The Caves of Nottingham

Useful Information

Image: The pub Ye olde Trip to Jerusalem.
Location: In the city centre of Nottingham.
Open: The Caves of Nottingham: Mon-Sat 10-17, Sun 11-17.
Brewhouse Yard The Museum Of Nottingham Life: Mar-Oct daily 10-16, Nov-Feb Sat-Thu 10-16, Closed 24-DEC - 01-JAN
Fee: The Caves of Nottingham: Adults GBP 4, Children GBP 3, Students GBP 3, Seniors GBP 3. [2003]
Brewhouse Yard The Museum Of Nottingham Life: weekdays free, weekends and Bank Holidays Adults GBP 1.50, Children GBP 0.80.
Classification: ExplainCellar sandstone
Light: electric
Guided tours: The Caves of Nottingham: D=40min.
Brewhouse Yard The Museum Of Nottingham Life: selfguided
Bibliography: Tony Waltham (1992): Sandstone Caves of Nottingham, Mercian Geologist 1992, 13(1)
Graham McEwan (1994): Crypts, Caves & Catacombs, Subterranea of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire,
S Baring Gould (1911): Cliff Castles and Cave Dwellings of Europe, 324 pp illus. This is the first book on Euroean troglodytes and covers, Nottingham, Shropshire, France, in fact most of Europe.
Address: The Caves of Nottingham, Drury Walk, Broad Marsh Centre, Nottingham NG1 7LS. Tel: +44-115-9241424, Fax: Fax +44-115-9241430
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Image: The outside of Castle Hill shows some holes. Some caves are hidden behind facades.


1189 Ye olde Trip to Jerusalem opened.
1250 Pillar Cave and Tannery built.
08-MAY-1941 caves used as air raid shelter.
AUG-1994 the Caves of Nottingham opened as a tourist attraction.
MAY-2003 reopening of The Caves of Nottingham after a renovation.
Summer 2004 The Caves of Nottingham will be closed while the overlying shopping centre is expanded.


Beneath the city centre of Nottingham, the soft Sherwood Sandstone allowed the digging of cellars, even with medieval technology. So in the last 750 years more than 400 caves where cut out. They were used as storerooms, factories, pub cellars (Ye olde Trip to Jerusalem), dwelling houses or air raid shelter. The city of Nottingham has recently been renamed City of Caves.

Most of the caves are personal property. Some of them were destroyed during several centuries of city development. But some caves are protected and can be visited as a tourist attraction. Still, the so called Caves of Nottingham are not the only possibility to see the caves.

Image: Inside the Museum Of Nottingham Life, exhibition about the usage of the caves as air raid shelter.
  1. The Caves of Nottingham
    This set of man-made caves was almost lost forever when the modern shopping centre was built. Thanks to local voluntary groups, the caves were saved and are now open to visitors. Despite the caves, several sights were made up, which makes this place a typical British attraction. Attractions included:
    • In Pillar Cave and Tannery the visitor sees Britain's only underground tannery. The room is called pillar cave, because of a characteristic central pillar. It is maybe the oldest cave dating back to 1250. A tannery operated here from AD 1500 to 1640.
    • Drury Hill was a narrow and winding cobbled street, which was demolished in 1968. This area of the cave shows how it looked like.
    • The Victorian Slum has a connection to the caves, as many of the caves were used as slum dwellings.
    • The Air Raid Shelter shows the youngest history of the caves, as they were used as shelters in World War II.
    • Sam Hancock's Caves show how this caves were used as beer cellars for pubs.
    Following the termination of the lease with Caves of Nottingham Ltd, it is now under the jurisdiction of the local Gallery of Justice Museum. A GBP 50,000 upgrade to the tourist attraction was undertaken in April 2003, followed by a grand reopening in May, with full-time interpreters wearing costumes representing an archaeologist, air raid warden and tanner.
  2. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
    This pub is called the oldest pub in Britain, as it claims to have been established in 1189 AD. We do not know if it is really that old, but it is definitely very impressive inside, as maybe half of the pub is located inside a cavern. But it is not the oldest pub in Britain, this is either the The Old Ferry Boat in St Ives, Cambridgeshire or Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans.
  3. Brewhouse Yard: The Museum Of Nottingham Life
    This museum is very impressive. Many aspects of Nottingham's daily life in the last hundred years are shown. The Brewhouse Yard was built at the rocks below the castle and used the caves behind to store beer from the brewery. Today an Air Raid Shelter exhibition shows many details about World War II.
  4. Mortimer's Hole
    This is a 100 metres long tunnel between The Trip and the castle. It is visited as a part of a castle tour. The tunnel is named after Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March (25-APR-1287 Wigmore, Herefordshire; 29-NOV-1330 in London). After leading a successful rebellion against Edward II, was for three years de facto ruler of England. In 1330, men loyal to Edward III used this tunnel to capture him. He was conveyed to the Tower in London, condemned without trial and ignominiously hanged at Tyburn.

The Caves of Nottingham Gallery