As the second World War approached, Ramsgate Borough Council embarked on ambitious but controversial plans to create a network of Deep Shelter tunnels linking to a former Railway Tunnel which would provide shelter for 60,000 people. Despite initial resistance from government the plan was finally given the go ahead and the network was formally opened by The Duke of Kent on 1st June 1939.
Stories of life in the tunnels abound; from the dark days of war when part of the system evolved into an underground city with over 1,000 permanent residents to the exploits of later urban explorers who couldn’t resist the temptation to explore the unique atmosphere of the “Wind Tunnels”.
75 years later the tunnels are again open to the public. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent very kindly agreed to reopen the tunnels with an official ceremony almost exactly 75 years after his father did in 1939. This ceremony took place on the 27th May 2014.
You can now explore the tunnels and experience how people sheltered and lived in the town below the town.
Tours are up to 1.25 kilometres and will last for approximately 1 hour. You will be accompanied by a guide throughout.
Hard hats must be worn and personal lighting must be carried in the Air Raid Tunnels. These will be provided at the start of your tour.
Sensible footwear is recommended, (flat shoes, boots). High heels are not permitted.
The tunnels are at a constant temperature of around 11 degrees Celsius; they may appear cold in summer but warm in winter
Children 3 - 7 years are admitted free at the discretion of the guides.
Pushchairs and wheelchairs may be difficult to operate and are admitted at the guide’s discretion.
Photography is only permitted in the lit areas of the system
With the exception of Guide Dogs, animals are not permitted in the tunnels