The Shell Grotto, Grotto Hill

The Shell Grotto, Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent CT9 2BU View on map

A unique underground structure, cut from chalk. First recorded in 1838 when it was opened as a tourist attraction. The walls are decorated floor to ceiling with approximately 150 sq.m of shell mosaic, divided into discrete panels and consisting of at least 40 different types of shells of which all but two can be found in the UK. The layout consists of a bare-chalk passage lead-in, which descends through an arch to two semi-circular passages comprising the rotunda. Each passage exits through an arch to a dome. A third arch leads off from the dome down a descending serpentine passage to another arch which forms the entrance to a rectangular chamber.


Opening Arrangements

Winter (end-Oct to end-March) - weekends only, 11am to 4pm. February half term (11th - 19th Feb) open daily from 11am to 4pm. 1st April to 29th Oct open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Admission Charges

  • Adult: £4.00
  • Child: £1.50
  • Other Charges: Concession £3.50 and Family Ticket £8.00


Located on a residential road on the borders of Margate and Cliftonville (advisable to check website for directions) Rail: Margate (0.9 miles). Bus: located on several bus routes including The Loop, No 8 and No 32.

Parking Spaces


On-street parking.

Disabled Access

  • Wheelchair access: No
  • Disabled Toilets: No
  • Assistance dogs: Yes