Ramsgate’s 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.
The military story is told elsewhere but very little remains of the civilian story of a front line town.
In 1939 Ramsgate’s flamboyant Top Hat Mayor resolved, against Government policy, to protect inhabitants with a scheme to produce 2½ miles of deep shelter tunnels. Plans were rejected several times before the “Mad Mayor” deployed his own brand of politics and the scheme was finally sanctioned.
Tunnel Explorer tours bring to life this most important part of Ramsgate’s history. As the town above was devastated, inhabitants took up residence in the tunnels. In 1940 over 300 families were living permanently in the evolving underground city. Guides will tell the story and bring it to life with residents’ anecdotes as they conduct tours around authentic stage sets in the original tunnels.
In addition to guided tours you’re free to browse in the unique atmosphere of a 150 year old railway tunnel, listen to oral histories, discover more about the tunnels through touch screens or just relax at the 'Tunnel Teas Cafe' serving delicious home-made cakes and a range of hot and cold snacks.
The Free-to-enter 'Tunnel Museum and Home Front Collection' is now open within the Tunnels, features displays ranging from Ramsgate's part in World War One, through the construction and use of the Tunnels, to the eventual closure, dereliction and reopening. It's also displays part of the Tunnels collection of Home Front memorabilia
Access: Uneven floors during tunnel tours. Wheelchairs permitted but may be difficult to operate. Cool, damp atmosphere 11 degrees celsius. Sturdy footwear recommended.
Please see the Ramsgate Tunnels website for seasonal opening times.