The Shell Grotto

Discovered in 1835, Margate's Shell Grotto is an astonishing find; 21 metres of winding passages decorated with 4.6 million shells. The walls are covered in images of gods and goddesses, trees of life and patterns of whelks, mussels and oysters. Some think it is an ancient Pagan grotto, others that it is simply an ornate Regency folly; but with no definitive explanation or history, the Shell Grotto is Kent's greatest mystery.

Opening Times

Open weekends 11am to 4pm through the Winter.
Open daily 10am to 5pm (Saturday 23rd March until Sunday 2nd November.)


  • Groups welcome
  • Coaches welcome
  • Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome
  • Gift shop
  • Baby facilities (e.g. baby changing)
  • Restaurant / Cafe / Tea shop