The Caves have been welcoming visitors since 1863. Originally dug as a chalk mine in the 18th century it went largely forgotten for over 100 years before being rediscovered and restored for personal recreation and then, eventually, as a tourist attraction. Despite its huge popularity during the Victorian period and on into the 20th Century, the Caves were closed in 2004.
In 2011 the Friends of Margate Caves and The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) began a campaign to save the Caves and reopen them to to public.
Thanks to various fundraising initiatives, and major funding from the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund) and Heritage Lottery Fund, TMCCET were able to contract geotechnical engineers and conservation specialists to restore the Caves and Cave paintings for the next generation of visitors to enjoy.