2022 Highlights: we've had a BIG year at Kents Cavern!
From our tribe to yours, thank you to everyone who supported us this year. You made 2022 at Kents Cavern one of the best! Here's what we got up to...
We’ve ended the year shortlisted for 3 Devon Tourism Awards:
- Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
- Tourism Event of the Year for Cave Cinema
- Resilience and Innovation Award
We’re so proud of the work our team has put in this year, and excited that it’s being recognised. We'll find out if we’ve won in February!
Stay at Kents Cavern
You can now stay at Kents Cavern! Our luxury, onsite holiday let opened in July.
We welcomed some wonderful guests over the summer, who were blown away by the location and comfort of the property.
Cavern House was built by the original cave proprietor in 1920s.
Korean TV Documentary
We featured on Korean TV! The company were filming a documentary on what it means to be UNESCO Global Geopark as several areas in Korea aspire to achieve this designation too.
Fun fact: the English Riviera has held this since 2007.
Historic Graffiti Research
Experts in historic graffiti conducted a recce of Kents Cavern in December 2022 and are coming back in January to study ancient engravings made on the cave walls. The oldest known engraving is by William Petre in 1571 but many exist throughout the 1km cave system.
Platinum Jubilee Medals
HM’s Deputy Lieutenant attended in June to present Platinum Jubilee Service medals to members of the Devon Cave Rescue Organisation.
We've had a busy year for events, putting on 14 throughout 2022!
First, we started by giving back to the locals with Locals Month throughout January, then we stepped back in time with Stone Age Fun in February Half-Term. We refreshed with some Yoga in the Caves.
Spring lit up the cavern with Easter Egglow, and we celebrated the Queen in June with Cavog's Jubilee Fun and Jubilee High Tea.
Summer arrived, and alongside our usual Stone Age Summer, we introduced our biggest event ever: Cave Cinema! We showed 40 films over 5 weeks, and as a result, got shortlisted for a Tourism Event of the Year Award!
In fact, it was so popular, we brought it back for a Halloween Special with six spooky films! In October, we also ran A Very Batty Half-Term, educating and entertaining visitors on these marvellous mammals.
In September, we hosted two specialist events.
Firstly, a lecture for the Agatha Christie Festival. Guests from all over the world attended a talk on “The Man in the Brown Suit”, Christie's murder mystery novel which refers to Kents Cavern.
And secondly, we led a Guided Walk for the English Riviera Walking Festival. We walked from the caves to Meadfoot beach, and along the South West Coast Path. We spoke about the geological and historical importance of the area and received fantastic feedback.
And then it was Christmas! This year, we put on two Christmas events: Santa in the Caves (an interactive family-friendly pantomime) and Carols in the Caves (an atmospheric sing-along).
We had a record-breaking 113 Santa shows, and worked with two fantastic choirs: the Torbay Police & Community Choir and Yours in Harmony, to put on six Carols evenings. Both events sold out before December had even begun! We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the fantastic performers of both Santa and Carols shows - they created a truly magical event.
5,694 school children visited Kents Cavern with our educational trips this year.
Educational school visits are an important part of what we do and we’ve welcomed thousands of school children back to experience the Stone Age and learn about the UNESCO Geopark.
The general public hardly notice the children are here, which is a testament to how good the education team and teachers are!
Although providing an educational offer is not really a commercially viable activity, it fulfils our desire to enrich the lives of future generations.
Supporting our community is incredibly important to us. In 2022, we have:
- Donated £4,040 worth of tickets donated to local charities
- Working in partnership with Play Torbay and Imagine This, given an exclusive Santa visit to 240 children in need including Ukrainians and asylum seekers
- Hosted underground training exercises for 5 Devon and Somerset fire stations
- Hosted the Wellswood Community Partnership Jubilee Party for 50 local residents
- Supported two tourism students from South Devon College on work placement
All we do is managed in conjunction with our Cave Conservation protocol and a legal responsibility to protect the caverns for future generations.
We do our best to provide staff with year round employment, keeping up our high standards and ensuring the business is sustainable.
We always connect to the natural environment, the rocks, the coast, the incredible story of Britain’s first people at Kents Cavern, and especially to UNESCO’s English Rivera Global Geopark designation, a long-standing commitment.
These connections may not be obvious in all our events, but they form the golden thread in every experience we put on.
We would like to again acknowledge the support we received from the Cultural Recovery Fund during the Covid pandemic. There is no doubt that without this support we would be in a very different place today. This year’s success is a direct consequence of the support we got from the UK Government, DCMS and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
So as 2022 draws to a close, we'd like to say a HUGE thank you to our staff, supporters and most importantly to you, our valued visitors. People are the reason that Kents Cavern is where it is today. So, from the bottom of our hearts (and our cave!), thank you for helping us to protect this incredible site.
Here's to 2023!
Happy New Year!