Published: 12:57, 19 August 2019
| Updated: 14:52, 19 August 2019
A network of underground caves will reopen to the public this week after an eight-year restoration project.
Margate Caves will welcome visitors on Thursday, 15 years after closing.
A new visitor, education centre and cafe have been built on the site.
Campaigners and volunteers fighting to save the caves have been working since 2011 to preserve the tunnels, which were originally constructed as a chalk mine in the 18th century.
A huge funding drive to raise cash to build the new centre in Northdown Road and restore the caves to their former glory was organised by dedicated residents.
They have held various events and projects to fund the restoration and new centre - including a secret postcard auction, crowdfunding page and securing support from the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.
The caves are managed by The Margate Caves Community Education Trust and the Friends of Margate Caves, which arranged for geotechnical engineers to strengthen and protect the caves.
A specialist has also worked tirelessly to restore the murals painted on to the walls, which had been damaged after years of neglect.
The caves will now host a range of educational activities for Thanet schools and the community and will help tell the story of how the landscape, ecology and geology contributed to Margate's growth.
Staff have been working to develop a new scheme to help teach youngsters across the isle and also have formed a volunteer training centre in twocommunity rooms.
Work to reopen the caves has also included excavating a new exit.
They will open daily from 10am to 5pm until October 27 when winter opening hours will begin - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 4pm.
Entry is £10 for a family ticket or £4.50 for adults and £2 for children.
Residents living in the CT9 1 and CT9 2 areas will be able to visit for free until March 2020. For more information head to the Margate Caves website.
More by this authorMatt Leclere