My husband and I visited the caves in October this year for the first time as we are interested in caves, ghosts and WWII.
The attraction is well sign-posted and there is ample car parking. The building houses the entrance to the caves, a small gift shop and a cafe. The tours are run on the hour from 10:00-16:00 and last approximately 45-50 minutes. Ours lasted nearer 70 minutes but you don't notice how long it's taking because it's so enjoyable!
The website and literature states that the cave experience is not suitable for those with a fear of the dark or who are of a nervous disposition. There was a very young child on our tour (3-4 years old?) and he was fine - very well behaved and didn't look scared at any point. However, those with claustrophobia may not enjoy the experience as you go quite far into the cave system. The caves are very dark, lit only by the guide's torch and your oil lamp. Wear suitable footwear as some of the floor is a bit uneven. You will walk approximately one mile on your tour.
Our guide was quite funny and made the tour interesting but we did feel that he didn't dwell for long on many of the points and it would have been nice to hear a bit more detail on each stop.
Also, only the guide is allowed to use a torch so some of the artifacts and writing weren't visible to us or visible for very long as he flicked it around quite quickly. There were a lot of things on the walls that we would have liked to have seen but we didn't as visitors are not allowed to take torches in and the oil lamps do not provide enough light to read or see very well by.
One other point to mention is that my husband was told that he couldn't use his camera in the caves unless there was 'natural' light there already due to the flash blinding people. The guide did say that if there was anything we wanted to photograph, let him know and he would shine the torch on it. However we didn't want to interrupt the tour too much by doing this so left without many visual records of our visit, which is a shame.
You exit your tour back where you started - in the gift shop and cafe area. The gift shop is basically a few shelves of souvenirs and guide books which you cannot browse around yourself - you have to ask a member of staff to serve you as everything is behind the counter.
The food in the cafe was absolutely excellent and very good value. We live about 2 hours away from the caves but my husband said that if we lived nearer, he would like to go back there just for lunch!
Overall these caves are well worth a visit as the history and stories behind them are great to listen to. However please could the management take on board that it really would enhance the experience if visitors were allowed to use torches to take in more of their surroundings themselves. Every other cave system that we have been in has allowed this and while I appreciate that Chislehurst Caves are not as well lit as other caves, surely adults can be trusted not to shine torches in people's eyes?
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