Discovered in 1835, the Shell Grotto is an astonishing find; 70 ft (21m) of winding passages decorated with 4.6 million shells - arranged as images and patterns including gods and goddesses, and trees of life made from the shells of whelks, mussels and oysters.
Some think it is an ancient Pagan grotto, others that it's simply an ornate Regency or Victorian folly; with no definitive explanation or history, the Shell Grotto is Kent's greatest mystery.
Due to the nature of the Grotto, it is not accessible to wheelchair users. The Grotto itself is located on a very steep road, and there is a step up from the street to enter the shop.
There are steps down to the Grotto from the shop entrance and the terrain inside the passage is uneven, sloped and narrow in places. There is also low lighting in the Grotto, so it can be quite dark at some points.
There is limited on-road parking on Grotto Hill, but this is very steep and narrow. The nearest Blue Badge parking is located at Trinity Square (CT9 1HT), approximately 480 metres from the Grotto, or College Square (CT9 1PR), approximately 600 metres away.
See also the Shell Grotto Social Story for Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Sensory Map, and full Access Statement here.