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

During winter we open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

We open daily during February Half Term, 11am to 4pm. (Week beginning Monday 12 February in 2018.)

The 2018 summer season starts on Friday 30 March, from when we’ll be open every day, including Bank Holidays, 10am to 5pm.


  • Groups welcome
  • Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome
  • Gift shop
  • Restaurant / Cafe / Tea shop
  • Pets welcome
  • Credit cards accepted (not American Express)