Curious caves

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Some of these caves are so well hidden that you have to walk through waterfalls to get to them. Others only appear at low tide and one cave in Yorkshire is said to be home to the queen of the fairies. Whichever cave you decide to visit there are many adventures to be had en route.

* At low tide the cave can be found tucked under the southern cliffs of Kelsey Head, at Holywell in Cornwall. From the beach it appears a mere slit, but some steps lead up to several stepped pools ascending towards a hole in the cave roof. Take care on the steps, which are covered with slimy green weed. Please make sure you check the tide times before you go and take someone with you.

* To explore the caverns at Lydstep cliffs, in Pembrokeshire, bear right where you leave Lydstep Head car park and go down the 100 steps to the beach. Please keep in mind that the caverns are only accessible at low tide.

* On the main footpath at Ilam Park, in Derbyshire, you can see boil holes. These strange caves are openings in the ground, down which two rivers can be seen bubbling and 'boiling'. The River Manifold and it's tributary, the River Hamps, both flow largely underground. Rumour has it that in Victorian times one of the boil holes was used as a bath. Ask at our visitor reception for more detailed directions.

* Climb up from the main footpath, running through Dovedale in Debyshire, to reach Reynard's Cave. This dramatic site is thought to have been used during pre-historic times and, more recently, has been named after a highwayman who lived in it.

* Quarry Bank Garden, in Cheshire, is home to a cave with a rich history. It was once home to a family, who used gorse bushes to fill up the front and keep out the cold. Before that a hermit lived there. You can see several shelves still cut into the rock. In later years the cave was used to house owls.


Caves behind waterfalls

* The secret’s out. Batman’s lair is in Powys. It can be found behind an 88ft (27m) waterfall, called Henrhyd Falls. In The Dark Knight Rises Batman disappears behind the falls to enter his hideout. Amazingly this isn’t a camera trick. Brave visitors can walk through the curtain of white water and discover a place where darkness glistens, light sparkles and water thunders down.

* The secret cave, hidden behind this waterfall in the Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire, is tantalisingly out of reach. Follow the diversion off the Pennine Way to discover the magical waterfall and the cave that is said to be home to Janet, Queen of the Fairies.


Man-made caves

* The Rock Houses, in Staffordshire, are not built in natural caves, but were first carved out by people in the 18th-century; you can still see the chip-marks on the walls. With real fires and tunnels connecting rooms this is a snug place to escape to on wet and windy days and and a real departure from traditional stately homes.

* Stourhead’s grotto, in Wiltshire, is a circular, domed chamber built to resemble a cave. Even on the hottest of days it's always cool here.

Croome's grotto, in Worcestershire, can be found by the lakeside.

* Claremont Landscape Gardens, in Surrey, are home to a grotto and many other curious follies.

* Water cascades inside the grotto at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.

* Join a tour to venture into the underground world of tunnels and caves at Dolaucothi Gold Mine, Carmarthenshire.

 

More ideas for family days out
Uncover more top-secret places for curious children.