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Take the train … to Britain’s underground attractions

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If you think you’ve seen the best of the UK, think again – some of the best attractions are deep underground.

Read on to find out where you can see some creepy caves and spectacular subterranean scenery. And you don’t have to have deep pockets to afford the fare either – just check our journey planner for cheap rail tickets before you travel.

1. Creep through the Nottingham’s City of Caves

Nottingham’s City of Caves is due to reopen on 11 February 2012, so make sure you’re one of the first to see the city’s recently renovated underground attraction.

These man-made caves are part of a much wider complex, and were used as housing for the poor for centuries. Today, however, the site is the perfect place for a family day out.

Jump on a train to Nottingham and take a tour to see the Medieval Tannery, a recreation of The Slums of Drury Hill, the Enchanted Fountain and much more.

2. Experience Edinburgh’s eerie Underground Vaults

Take the train to Edinburgh and hunt for ghosts in the seriously spooky Edinburgh Vaults.

Abandoned in the nineteenth century, these labyrinthine passageways and chambers within the Scottish capital’s South Bridge were rediscovered in the 1980s and excavated in the 1990s – and this subterranean area is now reputed to be one of the U.K’s most haunted locations.

A number of tour operators provide guided tours of the Edinburgh Vaults – if you’re brave enough to head down there, wrap up warm and prepare to be scared.

3. Watch out for the Witch’s Fingers at White Scar Cave

Head for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and you can take the longest cave tour in Britain. White Scar Cave, near Ingleton, was discovered in 1923 and first opened to the public two years later.

Highlights of the tour include the Judge’s Head stalagmite, the Battlefield Cavern and the Devil’s Tongue and Witch’s Fingers rock formations. You’ll also need to pass through one section – known as ‘The Squeeze’ sideways.

To reach White Scar Cave by rail, just take the train to Leeds or Bradford, and then take a connecting service to Settle or Bentham, and you can catch a bus to Ingleton from there. Alternatively, you can take a train to Lancaster and a bus to Ingleton. White Scar Cave is a 30 minute walk from the village.

4. Explore Exeter’s Underground Passages

Take the train to Exeter and head underground to take a tour of the city’s medieval passage ways. Originally built to house a system of pipes, so clean water could be brought into the city, the Underground Passages are now one of Exeter’s most popular tourist attractions.

Exeter is the only city in the UK to have such passages – and the entrance is located right in the heart of the city centre, so getting there is simple.

5. Take a tour of Chislehurst Caves

Originally dug out in order to find chalk for use in London’s lime-burning, brick-making and flint-making industries, Chislehurst Caves, in Kent, were first opened to the public during the early 20th century.

Take a lamp-lit guided tour of these pitch-dark passageways to find out more about their fascinating history. And, like many of the subterranean attractions on our list, Chislehurst Caves are reputed to be haunted, so look out for spooks.

Take the train to London‘s Charing Cross or London Bridge stations and you can get a connection to Chislehurst. The caves are just a few minutes’ walk from the station.

Other underground tourist attractions in the UK include:

Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough
Cheddar Caves, Somerset
Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales.

Just make sure you check our journey planner for cheap train tickets first, so you have more to spend when you get there.

Have you got any suggestions for underground destinations? Let us know…

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