There is one thing they are not short of in Derbyshire and that is caves. There’s 4 close to Castleton in the Hope Valley alone. We visited three of the four during our
The first cave we visited during our stay was Speedwell Cavern. It is just a short walk (approximately 15 to 20 minutes) from the village of Castleton. You can also drive and park there. But it’s far more fun to walk as the views are stunning and you can’t appreciate them anywhere near as much from a car. You might even encounter some sheep along the way.
There is a public footpath that runs from Castleton to Speedwell
Review of Speedwell Cavern, Castleton
First off this cavern really should only be visited by children that are confident walkers. There are 105 steps down to this underground and
Tours run every 20 minutes and the queue can build up really fast so if you are visiting with children it may be to your benefit to arrive for the first tour of the day. Each boat accommodates 21 people and you will soon realise, once you are down there, why the tours run every 20 minutes and not all the time.
Once you have your tickets you are counted in as a group of 21 and you are all handed a hard hat. The cave ceiling is not only low on the walk down but also incredibly low in most places when you are on the boat.
Once you have descended the steps you will arrive at your boat. It is quite a squeeze so be prepared to share your space. Luckily we all managed to sit on a bench together but others weren’t so lucky. You then enter the incredibly narrow main tunnel. The boat knocks and grinds along the cavern and it’s such an incredibly small space. It’s hard to image the people working down there 200 years ago.
As you reach halfway this is where you may pass the other boat on a different timed tour to yourselves. The tour guide on our boat was very good and he really set the scene for what life must have been like for the workers all those years ago. Even very small children used to work down there.
You eventually reach the end of the line and you have to clamber off the boat and into a relatively small but open cavern (see photos above). Here you will most likely get dripped on! There is a talk about the cavern and you have to wait around in relative darkness for a returning boat. The boats have to run like clockwork or else they will m
It was hard to take any sort of decent photos down there so please excuse the quality of my photos.
You can purchase tickets online in advance. There is also an option to purchase tickets on the first 3
If you want to pre-book on a tour on a given time and date you can also do this online in advance. This not only gives you a good discount (£9.60 for an adult ticket and £8.00 for a child) but it also guarantees you won’t have to queue unsure of which boat you will get on.
There is a small shop on site which sells souvenirs, snacks and hot and cold drinks. There is a public toilet in the car park. I believe you have to pay to park.
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