Newest Review: ... more reasonable. Full visitor information can be found at the website http://www.cityofcaves.com/. I'd been looking forward to seeing t... more
The Caves of Nottingham
Caves of Nottingham
Member Name: linzeelou
Caves of Nottingham
Disadvantages: Prices, not wheelchair accessible
Something that quite a few people have told me to do while still in Nottingham is visit the caves. I have known about this attraction since I first moved here but could never really be bothered to go. What I found extremely strange about this attraction was that the entrance is on the upper floor of the Broadmarsh Shopping Center. I thought it was a very strange place for an attraction to be but then after thinking about it more, caves are bound to be under something.
In order to get to the attraction, you can either drive and park in one of the nearby car parks but if you live in Nottingham, bus is probably the easiest way. Being in the city center, most buses will take you to within walking distance of the shopping center which is also a couple of minutes' walk away from the train station. The attraction is very central and easy to get from if you are in the city center.
The caves offer two different types of tour, an audio tour where you wear headphones and walk around at your own pace or a performance tour, where a guide takes you around and explains what the caves are all about. I opted for the performance tour because walking around caves on your own didn't seem like much fun at all to me. While you are waiting for your tour to start, you can have a little look around the gift shop although there isn't much to buy. Items for sale include books about Nottingham and a range of stones and rocks. The gift shop is severely lacking in any kind of fun items for people to buy, especially if you have children with you and they want something fun and cheap as a reminder of the day.
Before the tour begins, your tour guide will ask you to pick out a hard hat. Because of this, if you care too much what you look like, this is not an attraction for you. Hard hats look silly and are not comfortable but they are obviously necessary when going down into a cave. The first step on the tour is the Enchanted Well. It is explained that back in the day, the water coming from the well was seen to be a gift and was therefore worshipped by pagans. At this point, you can put coins into the well if you wish. This part of the tour doesn't last long and you are soon moved on to the Medieval Tannery.
The tannery was in operation from around the 1500s for about 150 years. This was a place which took great advantage of employing child labourers which was ok during this time. What I found interesting about this area of the caves was that the children working would get no days off and work 12 hour shifts. It was also explained that if anyone needed the toilet while working, they would have to use one of the tanning vats. While this was quite a disgusting thing to do, excrement was used to help the leather.
After the tannery is a small circular room which was once used as a gambling den. The room has a hole in the ceiling where rocks and stones would be thrown down in order to warn people down there to escape. Gambling dens were illegal so this gave whoever was down there enough time to get out and not be caught. Just around the corner are air raid shelters which are obviously from the twentieth century. Seeing as the tannery was from the sixteenth century, I found this huge gap in time to be a bit strange. Why were no other periods of time covered in the middle? Anyway, it was explained that during the war, not everyone had gardens or basements and lives in the slums of the city. Because of this, people were forced to come down here in order to survive.
After this part of the tour, the guide takes you back up the stairs to the gift shop and the entrance/ exit of the caves. Costing £5.50 a ticket (as I'm a student), I do feel like this attraction is extremely overpriced. The tour lasted just under an hour and while it was informative, it wasn't nearly as good as it could have been. Also, it is worth mentioning that this attraction isn't suitable for wheelchair users are there are no lifts, only stairs.
Opening Times and Prices (up to date on 1/11/12)
Saturday: Doors open at 10.00am to 5pm. First tour 10:30am, last tour 4:30pm
Sunday: Doors open at 10:30am - 4:30pm. First tour at 11:00am, last tour at 4pm.
Family pass (2 adults, 2 concessions, or 1 adult, 3 concessions)
Joint ticket with the Galleries of Justice Museum
Family pass: (2 adults, 2 concessions, or 1 adult, 3 concessions)
Summary: Just ok