Excavation due to start at the Margate Caves site – and volunteers are needed

How the Margate Caves will look

Work to reopen the Margate Caves takes another step next week with the start of the archaeological dig.

Thanet District Council granted the Margate Caves Community Education Trust a long lease for the historic Northdown Road site last September.

The lease meant the Trust could access a £1m grant  gained from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year alongside the £420,000 granted by the Big Lottery Fund in 2016 for work to get the Caves open.

Following a six-year campaign, The Margate Caves Community Education Trust secured the funding to create a landmark building that includes community facilities such as a cafe, alongside a visitor centre that will provide access to the restored Caves, which were closed in 2004.

In November 2013 The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) was formed and registered with the Charity Commission.

The building, designed by award-winning architects Kaner Olette, received planning permission in 2015.

By 2016, TMCCET had prepared full plans to make the Caves safe again, build a new visitor centre with community rooms, and landscape the site over the caves.

Excavation starts on the site tomorrow (February 5) and SWAT Archaeology is looking for volunteers to assist with the dig and post-excavation process.

Two trenches will be opened above ground and volunteers can just turn up. The work will take place between 10am-4pm.

SWAT will supply some trowels, buckets and kneelers for people that do not have their own – but if people have any of that kit they are asked to bring it along. It is anticipated the dig will last around 10 days including weekends.

Please contact SWAT Archaeology on 01795 532548 or email [email protected] for details.

The Caves are due to open next year.

Find out more on the Margate Caves facebook page here

Find the Caves website here


  1. Much as I think this is great I do worry about where people are going to park. Parking is already a nightmare for residents in this area.

  2. Some of the tourist attraction I have seen: Dambulla Caves, Sigiriya Rock and 2 natural parks, Minneriya & Wilpattu. Dambulla Caves is generously presented as a caves “complex” when, to be honest, you can say that are some beautifully decorated rooms.

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