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“Hard to assess - how many shell grottos do you ever see?”
Review of The Shell Grotto

The Shell Grotto
Ranked #1 of 53 things to do in Margate
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Shell Grotto is one of the world’s most mysterious places: a series of underground rooms and passageways covered by 2000sqft of exquisite mosaic created with 4.6 million shells. Discovered in 1835, nobody knows who created it, when, or why. “The grotto is simultaneously haunting and homely. It could be a lost pagan shrine or have ‘A Present From Margate’ picked out in the shells - it wouldn’t matter. It’s still magical, mysterious and (once it’s in your head) impossible to forget.” Far From the Sodding Crowd: More Uncommonly British Days Out, Penguin Books, 2007
Australia
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Hard to assess - how many shell grottos do you ever see?”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

Some 15 years ago G read about this in a magazine and really wanted to go - but it's a long way from Australia and Margate is 90mins from London. Still, the time came and we got to Margate. C didn't have high expectations of the grotto or Margate so he wasn't disappointed - unlike G. Basically it is a casual walk to the middle of Margate and then another 10-15mins to explore the grotto. The grotto's shells are dark - stained from candle smoke and probably age - so it isn't visually exciting. Because of the lack of definite historical information about the grotto it is hard to assess the accuracy of the curatorial work. As far as I could see it is not wheel-chair accessible and probably not suitable for people with mobility problems.

Is it worth it? Well, if you happen to be in the area it is an enjoyable 20 mins and at the end of the day, how many shell grottos does anyone ever see? So, if you are going to visit any, Margate's is probably as good as others.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank ChrisandGardner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Warwick
Level 6 Contributor
185 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“I saw sea-shells”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

Sea-shells. Millions of them. An amazing display of some unknown artist or artists imagination.
No visit to Margate will be complete without experiencing the wonder of this mystery.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Peter K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
223 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 373 helpful votes
“How weird- if you are in Margate just go!!”
Reviewed September 23, 2013

Genuine one off- spooky and just fascinating, you don't need a lot of time though. Really worth a visit if you t
like a mystery!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank hobbesmanc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“Well worth a visit”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

We heard about the Shell Grotto before we came to Margate, but did not expect to be amazed, as we had visited some shell grottos before in Italy and Germany. The Shell Grotto in Margate really exceeded our expectations. First it has an added degree of mystery as no-one is certain who built it, when or for what purpose (there is a small museum which explains the various theories from the Romans to Venetians). It is really quite authentic and unique in its own way, as the shells that have been used are not precious or beautiful individually, but are just normal local shells, such as mussel shells. The genius is in the work of the creators, who put them together and create the endlessly imaginative patterns on the walls. It is definitely a place well worth a visit.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank JSim38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Strange little gem”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

Funny little place but completely fascinating - why was it ever built? Wonderful sight even though it's a curiosity

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank 441ashley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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