City of Caves

The City of Caves in Nottingham provides educational experiences and workshops for Key Stages 1 to 3 that tie in with the History, Geography and Science curriculum.

A trip to the City of Caves takes schools on an underground adventure to investigate the social history and geography of Nottingham, meanwhile linking with other curriculum based subjects such as Science and Drama.

The cave site is also home to a Medieval tannery, World War One air raid shelter, an old well and routes to Drury Hill.

School Travel Organiser takes a look into what lies beneath the streets of Nottingham and what educational and interactive activities the City of Caves has to offer.

Cave Detectives activity

During the Cave Detectives workshops, pupils will get the opportunity to explore the underground tunnels and learn about how they were used throughout different periods of history, and about the people who lived within them.

Classes will be divided into small groups and will be given worksheets in order to aid their examination of the caves and document the materials found in them. 

This workshop ties in with the History curriculum and schools studying materials in Science.

Pictured: Inside the caves

Cave Explorers activity

Visiting schools will be split into two groups as they make their way around the caves to explore the sandstone tunnels and gain an understanding of the purposes of the caves.

The activity also involves a mini-dig, based on real archaeology, in the Well Area, where pupils will be introduced to the different properties of sandstone.

Schools can then move on to the Medieval tannery where they can find out about the importance of leather in Medieval times through role play.

A World War One air raid shelter can be seen next on the itinerary, where pupils can experience the sights and sounds of an air raid.

Finally, pupils can venture out of the caves to Drury Hill which was one of the worst slums during the 19th century. Here schools can examine the remains of a Victorian home.

Nottingham Rocks activity 

The first part of the Nottingham Rocks session allows Key Stage 2 pupils to navigate their way through the caves using map skills to document their findings. This links to the Geography curriculum.

The second stage of the activity looks at rock formations.

Students will get to use real rocks to identify their properties and learn how they fit in with the rock cycle.

This activity covers various topics including locational knowledge, geology and earth science.

Creating Caves activity

This activity is designed for on Key Stage 3 pupils and teaches schools about the geography of cave settlements whilst including the history of Nottingham’s earliest settlement.

Groups will also get to discuss different geological time periods during this activity.

History of The City of Caves

The City of Caves dates back to the Dark Ages and is part of a 500 cave complex.

The area was originally known as Tiggua Cobaucc or ‘Place of Caves’.

The ancient caves are believed to have been primarily used for housing during the 11th century.

In 1845, the St Mary’s Enclosure Act banned poor people living in cellars and caves, however it is believed that despite this the poor still lived in the caves underneath Nottingham. 

For more information visit or phone 0115 9939 811.