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.


Hiring the Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden has played host to a wide variety of events and celebrations from car rallies to masquerade balls, outdoor cinema showings to teddy bear’s picnics. Let your imagination run wild and be inspired by the sub-tropical and very varied nature of the Garden.

Each area of the Garden has its own distinct atmosphere to suit different types of events. The Palm Garden is perfect for cocktail parties and those alike; the lawn of the New Zealand Garden is ideal for large marquee events as it is surrounded by trees creating a natural enclosure; the top lawn has easy access from the car park and is easy for guests to find; the meadow has a wilder ‘back to nature’ feel that lends itself perfectly to wellbeing events and lessons.

For more information and booking enquiries email, or call 01983 858048.



Contact us

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