We’re currently staying in the Peak District for October half term and today we paid a visit to the Blue John Cavern, near Castleton in Hope Valley.
The Blue John Cavern is home to Blue-Stone Stone, a beautiful purple and yellow mineral that has been mined in the Cavern for many centuries and continues to be mined in the Cavern during the winter months.
Oscar is quite into his stones and minerals, so we knew that he’d love visiting the Cavern.
We followed the signs from Castleton to the Cavern, which is well signposted. We parked on the adjacent road, which was quite busy, although we didn’t struggle to find a space.
When we arrived I was quite surprised how small the entrance to the Cavern was. All that’s really there is a small shop and takeaway cafe in an old building. We went in and enquired when the next tour was. During busy times (such as half term), they run approx every 20 minutes. It’s quite informal, so as long as there are enough people wanted to go they will run one.
We had to wait 15 minutes for the next tour. When purchasing our tickets lovely lady let us purchase a family ticket for the five of us (it’s usually for two adults, two children), which was £32.
We were then introduced to our tour guide, Brian, who also works as a miner in the Cavern. He was great and very knowledgable.
I was a little anxious before we went down as I do have a tendency to suffer from claustrophobia and I was worried that I might panic being so far underground, but apart from the first bit, which is quite narrow, I was fine. Once inside the Caverns are actually quite spacious.
There are various Caverns to explore, so you go down a few steps and then your tour guide provides you with some information and you get the chance to ask questions, takes photo’s etc. before you then head down more steps to the next Cavern.
On the tour we saw a variety of Caverns, which were quite awe inspiring and we found the whole tour really interesting. Oscar asked loads of questions and found it fascinating. The tour guide answered all the kid’s questions and really knew his stuff.
On the way back out, we were also shown loads of fossils embedding into the rocks. The kids loved spotting them.
Overall we all really enjoyed the tour, I was worried whether it would be suitable for the twins but it was fine. It was slippy in places so shoes with a decent tread are a must. The twins are five and were fine with waling up and down the steps (there are over 200), but I think kids younger than 3 would probably struggle. Those with mobility issues would also find it tricky.
Before we left, the kids all had a souvenir from the shop. Oscar had a piece of Blue John to add to his collection, which made his day.
We had a lovely afternoon and I’d highly recommend a visit to Blue John Cavern. It’s situated on the National Trust’s Mam Tor Circular Walk, so you could always add it on as part of your walk. The tour takes approximately an hour.
Blue John Cavern, Mam Tor, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 8WA
T. 01433 620638