Ramsgate Tunnels' Explorer Tours take you underground to unlock the story of a hidden underground city, which evolved from the largest and only known Civilian Deep Shelter Air-Raid-Precaution scheme authorised by Central Government.
After heavy bombing raids during WW1, and realizing that the town's existing air raid shelters would be inadequate in future conflicts, Ramsgate's inventive Borough Engineer had been working to develop an underground shelter system since 1936. By 1939, after several rejections by Central Government on cost and policy grounds, Ramsgate’s Borough Council and flamboyant 'Top Hat' Mayor managed to secure Home Office approval to adopt the scheme. Ramsgate's inhabitants would be protected by excavating 2½ miles of deep shelter tunnels.
Tours bring to life this most important part of Ramsgate’s history. As the town above was devastated by aerial bombing, inhabitants took up residence in the tunnels, and in 1940, over 300 families were living permanently in the evolving underground city.
In addition to guided tours, visitors can listen to recorded histories, discover more through touch screens, or relax at the Tunnel Teas Cafe.
* The floor surface is uneven and stony, and contains chalk dust. The atmosphere is cool and damp, at an average 11 degrees celsius, so appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn. The length of the tour is over an hour and covers approximately ¾ of a mile.*
The free-to-enter Tunnel Museum and Home Front Collection is also open within the Tunnels. It includes displays ranging from Ramsgate's part in WW1, through the construction and use of the Tunnels, to their eventual closure, dereliction and re-opening. It also displays part of the Tunnels' collection of Home Front memorabilia.
* Winner of Pride in Thanet Tourism Award 'Attraction Employee of the Year' 2016 *
There is both level (dropped-kerb) and gently sloped (concrete) wheelchair access to the entrance and along tunnels, but the ground is stony and uneven. For up to date information on accessibility please read the Accessibility Statement on the website. One Wheelchair & one Beach Wheelchair are available for use. Flat shoes must be worn; wheelchairs and pushchairs may be difficult to operate. Please telephone in advance if you wish to book a wheelchair for your tour.
The Tunnel Tours have low lighting and parts are unlit although personal lighting is issued. There are no rest seats available during the tour although ‘shooting sticks’ may be available to borrow. The atmosphere is cool and damp, at an average 11 degrees celsius. The length of the tour is over an hour and covers approximately ¾ of a mile. Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn.
Assistance Dogs are welcome.
Free entry for carers with Carer’s Card.
The nearest accessible parking, public pay and display, is less than 100m away, adjacent to the Ramsgate Tunnels' entrance.
Accessible toilets are situated less than 100m away, at the Bathing Station Kiosk, Marina Esplanade (beach side), or at East Pier Yard (CT11 8LP).
A 50p booking fee applies to Adult & Senior tickets to cover online charges
Please see website for tour availability, how to book and any restrictions