cathedral working mine tour

£30 per person Min. 4 persons

Discover our modern mining operations with an exclusive after-hours tour led by our most experienced guide, Roly. Venture into our vast cathedral-like caverns and gain insights into the interesting history of the UK’s last working slate mine.

tours run

Please arrive 30 mins before your activity starts

Minimum number is 4


What is THE Cathedral Working Mine Tour

See how we mine today and take a tour through our working environment and cathedral-sized caverns on an after-hours tour with our longest serving guide Roly. Hear about how a Borrowdale farmers son’s determination and perseverance ensured that the legacy of the UK’s last working slate mine would be there for future generations.

Start at the upper entrance of our honeycomb of working tunnels where Roly will educate you not just about Westmorland Green Slate and 400+ year history but how Mark resurrected the mine from an abandoned eyesore to the busy working enterprise and tourist destination we are today.

See how this humble entrance on the hillside hides a multitude of tunnels and caverns along with the labours of centuries of Honister men, the full extent of which can only really be appreciated after a visit deep underground on a Cathedral Tour.

via Tripadvisor
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What a fabulous few hours.......would highly recommend....!! Roland our guide was amazing so friendly and knowledgeable.......he made it a very memorable experience tailoring it to the somewhat small group...... just my husband and I actually...(Well it was a Monday morning in late February) this didn’t have an affect on the experience what so ever..... a small trip in one of the Landrover Defenders up to the mine entrance and immediately you step into the 11 miles of tunnels... before long these open out into cathedral size caverns with stories of what it was like to work in these harsh conditions...... I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil the experience....... take it from me book it and go..... you’ll love it..!!
Sophie H
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I brought my two kids for the day up to Honister as we live in Keswick and have never been (shame on us!) We got the lovely Borrowdale bus up to the mine and were astounded at the whole experience we had there. Being dopey locals we had the wrong shoes on and my sons flip flops were immediately exchanged for wellies so we could be part of the tour.. I was knocked out by the beauty of the mountains and the cathedral like coolness and mystery inside.. My children are 6 and 9 and they loved the whole journey from the bus ride up the stupendous mountain road to the entrance of the mine until the moment we left the dark cool interior, emerging into warm sunlight again.. Mrs. Weir is so passionate about this place and she has good reason. She is an excellent and amusing guide. Please go if you have the time . You won't forgot it.....
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We REALLY enjoyed the slate mine tour! Roly was our guide and his presentation style was really really good. He is clearly knowledgable not just about the slate mine, but geology and social and industrial history as well. He managed to explain the history of the mine and the industrial heritage really clearly, he pitched his explanations to his audience so you didnt feel like you were being lectured, he made it fun and personal, asking you to imagine life down the mine, and explaining in detail what it would be like to be a miner working in a family group, and set it against the backdrop of the overall economic history of the time. He gave a good understanding of how slate is formed, and the different types of slate and the quality of Honister slate, all with a really good sense of humour and involving the group as he explained.

Key Information

  • £30 per person.
  • Minimum of 4 people must book for the tour to run.
  • Mine tours take approximately 90 minutes and involve uneven terrain throughout.
  • Not suitable for wheelchairs due to the terrain.
  • After hours tour of the working mine at 5pm, generally on a Friday.
  • Please come prepared with warm clothing and sensible footwear – this is a walking tour. Safety helmets and lamps will be provided by Honister on arrival.
  • Please note, this is a tour of the working mine which is only suitable for adults.
    The tour follows the development of the mine from the purchase by Mark Wier, to the current day.
Inside the mine view - Mine Tours


Mine tours are appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. Please note that this activity does involve descending down approximately 50 steps (with a handrail).

Unfortunately, due to the terrain and nature of the mountain, we cannot permit wheelchair users on our tours. However, our visitor centre is wheelchair-friendly and accessible toilet facilities can be found in our café.

The Cathedral Working Mine Tour costs £30 per person and a minimum number of 4 participants is required.

The Cathedral Working Mine Tour and the regular Mine Tour offer distinct experiences. While the regular Mine Tour provides an overview of the mine’s history, geological features, and daily operations, the Cathedral Working Mine Tour offers a more immersive and hands-on adventure. During the Cathedral Working Mine Tour, visitors have the opportunity to engage in active mining activities, witness the mining process firsthand, and gain a deeper understanding of the mine’s operations, making it a more interactive and specialised experience for those interested in the mining industry.

The Cathedral Working Mine Tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours.

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