Wookey Hole Caves And Attractions: A Visitor’s Guide
Hidden deep in the heart of the Mendip Hills, the world-famous caves of Wookey Hole are the UK’s largest show caves system, and legendary home of the infamous Witch of Wookey Hole! With a ticket gaining you entrance to explore the network of breathtaking caverns, as well as over 20 other activities and attractions, a visit to Wookey Hole Caves and Attractions is a great day out, every witch way.
The UK’s Largest Show Caves, Just 20 Minutes (10 Miles) From The Ring O’ Bells
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore Wookey Holes Caves and Attractions, The Ring O’ Bells in the village of Compton Martin is just a 20 minute drive away. With 2 beautiful boutique bedrooms, a delicious food offering focused on hearty pub classics and plenty of award-winning Butcombe beer, you can dine, drink and stay.
Wookey Hole Caves History
The Witch of Wookey Hole wasn’t the first person to inhabit the caves.
Archaeologists’ findings indicate that man has lived in and around the caves for 50,000 years, with bones of tropical and Ice Age animals such as rhinoceros, bear, mammoth and lion, and flint tools all recovered from the site.
Various other ancient civilizations used the caves as well, including the Celtic people of the Iron Age, who explored deep into the caverns by burning animal fat in simple lamps, reaching the fourth chamber, which they used as a burial site.
The Witch's Kitchen Cave
A gnarled stalagmite that resides in the first chamber has come to be known as the Witch of Wookey Hole.
Legend has it that during the Dark Ages, there was a witch residing within the caves that cast spells and caused misfortunes for the local villagers. Eventually, the people sought the help of the Abbot at nearby Glastonbury Abbey, who delved into the caves and came across an underground river, which he blessed and splashed at the witch, immediately turning her into stone, forming the stalagmite seen today.
In 1912, an archaeologist named Herbert Balch excavated the 1000 year bones of a woman from the cave, which have been linked to the apparent witch!
Other Caves At Wookey Hole
The Wookey Hole Caves tour includes access to five additional chambers:
- Great Hall: As you may have guessed, the Great Hall is one of the tallest chambers in Wookey Hole. Soaring up over 70 feet high, it features stalactites and recently discovered witch markings!
- Witch’s Parlour: Carved out by a swirling whirlpool, this is the largest natural underground dome in the UK, over 200 feet below ground, and with 110,000 tonnes of rock overhead.
- Cathedral Chamber: The largest ‘rift’ chamber in Wookey Hole, it’s sheer height and red walls from iron oxide make for stunning views.
- Chamber 20: Very recently opened, 4,000 tonnes of rock were removed to unveil this beautiful cavern with its subterranean lake and breathtaking rock formations.
- Hyena’s Den: Archaeologists believe that the hyenas that gave this cave its name occupied the cave between 35,000 and 25,000 BC.
Thanks to their high humidity and constant year-round temperature, caves have historically been used as the perfect place to mature cheeses.
The cheese-makers at Ford Farms have revived this age-old tradition in the caves of Wookey Hole, carrying their cheddars two hundred feet underground by hand where they are left to take on the distinctive earthy and nutty flavours from the atmosphere.
The resulting Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar has won many awards – most recently a Gold Medal at the British Cheese Awards, and is available to sample and buy in the Wookey Hole Cave gift shop!
Wookey Hole Attractions
As well as the chance to explore the incredible caves, your ticket provides entrance to a number of other attractions including a game of Pirate Adventure Golf, a knee-knocking wander through Valley of the Dinosaurs amongst more than 30 life-size animatronic beasts, a 30 ft tall model of King Kong, and a Mystic Fairy Garden.
You can also access a range of museums, including the Handmade Paper Mill, where you can have a go at making paper the Victorian way, as well as the Vintage Penny Arcade, where you can try your luck on the biggest collection of original machines in the country!
View the full list of attractions here.
Directions To The Ring O'Bells From Wookey Hole Caves
Located just a 20 minute drive from Wookey Hole Caves, The Ring O’ Bells in Compton Martin is the perfect place to dine, drink or stay after (or before) a busy day exploring the Mendip Hills.
To reach The Ring O’Bells from Wookey Hole Caves, you must head east on High Street towards School Hill before turning left onto Milton Lane and continuing onto Tynings Lane.
Turn left onto Old Bristol Road before turning left onto Gibbets Brow, which merges back onto Old Bristol Road and Gibbets Brow again, before merging back onto Old Bristol Road (It isn’t as confusing when driving as it sounds here!)
Continue onto Harptree Hill before turning left onto Compton Martin Road/The Street/A368. Continue for approximately half a mile and The Ring O’Bells will be on your left.