I took the girls to Chislehurst Caves this afternoon. I’d taken them before, but some years ago, and I was so pleased we went again. Although the caves are still in the same ownership – surprisingly a Kent-based mushroom grower! – the guides have changed a lot since I was shown around as a young boy with my Mum. Then, we all had to keep together, the guide held a lantern, and there were no photos allowed.
Today, the kids were given Hurricane lamps which added hugely to the atmosphere; the guide was relaxed about us taking photos; and he knew all the stories behind every twist and turn of the caves. He told us the history of the three areas of these incredible man-made caves, through the Druids, the Romans and the Saxons, dating back around three thousand years. During World War II the Caves became the largest air raid shelter in the UK, with thousand enjoying its protection from German bombers every night. Indeed, our guide told us of one woman who, whilst others stayed at night but went to work during the day, she stayed night and day for over two and a half years!
Chislehurst Caves are a mysterious and fascinating place to visit, and if you haven’t been, or if you have but not for years, why not make a visit? Go to http://www.chislehurstcaves.co.uk and find out when they’re open.