Hit New Depths In London’s Only Cave Network • Chislehurst Caves

Guy Parsons Guy Parsons

Chislehurst Caves

Get lamped in the Chislehurst Caves.

Ah, the fine feeling of venturing beneath several thousand tons of rock. If the Victoria Line still doesn’t give you that surge of subterranean wonder, jump on the train to Chislehurst Caves in Kent.

Chislehurst Cave
Photo: @jibbyjames

This sprawling maze of tunnels occupies the area of six rugby fields, but these caves aren’t down to Mother Nature’s shady ways. Instead, they were excavated by human hands over many centuries, mining the earth for chalk and flint. Records go all the way back to 1250, although some believe the earliest tunnels may even date back to Roman times.

Chislehurst Cave Carving
Photo: Chislehurst Caves

With thousands of years of history, it stands to reason some kind of Satanic ritual must’ve taken place here at LEAST once. So accordingly, all sorts of paranormal goings-on have been recorded here – they’ve even been documented in a 100 page e-book if you really want to psych yourself out before your visit. Good times!

London Caves
Photo: @aliciarobs

Less bone-chillingly, the caves have been used as an ammunition store, mushroom farm, and deep-level bomb shelter during World War 2, when it became home to as many as 15,000 civilians seeking refuge from the Blitz. Several (slightly old-fashioned!) dioramas depict how the various parts of the cave were used during this period, from a hospital to a cavern used for church services.

Chislehurst Church
Photo: @albajara

Well ahead of the pop-up trend, the caves were also used as a convert venue during the 1960s, with the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie all playing shows here. It seems a shame this hasn’t carried on until the present day, to be honest – for now, only an empty stage remains in memory of the rock’n’roll that once rang through the complex.

Chislehurst Caves Photography
Photo: thesewingshedkent

To prevent any additional hauntings by those who became lost in the caves for all eternity, visitors must be led on a guided tour, which lasts about 45 minutes. (They depart hourly, from 10am – 4pm.) But you get your own lantern, just in case…

Lanterns underground cave

Location: Caveside Close, Chislehurst, BR7 5NL. Nearest station: Chislehurst (TfL Zone 5) is a very short walk away. 26 minutes from London Bridge, direct trains also run from Charing Cross and Cannon Street. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm; the last tour leaves at 4pm. Also opens on Bank Holiday Mondays.
Price: £6 for adults, £4 for children.
More information: on their website.
Also nearby: The Bickley is a large pub between the caves and the station, with a big beer garden and decent food and drink.

More fun day trips to the edge of London:

?Have a cheese and wine feast at this pretty vineyard
?Step inside a crystal grotto at Painshill Park
?Get lost inside the maze at Hampton Court
?Find tropical vibes in Kew Gardens’ greenhouses


Tags: day trips
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