Tel: 01983 855397

The Tunnel

Our regular Tunnel Tours are currently postponed. Please email if you'd like to enquire about a private tour.

Ventnor Botanic Garden has many secrets, some dating back to the days of the Royal National Hospital that formerly stood on the site. Underground caverns, secret passageways and a tunnel through the cliff can be found by the visitors to the Garden.

A proposal to dig a tunnel from the gardens down to the shore was mooted in the late 1800s.  The Royal National Hospital annual report for 1875 states that “There can be no doubt that if the patients were able to obtain free access to the shore it would be very conducive alike to their recovery and their enjoyment.” Money for the tunnel at that time was not forthcoming and although it was built later, its function was by no means the rather romantic conception that has given rise to a good deal of speculation and comment; it was in fact used as a conduit for rubbish that was propelled through it and dumped into the sea. Steel tramlines are still visible on the floor. Exactly when the tunnel was built is unknown; possibly it was in relation to a new system of drainage and sewage disposal that was completed sometime in the 1880s. The tunnel was closed at both ends in 1940.

The 350 foot long vaulted roofed tunnel exits through the cliff midway down and is inaccessible. DO NOT attempt to locate the exit, or try to enter unless with one of our guides, as the cliff is extremely dangerous. Bolted gates are also in place for safety.


50 Years a Garden


This year, 2022 – We celebrate the 50 years of Garden history, here at Ventnor Botanic Garden. Opening in June 1997 the gardens here turned this once hospital site into an open place for all to enjoy.


– Hospital beds to Flower beds –


During the week from the 18th to the 25th of June 2022, we will hold a week of celebration to commemorate this fantastic 50-year history. We look forward to sharing the wonders of Ventnor Botanic Garden with you all. But what can you expect from the week-long celebration?

  • Exclusive tours and talks from our Curator, new Head Gardener, and our new Head Chef!
  • The launch of our new, VBG ‘Fast Forest’
  • Open days for local schools.
  • Family days with fantastic entertainment for the kids.

…Plus, so much more!

Because our local community is important to us, we’re also looking forward to hosting, not one but two of our popular Donation Days during the celebration week as well! These donation days allow us to open the grounds with no admission fees, simply a donation for your visit.


Keep an eye out for Sapphire Community Dance groups from Ventnor and Newport who will be displaying several dance performances for our guests on Monday the 20th and Thursday the 23rd. Find them on the Lower Lawn from 14:00 and then again 14:40 on both days.


Join us for our three charity events… These ticketed events provide a deep-dive into our expert team here at Ventnor Botanic Garden. From a lunch with our Head Chef, to a tour, talk and lunch with our Curator, Chris Kidd. We also invite special guests for a Ukraine fundraising event to end our week. All profits from these three events will be donated to the Ukraine Appeal. Book for each event, below.


BBQ in the Garden…


Join us on Saturday the 25th of June for a BBQ in the Garden… This fantastic event welcomes the whole family to ‘our’ Garden for a BBQ in the sun. With hot and cold BBQ classics, including plant-based and Gluten-free options, this evening BBQ is the perfect excuse for the whole family to get outdoors. The evening runs from 17:00 – 21:00 with live music from 18:30 to 20:30.

Booking is advised, please email – to book your place.


What’s on the menu for our Summer BBQ?

Choose from a selection of BBQ classics, burgers, sausages and skewers – Meat, veggie and vegan options are available. You’ll then be able to select your perfect add-ons from our BBQ Buffet, self-serve area.

BBQ Classics – £3.50 each or 3 for £10.00.
BBQ Buffet – top your plate up with extras, for just £5.00.

(Menu to come soon!)

Choose just a burger or fill your plate for your perfect BBQ meal – Great for all the family!


A dark contrasting image of a lilly against a black background with text informing viewers of the 50th anniversary event. Also displayed is 3 small images of the old hospital and the gardens in the early days.
As a part of our celebration week, we are opening up the Garden to local schools from across the Isle of Wight for a free open-day. So, if you are a teacher who would love to visit Ventnor Botanic Garden with your students – Tuesday the 21st of June is the perfect oppotunity to do exactly that!

Contact our team to book your free visit today – Email

A coach becomes the foundations for a cliff face within the garden.
A black and white image showing the Palm Garden in its early days.
An old image of the Hospital that once stood on the grounds here at Ventnor Botanic Garden

The History of Ventnor Botanic Garden

This 50 year history of a Garden, everchanging and evolving, used as a beacon for climate change and a place for healing… Ventnor Botanic Garden has a varied history, a journey with twists and turns. View our timeline below for a more indepth view of the Garden’s history.

A black and white image showing the Palm Garden in its early days.
50th Anniversary timeline

Contact us

Refund Policy

Tel: 01983 855397  |  Ventnor Botanic Garden Community Company C.I.C  | Company Number: 07976468 | Registered Address: Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1UL