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.



The Isle of Wight’s Outdoor Classroom

(Supported by Ventnor Botanic Garden Friends’ Society)

The Garden of Eden with its Tree of Knowledge

could be considered to be the first Botanical Garden…

School Educational Visits to Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden is a fantastic, local learning resource for pupils of all ages and abilities. We offer a selection of self-guide and specialist-led activities that help build vital and transferable skills, encourage confidence and most importantly, make learning engaging and inspirational.

Grounded in the National Curriculum, our educational programmes cover a range of topics and are designed to link with specific areas of the Garden. This helps to make the planning and running of your day straightforward and simple as well as maximising the educational benefits this outdoor classroom has to offer.

Naturally, Ventnor Botanic Garden is the perfect place to study plants and the environment. Showcasing rare and interesting species from the Mediterranean regions of the world, the plants and trees at Ventnor Botanic Garden are presented as they would appear in their natural environment. Pupils and teachers can quite literally journey around the world by visiting the different areas of the Garden including the Mediterranean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The Tropical House even presents an authentic Rainforest environment and offers an unforgettable, multi sensory experience.

As well as all of this, cross-curricular opportunities include aspects of Science, Geography, English, Art & Photography, History, Education  for Sustainable Development, Citizenship and Multicultural issues.

The programmes we offer range from just a half day to a whole day’s visit whilst allowing the teacher/you, freedom to plan a full days programme either combining or extending programmes.

In addition we are delighted to offer talks and lectures to schools delivered by both, the Director, Mr. John Curtis and the Curator, Mr. Chris Kidd.

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