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The Shell Grotto

Arts, Culture and Entertainment
Heritage and Gardens
Heritage and Gardens

Discovered in 1835, Margate's Shell Grotto is an astonishing find; 70ft (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 made from the shells 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.

Group Visits are to be Pre-Booked

Access Information

Due to the nature of the Grotto, it is not accessible to wheelchair users. The Grotto itself is located on a very steep road, and there is a step up from the street to enter the shop.

There are steps down to the Grotto from the shop entrance and the terrain inside the passage is uneven, sloped and narrow in places. There is also low lighting in the Grotto, so it can be quite dark at some points.

There is limited on-road parking on Grotto Hill, but this is very steep and narrow. The nearest Blue Badge parking is located at Trinity Square (CT9 1HT), approximately 480 metres from the Grotto, or College Square (CT9 1PR), approximately 600 metres away.

See also the Shell Grotto Social Story for Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Sensory Map, and full Access Statement here.


Full Price
Concessions (Students, Seniors (over 60), Registered Disabled, Armed Forces (serving and veterans)
Child (4-16)
Under 4's
Family ticket (2 adults & up to 2 children)


Grotto Hill




Opening Times

Credit cards accepted (not American Express)
Gift shop
Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome
TDC 3 towns logo (High Res ).JPG
Contact Us
Visitor Information Centre
The Droit House
Stone Pier
Kent CT9 1JD
Te: 01843 577577
Official website of Visit Thanet, Thanet District Council.