Blue John Cavern is a famous show cave near Castleton in the Peak District. The ‘Blue John’ mineral deposit the cave is famous for is used to make jewellery and other ornamental objects, which can be bought locally. The mineral deposits are still being mined today and there are several rich seams within the cave, each of which has a name. Mining activities take place over the winter months when the cavern is closed. The miners dig out the stone from the limestone walls and clay beds. It is then washed and taken up to the surface to be inspected.
Tours of the Blue John Cavern are available, led by miners who work the seams. You can’t book tours online, but you can buy tickets on the day, so it’s best to just arrive when convenient. Tours take place regularly and last for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. During the tour, you will be led down 245 steps, so it’s not suitable for anyone with mobility issues. However, the chance to view the beautiful underground cavern is well worth the effort expended!
On a tour, you can see the famous Blue John mineral gleaming in the walls, surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites growing out of the limestone ceiling and floor. It’s a great experience for visitors of all ages. Even dogs are welcome, although they must be kept on a lead and if they make a mess, you must clear up after them. Because of the many steps, it’s recommended that babies are carried in a sling or a parent’s arms rather than in a pram.
Note that Covid measures are in place and masks must be worn at all times.
Facilities at Blue John Cavern
There is parking available outside the entrance to the Blue John Cavern, which is free. Alternatively, you can park in nearby Castleton and stop off at the cavern as part of a longer hiking route.
On a fine day, there is a café providing refreshments, with dogs welcome. Stop in for a cup of tea, a slice of cake, a cold drink, and more.
If you would like to purchase some Blue John jewellery or ornaments, there is a small shop at the Blue John Cavern, but pieces are also sold at the craft shop in Castleton, where you can browse many beautiful gifts and other items. Alternatively, you can visit the Blue John online shop and place an internet order.
Other Things To Do Near Blue John Cavern
Blue John Cavern is very near to Mam Tor, so if you could easily combine a walk to the summit of Mam Tor once you have completed a tour of the cavern. There are numerous hiking trails in the area, including a longer trail that goes across the moor and down into Castleton via the Limestone Way.
There are also other show caverns in the Peak District worth visiting, including Treak Cliff Cavern in nearby Hope, and the Great Masson Cavern at Matlock.