These Decorated Rooms Are Beautiful To Look At, But No One Knows Why They Were Built

It sounds like something out of fiction – a mysterious grotto, found by accident, covered in thousands and thousands of seashells deep underground. But, the Margate shell grotto is very real.

The grotto was discovered in 1835 by a Kent laborer while doing his field work on the English countryside. 

He struck the Earth and his shovel revealed that he was standing over a large hollow opening. 

Word spread of the laborer's discovery and the townspeople lowered a child into the hole with a candle (because in 1835, I guess that's just what you did).


What the child discovered was beyond anyone's wildest dreams. 

The grotto was divided into a rotunda, altar chamber and passageway.

It opened to the public in 1837, but, to this day, nobody is sure who built it or exactly why.

The shells make sun and star shapes and, clearly, hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work went into its creation.


In the 1700s, it wasn't uncommon for European aristocrats to create shell grottos.

In the 1930s, it was a popular place for seances where visitors would try to contact the spirits of the dead responsible for building the grotto. Some of them left their marks on the shells.

To visit the Margate shell grotto check out its website and plan a visit to this mysterious place in England.

Credit: Kuriositas

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