Visiting the Grand Shaft

Grand Shaft

The Grand Shaft is a unique triple helix staircase built between 1806 and 1809 descending/ascending 140 feet through the white cliffs of Dover. It is open on the third Sunday of each month between March and November (please check calendar for exact dates). We also offer additional opening days on occasions to support local events. All visits to the Grand Shaft are free and self-guided, we do not operate any bookable, guided tours of this site.

The site is owned by DDC but operated on their behalf by the WHPS as a charity.

Dates Third Sunday of every month March – November. Please check the calendar for availability and additional opening dates.

Times 1030 – 1600. There is no need to book and visitors can turn up and tour freely unsupervised.

Cost  WHPS do not charge for these visits although if you enjoy the tour and the information provide we would welcome a donation towards the work of the Society. All money raised goes back into the Western heights as none of our committee or volunteers take any type of financial reward for their work. You can donate safely online at our GoFundMe page or we welcome cash donations on the day.

Availability  Unrestricted with free access to the triple staircase to explore at your leisure when the site is open (see calendar for details).

Location  Access is available at either end of the staircase. For the top of the staircase head for CT17 9DZ and follow Drop Redoubt road to the bottom after going through the gate by the cattle grid. Access to the bottom of the tunnel is via Snargate Street in Dover. Limited parking is available on Drop Redoubt Road and on Snargate Street, Dover with additional parking within easy walking distance.

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Photography Visitors are welcome to take video, photographs and utilise photographic opportunities with our re-enactors. Please note that we do not allow the use of drones or other aerial recording devices within the fort for safety reasons.

Children  We welcome visitors of all ages but children must be carefully supervised due to the nature of the site (see site specific info below). The site is not suitable for pushchairs at the top although there is level access to the base of the staircase in Snargate Street. Visitors are welcome to leave pushchairs at the entrance although WHPS cannot accept responsibility for the supervision or loss of left items.

Pets  Dogs are welcome on site as long as they remain on a lead and under control. Owners are required to clear up after their pets.

Disability access  We regret that due to the nature of the site and the access difficulties the Grand Shaft is not entirely suitable for wheelchair access or visitors with limited mobility. Access to the base of the tunnel in Snargate Street is easily accessible with a wheelchair or for those with limited mobility and provides a breath-taking view up the staircase through the central light well. Access to the top of the staircase involves the navigation of numerous steep stone stairs and is therefore not suitable for wheelchair access or those with limited mobility.

Toilets There are limited toilet facilities on site at the Grand Shaft gate.

Refreshments There are opportunities to purchase a limited election of snacks and hot and cold drinks at the entrance and some merchandising/local interest books.

Site specific The Grand Shaft is a Napoleonic structure and listed scheduled ancient monument. The paths and slopes can be slippery when wet and there are numerous steps to each staircase.