The Hellfire Caves are somewhere the hubby and I have wanted to review for a while so when it popped up on Groupon I decided to buy tickets.
The Hellfire caves were created when chalk was being mined for a nearby road. It was then converted into a kind of party pad for the notorious Hellfire Club. To quote my husband “it’s just a rich boy’s shag pad!” Don’t worry if you’re taking the kids, there’s not really references to that but he’s not entirely wrong in his description.
A couple of practical points; 1) no pushchairs or wheelchairs allowed; the floor is uneven and covered in gravel, 2) it is dark in places and 3) it’s quite cool down there.
Walking through the caves there are various signs telling you about the caves and some of the people who visited or built them. There are several mannequins dotted around, most of which have seen better days; and those days were a long time ago. There are also some weird looking faces carved into the walls. The walls are made of chalk which isn’t exactly a stable of material. To shore it up, it looks like they’ve put some mesh up and sprayed it with concrete. Obviously it’s better than the ceiling falling in on visitors, but it does take something away from the caves.
There is section that tells you about the reported ghosts that people have seen in the caves. An episode of Most Haunted was recorded at the Hellfire Caves. Special over- night sessions are held at Halloween if you’re interested.
The Banqueting Hall is kind of cool and apparently that that’s where a lot of the parties took place. They even had “monks cells” where the gentlemen retired to have some “privacy”.
We were a bit surprised how quickly we got to the end, and we weren’t the only ones. We got to the final cave (the inner temple) at the same time as some other visitors and their response was “this can’t be the end”. It’s a linear route so once you’ve got to the end you just turn around and go back again. In total it took us 45 minutes to go to the end and back. Both Hubby and I were a bit disappointed. I did think there would be more to it than there actually is.
I’m not entirely convinced that it’s worth £24 for a family. I do think it was absolutely worth the £12 that I paid for it on Groupon though and I am glad we looked around. They regularly do events and promotions where some of your party can get in free (have a look at the things they’re doing over the summer holidays), when those are on I’d also say it’s worth it.
Once you’ve finished at the caves there are lots of other things that you can do for free nearby to bulk out the day. West Wycombe village, owned by the National Trust, is a beautiful little village. Special shout out to the lovely owners of The Traditional Sweet Shop. Brilliant team with some very nice sweets (including some exceptionally sour ones for those who are into that kind of thing. Hubby and middle child tried them, they’re not for the weak. Lol)
There is also the church and mausoleum on West Wycombe Hill that you can explore. It’s a great spot for a picnic on a nice day. There is also West Wycombe Park that you can visit. It’s also National Trust so members get in for free. It has limited opening hours so we’ve not managed to visit yet but we will. Have a look at the other places I’ve reviewed in High Wycombe.
Adults £8.50. Children / NT members / Students £7. Family ticket £24
The caves quite often come up on Groupon at a discounted rate. Click the banner and search hellfire to see if they’re currently on offer (affiliate link). Keep an eye out on their website as well – they run regular events where people can get in for free if the dress up etc.
Parking / How to get there
There are only about 5 spaces outside Hellfire caves themselves. There is plenty of parking next to the old garden centre as well. It is a little bit of a walk from there to the entrance of the caves. You can either walk across the bottom of the hill across the grass or you can walk along the road and up Church Lane if you’d prefer.
Address – Church Lane, West Wycombe, High Wycombe, HP14 3AH
One in the gift shop and there are some in the village and near the school you can use.
There is a cafe on-site. We didn’t have anything but I did notice that a cream tea costs £6. You cannot have a picnic on site, but you can have one on the hill.
Our Hellfire Caves REview
3 / 5 – It is interesting but £24 is overpriced for a family ticket considering how long you’re there. I think it’s worth the price we paid though. I’m not sure we’d visit for a second time, but it is worth one visit. Definitely worth visiting the village and the hill at the same time to make a full day of it.
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I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activites we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook