Margate Caves, The Enigmatic Vortigern Chalk Cavern in Thanet

Welcome to our Margate Caves page, also known as The Vortigern Cave. If you've visited this or similar attractions in the Thanet area we'd like to hear from you. Our feedback information is at the bottom of the page. For more places to visit in and around Kent check out our Discover Kent page.

At the outset we should draw your attention to the Save Margate Caves campaign. Their aim is to:

"The Friends of Margate Caves campaign group was created in early 2011. Its aim is to see the caves re-opened as a tourist attraction and to prevent development on the site that would prevent such use."

They have a vision to see:

“Margate Caves, equipped with a Visitor and Interpretive Centre, will become a 21st-century visitor experience, which will play a key role in Margate’s tourism offer. It will explore the Caves’ cultural heritage as well as the area’s rich geological assets and unique coastline, giving visitors an insight into the natural world around us. It will be a source of education, fascination and fun.”

The History Of The Caves

The caves were discovered by a gardener working in the grounds of Northumberland House in about 1798. At that time a private access way was created and the caves were enjoyed by people using the entrance. It's thought that the murals visible today in the caves originate from this time.

Around the start of WWI Northumberland House had become a vicarage and a new entrance to the caves was created in a cellar of the building, this remained as the way in up to the time the caves were closed to the public.

The name Vortigern Caves stems from the local King Vortigern, who is supposed to have given Thanet to the Saxons as a reward for their support in local conflicts. We're unable to find details of an firm connection between the caves and King Vortigen, the exact age of the caves and the identity of the people who created them.

Location And Contact

  • Northdown Road, near the War Memorial, Margate, Kent

Feedback & Disclaimer

We welcome your feedback about the caves, they're not currently open but we're happy to hear about your previous experiences and views about the plans to preserve them. email your thoughts to

Please refer to our disclaimer, Yourcounty does not have any responsibility for the content of external websites.