Intrepid Brits drawn to the dark underworld don’t have to travel far to try caving. The UK has its fair share of subterranean landscapes, predominantly in limestone areas where mildly acidic water has ultimately created a network of open fissures and tunnels. The Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Brecon Beacons and Mendip Hills are among the best, while further afield, intricate cave systems are found all over the world, from mountainous areas of Europe to Vietnam and Mexico.
Give it a go
At Wookey Hole in Somerset, a three-hour guided adventure involves abseiling, zip-lining and climbing through stalactites, curtains and draperies. Minimum age 14 years. All gear provided. £49.99 per person.
A SHORT HOP
Grotta Giusti in Tuscany is the only hotel in the world to have direct access to a thermal underground cave and hot spring lake, used by guests as a natural steam room. Guided tours of the caverns are also available.
Oxalis Adventure Tours provides adventures (requiring varying degrees of fitness) in Phong Nha, Vietnam, including expeditions inside the world’s largest cave, Son Doong Cave. From $330 (£255) per person.
LEARN THE LINGO
Pressing and squeezing into narrow sections whilst climbing
In numbers: Ogof Ffynnon Ddu
274 miles deep, the deepest discovered cave in the UK
31 miles long
1946 was the year it was discovered
Read: The Complete Caving Manual by Andy Sparrow. RRP £16.99 (The Crowood Press Ltd)
Published in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)