Cavern Tours & Gift Shop, Blue John Café & Shop in Castleton
The Blue John Cavern is simply the best cavern you’ll visit this year! Come and visit us to experience the exciting cavern tours – perfect for family days out and group bookings.
Current Opening Hours 9.30 am (first tour 9.45am) Daily !!!!
World Famous Blue John Cavern
The Blue John Cavern at Castleton in the Peak District is world famous. It is home to eight of the fourteen known varieties of Blue John stone, a beautiful and ornamental fluor-spar. The mineral has been mined here for centuries and continues to be in the winter months. Miners armed with picks and shovels pursue the stone deep in the mine workings, where it is found in veins in the limestone or loose in the clay beds lining the passageways. Once mined, the lumps of Blue John are washed and transported to the surface. Once in daylight, the quality of the stone can be seen more clearly. The experienced eye of the craftsman can then scan the material for faults and weaknesses. The most solid and attractive pieces are then kept for making into beautiful items of jewellery set in Sterling Silver and 9ct Gold, or for larger ornamental objects such as bowls, sails and candlesticks.
The traditional methods of turning Blue John are still used today and the skill of our craftsmen and women working in the Original Blue John Craft Shop in the village of Castleton enable the visitor to view this unique stone at its best. Restoration work of antique pieces is a speciality.
The Blue John Cavern is steeped in history and old mining equipment is on view inside the cavern. Guided tours are conducted throughout the cave system at short regular intervals. Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour during which time a series of magnificent natural water-worn caverns are seen. Blue John can be seen in its natural state along with stalactites, stalagmites and huge caverns. See the Waterfall Cavern with its multi-coloured dome… Visit Lord Mulgrave’s Dining Room where his Lordship entertained miners, and where fine veins of Blue John can be seen in their natural state in the limestone… Stand in the Variegated Cavern, 150 feet high and 30 feet wide!
What You Will See Beneath!
Bull Beef A working which has produced some of the very best and largest pieces of Blue John Stone ever mined. This variety of Blue John is known as “Bull Beef” because of its likeness to raw beef.
The Grand Crystallised Cavern is dome shaped and lofty with mineral colourings and markings which resemble a tree trunk sawn across.
The Waterfall Cavern The whole left hand side of the cavern is covered in stalagmitic formations looking like a frozen waterfall. The high roof is richly coloured with iron oxide deposits.
The Stalactite Cavern The Stalactite Cavern shows the meandering course that the underground river took. The roof resembles a riverbed upside down, a fringe of stalactites can clearly be seen.
Lord Mulgrave’s Dining Room Formed when two underground rivers met forming a whirlpool which then created its circular shape. It’s named Lord Mulgrave’s Dining Room because it said his Lordship entertained a group of miners to a dinner there.
The Variegated Cavern The last of the Caverns shown to the public. It is majestic and somewhat awe-inspiring being 200 feet high. It’s named because of the variety of markings on the walls and in the roof.