ADMISSION - pre-booking essential
(Seniors over 60, students, registered disabled, armed forces)
(Aged 4 - 16)
(Under 4, no booking required)
(2 x adults and up to 2 x children)
Entry is currently via pre-booked tickets only.
Opening Times 2020
CLOSED FOR THE REMAINDER OF NOVEMBER
Check back for later opening times.
Please read our FAQ before booking tickets.
* Children and infants must be accompanied by an adult.
Allow approx. 30 minutes per visit.
Face coverings must be worn in the shop and Grotto, unless you're exempt.
No dogs allowed.
Personal photography is allowed.
Filming and commercial photography is strictly prohibited.
The Grotto may be closed without warning. We reserve the right to refuse admission.
Photo by Frank Leppard.
HOW TO FIND US
Grotto Hill, Margate
Kent, CT9 2BU
There is no on-street parking directly outside the Grotto on Grotto Hill, but most of the roads around us do not have any parking restrictions. Although, please remember that we are in a residential area and respect our neighbours.
The nearest Pay & Display car park is at Trinity Square, CT9 1QY.
This is also the best car park to use for visits to the Old Town and Turner Contemporary.
From London, there are high-speed rail services to Margate from St Pancras and Straford Intl, which run hourly and take 90 minutes. Slower services run from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Victoria. There are also direct services to Margate from the Medway Towns, Canterbury and Ashford.
The Grotto is on several bus routes, including The Loop, No 8 and No 32.
Access to the Grotto includes two sets of stairs. The Grotto's floor is uneven in places and has a slight gradient and camber. Visitors are advised to take care and use the handrails provided.
For visitors with Autistic Spectrum Conditions we have the Shell Grotto Social Story; a guide that will help you find your way around the Grotto.
Our Sensory Map identifies spaces around the Grotto which
might be noisy, bright, busy, dark, interactive or smelly.
We have information available in French, German, Spanish and Russian.
We do our best to be sensitive to all of our visitors’ needs so please don’t hesitate to ask if you require assistance.
We have a full Access Statement to assist with planning your visit.
No step-free access.
Not suitable for wheelchairs or those with reduced mobility.
No pets allowed except for registered assistance dogs.
(over 60s, registered disabled, armed forces)
(Aged 4 - 16)
GROUP VISITS ARE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED DUE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
Groups of 10 or more qualify for these group rates.
Group visits require pre-booking and are subject to availability. We are often unable to accommodate groups at busy times; we almost always have to refuse group bookings during the school summer holidays for example.
Large groups will be divided into smaller groups of 15 - 20 due to the delicate nature of the Grotto.
Group visits are self-guided. You should allow around 45 minutes for groups of 20 and fewer, adding another 20 minutes for every additional group.
Free entry for coach drivers. There are coach drop-off points nearby.
STUDENT (Under 16)
(1 free adult per 10 students)
A visit to the Shell Grotto can touch upon many areas of the national curriculum including art and design, the natural world and World War II.
School visits require pre-booking and are subject to availability. We are happy to offer a free preparatory teachers' visit.
Free entry for one adult per ten students. Extra charges for additional adults apply.
Please advise us in advance if any students require one-to-one supervision. In these instances, their accompanying adult will not be charged admittance.
SHOP & CAFé
In line with the government Covid-19 guidance, we are currently only serving takeaways from the café. We follow the Food Standards Agency guidance as a matter of course, and have also implemented more frequent cleaning of surfaces and hand washing. Our staff are also carefully practising social distancing.
Our café serves fresh, Fair Trade coffee and a range of speciality Twinings teas throughout the day, plus soft drinks. Our takeaway cups and lids are compostable, and our soft drinks come in glass bottles or tins. We also have paper straws.
We are happy to serve your hot drink in your own re-usable cup, because we have a no-touch method for doing so, as set out by the Refill Scheme. However, we have suspended refills of water bottles as that's trickier to do without contact.
We sell sea shells...
We stock hundreds of products in our shop, some inspired by the designs in the Grotto, some inspired by the seaside and many inspired by, or made of, shells.
We also stock an interesting range of jewellery, plus fossils, crystals and a small but perfectly formed selection of books.
All the shells we sell are natural and from sustainable sources. The majority are a by product of the food industry. Our suppliers are socially and ethically responsible and do not export any currently endangered species. We do not stock items taken solely for decorative purposes such as starfish, seahorses or puffer fish.
Our online shop is growing, department by department, and was launched on 5 November 2020.