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Pocket Guide: Ware Scott's Grotto Hotels

Hertfordshire is not short on interesting historic buildings, and Scott's Grotto near Ware is certainly one of them. It consists of an entrance hall and six chambers which delve into a chalk hillside for over 65 feet and these are all decorated with bits of coloured glass, stones and flints. Light wells, air shafts and connecting passageways create a large underground complex here, quite unusual for the time and for grottos in general. Grottos were all the rage in stately homes in the 18th Century, and this one was a part of the extensive gardens surrounding Amwell House. All of the structures here are either Grade I or Grade II listed, and if you're based at a nearby Hertfordshire hotel, or simply passing through the area, Scott's Grotto is a fascinating place to visit or stop off for an hour or so.

Hertfordshire Hotels for Scott's Grotto

Scott's Grotto was built by John Scott. He was a Quaker poet in the 18th century whose father left him Amwell House in his will, and he duly took possession in 1768. Scott was obviously a bit of a romantic, and there are numerous other odd features in the gardens here, including an early gazebo on the hillside. Even for the time, Scott excelled in embellishing his house and garden with all sorts of unusual features, and quite a few visitors turned up to see his handiwork. In the 10 years from 1779 no fewer than 3,000 of them stopped off, including Samuel Johnson, who in 1773 described the grotto as a 'fairy hall'. Find out what all the fuss has been about for all these years, and see the place for yourself if you're staying at a nearby hotel or guesthouse in Hertfordshire.

Visit Fairy-Cave Scott's Grotto from Hertfordshire Hotels

Scott left the house, garden and grotto to his daughter Marie and in 1863 after she died Scott's Road was constructed close by. The grotto has been open to the general visiting public for over a century now, and was listed in 1950. It's easy to find from a nearby Hertfordshire hotel, and it really is still just as charmingly eccentric and colourful as when Samuel Johnson described all those years ago.