Visit Gough's Cave
Explore the hidden chambers
Enter the cave and meet Cheddar Man who once lived here. Duck into secret caves, see the ancient elders' meeting chamber and gasp at the incredible vistas created by stalagmites and stalactites. You'll be astounded by the soaring chambers of St Paul's Cathedral and the towering spires of Solomon's Temple.
Lighting enhances the natural beauty, creating illusions of other worlds and glacial landscapes. Look out for the Black Cat of Cheddar – a shadow cast by the light that looks like a cat wearing a bow tie.
Audio guides bring the cave to life (there's a special version for kids) telling the fascinating story of its Ice Age creation, Stone Age occupation and Victorian exploration.
Meet the cave dwellers
Our ancestors, the Horse Hunters of Cheddar Gorge, lived in Gough’s Cave 14,700 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age. Archaeological evidence suggests they were cannibals, killing and eating their enemies, migrants from mainland Europe.
Cheddar Man, a hunter-gatherer who lived around 9,000 years ago, was the oldest complete skeleton ever found in Britain. His odd behaviour, possibly due to brain damage from a blow to the head, caused his tribe to bury him in a twilight zone of the cave to prevent his spirit passing to the land of the ancestors.
Did you know?
- The formation of Gough's Cave began an incredible 500,000 years ago when water started dissolving the limestone rock.
- Around 250,000 years ago calcium enriched water began dripping through the cave roof, decorating the cave with an array of stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
- Cheddar cheese is still matured in Gough's Cave, just as it was 100 years ago, making it the only authentic cave-matured Cheddar cheese in the world.
Need to know
- The audio guide is included in the price of your ticket and you can choose how much detail you listen to. It's available in adults' and kids' versions, and in English, French and German.
- Gough's Cave contains steps, a steep gradient (1:10) and is wet underfoot so is unsuitable for wheelchair users.
- Transcripts and audio loop systems available for those with impaired sight and hearing.
- You can buy Cheddar cheese, matured for up to 12 months in Gough’s Cave, in our Cargo Cult shop.
- The original skeleton of Cheddar Man is being conserved in the Natural History Museum.
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"We loved our day so much, the students insisted we post you a review! Special thanks to Roy, who gave us such a lovely warm welcome. We enjoyed the friendly and informative talk on the bus tour given by Eszter, and Samantha was brilliant in Gough’s Cave."
East Surrey College