Nottingham Castle Caves
Beneath Nottingham Castle a labyrinth of manmade caves and tunnels continue to tell the turbulent story of this historic site. Enjoy a memorable tour discovering the secret passageways, King David’s legendary dungeon, the Duke of Newcastle’s Wine Cellar or Mortimer’s Hole.
With some of the caves dating back to medieval times, the tour is strenuous with over 300 steep steps. However, for those who wish to descend through hundreds of years of history the tour is a must.
The famous tunnel known as Mortimer’s Hole is carved into the sandstone outcrop on which the Castle stands. The passage way is eerie enough but is made all the more so by the reputed presence of the ghost of Sir Roger Mortimer himself.
Mortimer, the Earl of March and lover of Queen Isabella, was her accomplice in the murder of Edward II. On the night of 19 October 1330 the Queen and her lover Mortimer were staying at Nottingham Castle. Seeking to bring his father’s killer to justice and expose his feckless mother, the young King Edward III entered a network of secret tunnels that led ultimately into the Castle itself.
With a band of loyal supporters the King burst into his mother’s bedroom and surprised the lovers. Edward himself is said to have seized Mortimer. The now doomed monarch killer was led away, so legend has it, to Isabella’s mournful cries of “Fair son, have pity on the gentle Mortimer.”
Sir Roger was imprisoned in the Castle, taken to London and executed as a traitor. He was hung, drawn and quartered on the 29 November 1330 and his wretched remains skewered on spikes and left to rot on traitors gate at ‘Tyburn’.
The tunnel that led to Sir Roger’s downfall then became known as ‘Mortimer’s Hole’ and is so to this day.
Our guided cave tours run at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm every day we are open. Tours are priced at £5 per person [under 5s free]. Tour admission prices are in addition to the normal admission fee to Nottingham Castle.
Please be aware that the tour is strenuous with LOTS of steep steps.
Please note: places on our cave tours are allocated on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability and weather conditions. No advance bookings are taken. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before the tour is due to leave.
Please call 0115 876 1400 for confirmation of the latest tour times and dates prior to your visit to avoid disappointment.
We also run special evening tours throughout the year. Please see our Whats On page to find more details.