local community, the development of a learning scheme for schools and the formation of a volunteer training hub at the Caves.
At the heart of all this is our new Margate Caves centre. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Community Lottery Fund, the building’s dramatic exterior provides a new landmark on the route between Margate’s Old Town and nearby Dalby Square, Northdown Road and Cliftonville.
The building provides access to the restored Caves, and features a shop and community café. Here we tell the story of the Margate Caves and how landscape, ecology and geology have impacted on the town’s rich social and cultural history.
At the back of the visitor centre are our community rooms, flexible spaces providing either one large or two classroom-sized rooms, which can be used for a range of activities and are available as a base for schools visiting Margate or for local groups to meet in.
The building has been designed by award-winning Kent-based architects Kaner Olette.