Nottingham City of Caves

By January 7th, 2019Attractions

Discover a hidden world underneath the streets of Nottingham.

This underground world is part of a hidden maze of more than 500 sandstone caves below the city of Nottingham, dating back to the dark ages. The family attraction that is now the City Of Caves is possible thanks to the soft Sherwood Sandstone beneath Nottingham that allowed hand-carved cellars to be excavated and used as storerooms, factories, pub cellars, dwellings and even air raid shelters. Archaeologists are still investigating the maze of tunnels to see where they lead and what more there is to find.

Enjoy a tour of the caves to learn about the historical events that took place in this fascinating subterranean world, and the social history associated with them.

Underground world

Descend into the dark shadowy tunnels, leading to original medieval wells and cesspits. Visit the only medieval underground tannery in the country and see how the caves were used for leather production in this unique setting. Explore the remnants of the Drury Hill slums from the Victorian era and quickly appreciate how much conditions have improved since then. Seek refuge in the Anderson air raid shelter, just as thousands did in World War II, to experience what many people had to cope with in the not so distant past.

A murky past 

The city of Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain, and the cave network has Ancient Monument Protection. The area was originally known as Tiggua Cobaucc, meaning ‘Place of Caves’, and the first reference to it was in ‘The Life Of King Alfred,’ by Welsh monk and historian, Asser, the Bishop of Sherborne, who visited Nottingham around 900 AD. These ancient caves were likely used for housing as early as the 11th century, and cave dwellers were still recorded in the 17th century. Many were inhabited until 1845, when the St. Mary’s Enclosure Act banned the rental of cellars and caves as homes for the poor, though the practice doubtless continued.

Discoveries in the darkness

The City of Caves attraction is a must-see during your stay in Nottingham, for young and old. Children, while wary of the dark and wet environment, will be enthralled by the dismal past displayed beneath the feet of ordinary Nottingham residents. Adults, meanwhile, will be mesmerised by the ingenuity of those who made their homes and businesses in these dwellings below the ground.


Hart’s Hotel and Kitchen Nottingham is an award-winning boutique hotel located on the old ramparts of Nottingham Castle, offering luxury accommodation and fine dining in our 2 AA rosette restaurant.

The hotel is a strikingly modern building that sits impressively overlooking Nottinghamshire thus boasting stunning views over the historical Park Estate.

The contemporary design of the hotel makes the most of natural daylight and brings the outside in, which creates some lovely relaxing spaces. The collection of bedrooms offer a peaceful retreat to unwind with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern décor making Hart’s a stylish escape if you are visiting Nottingham Castle and the cave network.

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