England’s underground cave adorned with millions of shells

(c) Flickr/Alastair Campbell

Having grown up in a coastal town. I remember spending many, many hours at the beach. It was something my dad and I used to do go together most summer evenings when he got back from work with the beach in Port Elizabeth being no more than 10 minutes’ drive from where we lived.

The weekend before last a few friends and I headed to the English South-East coast where we stayed at an Air BnB on the beach in Ramsgate. Whilst February can be particularly unpleasant weather-wise, thankfully the forecast non-stop driving rain and 40 mile/hr winds failed to materialise and we had a super weekend!

(c) Ben Sutherland
(c) Ben Sutherland

The biggest ‘find’ of the weekend was definitely the Margate Shell Grotto. Adorned with some 4.6M shells in various intricately patterned mosaics along it’s 22m winding passageway, the grotto was discovered in 1835. To this day, no-one quite knows how or why it was built with theories ranging from a temple of some sort to a smugglers’ cave to some rich folks wanting to make a statement.

While the gas lamps of old may have dirtied the shells, it remains beautiful and certainly highly unusual – in fact, the brochure noted it was the only one in the world. At £3.5, it is definitely visiting and for more information, including opening times, visit Margate Shell Grotto.

We were actually not staying in Margate but along the coast in Ramsgate, though I have nothing much to say about the town! Broadstairs though, in-between the two and which we walked too, is a lovely sea-side town complete with, as you would expect, delicious ice-cream, mini-golf and awesome fish and chips. Though not every town can boast of having the best chips in the county!

Who are we to argue with the Potato Council!

It also so happened to be the ‘Broadstairs Blues Bash’, which meant great live music at a number of bars (and like most English cities / towns, there are no shortage). One particular spot I would recommend is Fish and Beer on Albion Street for different and delicious beers.

Perhaps my favourite part of the weekend, though, was simply just lying in bed listening to the waves and I look forward to heading back to the sea soon – maybe let’s wait for summer so we can swim!



Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *