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Beer Quarry Caves

beer quarry

Journey Into the Cliffs at Beer Quarry Caves

Carved from the white cliffs of Beer on Devon’s Jurassic Coast, Beer Quarry Caves is a fascinating man-made labyrinth of underground chambers and passages dating back over 2000 years. Donning hard hats to descend into the darkness, you’ll gain insight into the quarrymen’s skill and toil as Beer stone was hewn to build grand structures across England.

From seeing chisel marks of Roman miners to admiring later carvings, a visit to these ancient caves transports you back through generations who crafted something magical from solid stone. Here’s everything you need to plan a subterranean day of discovery at Beer Quarry Caves.

beer quarry caves entrance

Getting There

Beer Quarry Caves are located right in the centre of Beer village on the East Devon coast, known as the ‘toilet of England’ for its chalky white cliffs! Well-signed from the main roads, there’s a large pay and display car park beside the Caves.

By Car

Drivers can take the A3052 towards Sidmouth, turning off to Beer village. Or from the west, follow the A35 and A3052 from Exeter towards Beer.

On Foot

On foot, the South West Coast Path connects to Beer, either from Seaton or Branscombe for scenic 6-8 mile hikes.

Opening Times and Prices

Beer Quarry Caves are open daily from 10am – 4pm in summer, reducing to weekends in winter. Tour times are:

  • April – September: 10:30am – 3:30pm
  • October – March: 11:30am & 2:30pm

Admission:

  • Adults £11
  • Children (5-16) £9
  • Over 65 £9
  • Under 5s free
  • Family (2A + 3C) £35

Tours last around an hour. Book online to guarantee spots at busier times.

beer caves

History and Guided Tours

Knowledgeable guides lead you 70ft underground on 40 minute tours to showcase Beer’s fascinating quarrying history spanning over 2000 years.

Hand-held lanterns help illuminate the dripping caverns as you learn how tools and techniques evolved through Roman and Medieval times to industrial mining. Look out for rare carvings and graffiti left by quarry workers across the generations.

It’s an immersive journey into this highly sought workforce supporting an entire village community.

tour of beer quarry caves

Subterranean Highlights

Prepare to be amazed wandering almost a mile into the extensive underground network on the standard tour. Key sights include:

  • Huge caverns pillared and arched over time to prevent collapse. Listen as drips echo!
  • Seams showing pick work from Roman miner’s small hand tools.
  • Channels directing rain drainage water away to prevent flooding.
  • Carvings created by 18th-19th century quarry workers like the magnificent arches.
  • The Mirror Chamber reflecting lantern light to amplify illumination underground.
  • The impressive Waterloo Chamber commemorating victory in 1815.

It’s a truly atmospheric experience surrounded by the handiwork of quarrymen through millennia.

Extended Tours

For a more immersive experience, extended tours allow extra time appreciating Beer’s underground marvels:

  • Connoisseur Tour (£20) – 90 minute small group tours exploring deeper into ancient roman mineshafts.
  • Wild Caving (£30pp) – 2 hour thrilling scrambling and climbing trips through unlit caverns. Headtorches provided!

These tailored experiences are perfect for geology and history lovers wanting to fully embrace Beer’s subterranean grandeur. Hands getting dirty encouraged!

Visitor Centre Exhibitions

Back at surface level, the Visitor Centre unpacks more of Beer Quarry Caves’ legacy:

  • Examples of ornate Beer Stone carvings adorning famous structures like St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Glimpses into harsh quarry working conditions faced across the centuries.
  • Archive photos documenting the quarrymen’s lives powering local industry.
  • Interactive exhibits and crafts bringing Beer’s quarrying history to life.

Don’t miss the gift shop stocking geological souvenirs from decorative stone to fossilled ammonites found nearby. A great place to get some interesting items.

Accessibility Considerations

With unpaved and uneven passages, the caves do require a good level of mobility. Sections involve steep inclines, steps, low headroom and restricted space. Contact the attraction regarding access needs.

Sturdy footwear with grip and warm layers are recommended as it remains cool year-round underground. Small children must be closely supervised throughout the dark chambers.

By shedding light on the generations crafting incredible works from the cliffs beneath Beer village, a visit to Beer Quarry Caves is an illuminating adventure back through time deep within Devon’s coastal caves.

internal caves

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed in the Beer Quarry Caves? – No, it is not an appropriate place for dogs.

Do I need to bring my own torch? – No need to bring your own, because the caves are lit and in the areas where they are not, torches are provided.

Do I need to wear anything special? – You ought to wear something warm, because the caves get pretty chilly, even if it is hot outside.

Nearby Attractions

After you have seen the caves, here are some other places to explore nearby:

  • Honiton Lace Museum – Museum in Honiton dedicated to the intricate handmade Honiton lace. Learn about its history and see demonstrations.
  • A La Ronde – Unusual 18th century 16-sided house in Exmouth housing a fascinating collection of shells and feather artworks. Offers an intriguing glimpse into Regency living.
  • Sidmouth Museum – Charming local museum housed in a historic building detailing Sidmouth’s growth from a fishing village into a popular seaside resort.
  • Pecorama – Quirky miniature world near Beer with model railways, gardens and exhibitions. Ride the narrow gauge railway for scenic views.
  • Otterton Mill – Historic working flour mill with craft shops, gallery, and restaurants. Picturesque setting perfect for a relaxing meal or coffee.
  • Donkey Sanctuary – Charity sanctuary in Sidmouth where you can meet the rescued donkeys and learn about their care. Family friendly attraction.
  • Bicton Park Botanical Gardens – Stunning ornamental gardens laid out in the 18th century, with glasshouses, woodland walks, railway and play area.
  • Crealy Adventure Park – Top family adventure park near Exeter with over 60 rides and attractions including animals, rollercoasters and water fun.
  • Seaton Tramway – Nostalgic narrow-gauge tramway from Seaton to Colyton through the Axe Valley countryside. Hop on for beautiful valley views.

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