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.


What’s new

The Garden is constantly evolving with areas being developed, added and renewed all year round.

The Australian Terraces

Along the man-made Australian Terraces a new aborigine-inspired piece of art – ‘The Dream Time Boulder’ is being created by Artecology Ltd. Read more

The Japanese Garden

A project which was started 15 years ago, the Japanese Garden is under-going redevelopment bringing to life the dream of it’s original creator Simon Goodenough. Read more

Around the Garden

No two days, let alone months are ever the same at Ventnor Botanic Garden and with such a rich diversity of flora from around the world it can be hard to know when to time your visit. So we’ve pulled together some of our Garden Highlights and also a guide to What’s Flowering Now so that you can plan ahead and not miss out.

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