Alexander Pope's Grotto is the only surviving element of the poet's villa and gardens on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham. Pope was the foremost poet of the early 18th century. Pope began building his villa in 1719. Between 1720 and 1742 he worked on a 'subterraneous way' in the villa’s cellars, joining his house to his garden beneath a public road. The grotto was conceived as a classical nymphaeum, a decorated imitation of a natural cavern. As Pope’s gardens and villa developed, the grotto became a museum of geology and a place of contemplation, encrusted with rocks and minerals and enlivened by a rill of water, mirrors, reflective surfaces and views of the river. It was described as 'A seminal event in the eighteenth-century search to establish man's relationship with nature'.
“We went to a real cave underground. But have you even seen a real fossil? Because I have!”.
- Marwan, 11
“I’ve never been to a place like this without my school, it felt like a privilege to be out doing something individually”
– Destiny C Pinzi, 14