Shell Grotto in Kent

This item appears on page 77 of the February 2012 issue.

Discovered in 1835 in Kent, England, the Shell Grotto (Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent, CT9 2BU, U.K.; phone 08143 220008) is a 70-foot-long subterranean passageway whose walls and ceiling are covered with mosaics made of seashells, at least 4.6 million of them. When was it created? By whom? And why? It remains a mystery.

Five minutes’ walk from Margate’s seafront (20 minutes from Margate Station), the grotto is open 10-5 daily from Good Friday to Halloween and 11-4 weekends only from Nov. 1 to Palm Sunday. Closed Dec. 25 & Jan. 1. £3 (near $5) adult, £2.50 senior or student, £8 family.