South Street Caves, Dorking, Surrey
Beneath the streets of Dorking in Surrey is a subterranean world of interconnecting caverns and galleries carved out in the 17th century and used by brewers, vintners and grocers for storing their wares for hundreds of years.
Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre now runs tours of South Street Caves which are accessed beside the war memorial – originally it was all part of a big estate and was privately owned. There are 4 main galleries, well shafts and a mystery chamber where its thought religious or political meetings were held; you’ll notice centuries old inscriptions on the walls, the oldest dating back to 1666
What’s fascinating is how so many of the shops and houses had cellars that led off to underground passageways; it’s like a hush-hush world where people moved about in secret. A former pub in the High Street has a cellar with a cock pit and not so long ago, during the building of a supermarket a huge cave was discovered with trompe l’oeil pillars – but commerce reigns supreme, so sadly, it was all filled in.
Tours of South Street Caves run from April to Oct at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm on open days (generally the last Saturday of the month). You can have a Group Tour for up to 12 people any day of the week, subject to a guide being available.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the museum on 01306 876591
All information correct at the time of writing