Showcaves of UK and Ireland

This list covers showcaves, mines and other underground structures (as well as surface mining remains and museums) that you can visit as a tourist throughout the UK and Ireland. These links leave our site and will open a new window.


The website for the Association of British and Irish Show Caves

Aillwee Cave, Co. Clare, Ireland
In the heart of the Burren with spectacular views from the entrance

Blue John Caverns, Peak District
Mined tunnels driven in search of the local blue john minteral intersected a cave, so you have both backgrounds here

Cheddar Caves, Somerset
Cox's Cave and Gough's Cave set in Cheddar Gorge

Crag Cave, Co. Kerry, Ireland
A discovery made by cave divers, since developed into a fine showcave

Creswell Crags, Nottingham
With prehistoric cave art and a number of caves, including Church Hole Cave, Dog Hole and Robin Hood's Cave

Dan yr Ogof, Swansea Valley, South Wales
Cathedral Cave (known to cavers as Tunnel Cave), Dan yr Ogof itself, and the Bone Cave, all set in spectacular caving country

Doolin Cave, Co. Clare, Ireland
Better known to cavers as Pol-an-Ionain with the 'soggy dishcloth' stalagmite, though controversially developed as a showcave

Ingleborough Cave, Yorkshire Dales
Discovered in 1837 and rich in history, a cave well worth a visit

Kents Cavern, Devon
There's a fun virtual tour on the website for this prehistoric and archaeologically important cave

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Co. Cavan and Co. Fermanagh border, Ireland
A cave with international recognition and sporting a boat ride

Mitchelstown Cave, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
The first Irish showcave to be developed, one of the lesser-known treats of the country

Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough
A tufa cave, more of a shelter than anything and if this is your main reason for going, it will make for an overpriced visit

Peak Cavern, Peak District
Also known as the Devil's Arse, Peak has a magnificent entrance set in a gorge and a rich history

Poole’s Cavern, Peak District
Visitors have been coming here since the 1600s, so the historical record is superb – there are some fine quotes on the website

Smoo Cave, Scotland
Perhaps not a classic showcave, but modern step and guiderail installations have made this a worthy attraction in its own right

Speedwell Cavern, Peak District
Enjoy an underground boat tour through old mining remains that intersected cave passages

Stump Cross Caverns, Yorkshire Dales
Another cave discovered by miners and now developed for the public, though by permission cavers enjoy exploring even more of the passages

Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak District
A source of the blue john mineral and thus a close association with mining in these passages

White Scar Caves, Yorkshire Dales
Take an animated tour on the website of what is claimed as the longest British showcave

Wookey Hole, Somerset
Where cave diving began – and you might be lucky enough to see cave divers in action

Mines and structures

Baron’s Cave, Reigate
A fascinating structure with a rich history; not to be missed on one of the days when the local society arranges a visit

Beamish Mining Museum, Co. Durham
An open-air museum where your time will disappear there is so much to see

Big Pit, Blaenavon, South Wales
A quality site now run by the National Museum of Wales – and therefore free! Avoid school-visit days in the summer for a quieter tour

Birkhill Fireclay Mine, Scotland
An under-rated mine experience and well worth the journey by steam train

Chiselhurst Caves, Kent
Plenty of history is present in these passages; worth a day out to visit

Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean
A fascinating example of an ancient iron mine with a friendly welcome from this family-run business

Exeter’s Underground Passages, Devon
Medieval tunnels built to house pipes to bring water to the city

Geevor Tin Mine, Cornwall
A huge area preserved from the county's tin mining past; the website has plenty of information on the mine's history

Glengowla Mine, Co. Galway, Ireland
Ireland's only showmine, where silver and lead were extracted

Grime’s Graves, Norfolk
Ancient mines where flint was brought to the surface from bell pits, now preserved and open for visits

Hell-Fire Caves, West Wycombe
The scene of depravity and orgies when the Hell-Fire Club operated in these man-made tunnels

Kelly Mine, Devon
Haematite was mined here on Dartmoor at a site that has been restored by a preservation society

King Edward Mine, Cornwall
A Cornish tin mine abandoned in the late 1800s but redeveloped as a training facility by the Camborne School of Mines, now preserved as part of our mining heritage

Llechwedd Slate Caverns, North Wales
A mining experience complete with an underground train tou, zip wires and more

Poldark Mine, Cornwall
A tin mine rescued by enthusiasts from the receivers and today including an underground tour

Redcliffe Caves, Bristol
Fascinating tunnels cut into sandstone – if you have the opportunity to book a tour, operated by cavers, don't hesitate

St Clement’s Caves, Hastings
Ancient tunnels carved by man now presented as a 'smuggler's adventure' – it will appeal to kids

Snailbeach Lead Mine, Shropshire
Plenty of surface remains to discovery in this area where a local cave and mine society has done much to preserve our past

Temple Mine and Peak District Mining Museum, Peak District
An excellent mining museum set in Matlock Bath, complete with an associated mine

Williamson’s Tunnels, Liverpool
Tunnels (and more) built beneath Liverpool by men employed to keep them busy! A fascinating set of passages to explore and learn about

Woodhorn Colliery Museum, Northumberland
Colliery remains set in a country park with plenty of displays in the old buildings