Famous Show Caverns
It is said that lead mining in Matlock Bath began in Roman times, as the ground was rich with lead and fluorite. As the years went on, the miners managed to excavate almost everything of value and mining in the area came to an end. The newly redundant lead miners needed to find new employment, fast! They found that they could make a lot more money showing wealthy tourists around the abandoned lead mines compared to doing the difficult, sometimes life threatening, work of actual mining.
The miners are now long gone but in the process of excavating the rich mineral deposits they left behind a large network of naturally formed caverns and passageways dating back millions of years. Now, regular guided tours allow you to retrace the miners' footsteps for yourself.
The Great Masson Cavern
Located at the Summit behind the Masson Pavilion
Take a trip deep into the hillside in the Masson Cavern. Experience first-hand the intricate cavern system that the miners created and maintained for hundreds of years. Learn about the 350 million year story that led to the cavern being what it is today. From the light of a single miner’s candle to the whole chamber being flooded with a rainbow of lights, it's illuminating!
The Great Rutland Cavern
Located next to the Tavern on the lower slopes of the hillside.
Let us take you on a journey back in time to experience what life was really like for a 17th Century lead mining family. Learn about the role of women and children within the mines, and how they took on the most dangerous work. Hear the stories from the past of mass excursions, cave chandeliers and extraordinary light shows.