Our regular Tunnel Tours are currently postponed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
A family Destination
A Garden perfect for discovery and adventure! With a giant colouring wall, children’s playground, Lizard Safari Trails and Nature Hunts, kids can relax, have fun and won’t even realise they’re learning whilst mums and dads can take a stroll and enjoy the peace and serenity of each location. Take comfort in the food served in both our Plantation Room Café and edulis Restaurant, using simply fresh, local, healthy ingredients with no fryers or microwaves around! The views from our Plantation Room Café are out of this world and there are plenty of perfect picnic spots throughout the Garden too.
Let’s go on an expedition!
Head outside and let the kids pretend they’re one of history’s greatest explorers as you explore areas of the Garden laid out to represent different countries and continents of the world; from Australia to Japan and many more exotic places in between.
Discover our champion trees and secret spots with garden trails available to follow and get off the beaten track – there is no need to keep off the grass at Ventnor Botanic Garden! Learn about our Garden history with Tunnel Tours and our Heritage Centre, as well as Mushroom Chamber Tours to show you where our tasty fungi grow in the dark! Why not bring your own games too? With 22 acres available, we have the ideal space for hide and seek, throwing, jumping, skipping and running!