Royston Cave has been welcoming visitors since its discovery in 1742. With entry only available upon request and via a rope, it wasn’t until the current visitor entrance was dug in 1790 that formal, paid visits were introduced. The current 22 m long access tunnel was dug by local builder Thomas Watson, the then occupier of the Town House above. He effectively took private ownership of the cave and charged visitors sixpence for entry. Watson advertised Royston Cave as ‘the greatest curiosity of the kind in Europe’.
By the 1950s, the Town House above had become a shoe shop and its owners, The Pool family, were the last private keyholders of Royston Cave. In 1964, the cave was leased by Royston Urban District Council, who installed railings and electric lighting. In 1969 management was instructed to Royston and District Local History Society who oversaw the cave’s operation and provision of guides.
In 1974, Royston Town Council was formed as the successor to Royston Urban District Council and, in 1998, Royston Town Council bought Royston Cave outright. Royston History Society continued to manage it on the Council’s behalf and modern, guided tours were introduced. In 2018, management of Royston Cave reverted to Royston Town Council.
Cave Entrance Building, c. 1900
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The success and operation of Royston Cave is only possible because of our dedicated staff and volunteers.
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Who We Are
Royston Cave is owned and managed by Royston Town Council. Responsibility for the cave's maintenance, conservation, visitor experience and daily operation is entrusted with the manager, who reports to a Council subcommittee.
Royston Cave Trust Fund
The Royston Cave Trust Fund is a registered charity. The objects of the Royston Cave Trust Fund are (1) to maintain, repair, restore, preserve and conserve Royston Cave for the benefit of the public, (2) to advance education.
The Royston Cave Trust Fund provide Royston Cave with vital funding for facilities, research, and conservation. Its board is comprised of 9 trustees.
Charity no. 1092953
We believe our heritage belongs to us all. That’s why we’re committed to improving accessibility, so more people than ever before can learn about and experience Royston Cave.
We also strive for greater transparency, so while Royston Cave’s origin and use may remain an enigma, our knowledge and research will not. By 2022, we are committed to archiving our full story, both past and present, online through the increased provision of information, news, imagery, research and resources, so Royston Cave's story becomes accessible for everyone, forever.