An underground chamber only occasionally open to the public is about to have its first ever opening during the winter months.
Pope’s Grotto, built by, unsurprisingly, Alexander Pope is the last remaining part of his villa, which he built in 1720 on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham.
In its time, the Grotto was an object both of admiration and envy, inspiring imitation throughout England. Even today, in its shabby condition, it draws students and enthusiasts from all over the world.
Above ground today is a local school, and the grotto underneath is maintained by a charity who open it twice a year to visitors.
For the first time ever, they will be opening the Grotto in winter: you can visit on the mornings of Saturdays 27th January, 17th February or 17th March from 10am to 12:30 pm (last entry noon).
To book tickets at £6 per person go here.
Tickets are untimed and you will be able explore the Grotto in your own time.
Please note that space in the Grotto is limited and you may be asked to wait at peak times. The school’s café, with a terrace overlooking the river with views towards Twickenham and Teddington, will be open for refreshments. Books and postcards will be on sale.
The Grotto is in Radnor House School and is reached by a staircase (unsuitable for disabled or infirm visitors).
The next public openings will be in June 2018.