A bit of "Secret Underground Bristol"
"The entrance to the grotto is a Gothic façade built into the side of a hill. It looks innocuos enough, but passing through it is unnerving. From the civilised world of trim lawns and afternoon tea, you are suddenly plunged into a pagan underworld.
"Everything is bathed in the eerie greenglow of moss-laden skylights, and echoes to the crash of water. The cavern is gloomy and glistening at the same time -encrusted with thousands of shells, conches, crystals, fossils and corals like the cave of some eccentric water god. You turn instinctively left, towards the sound of water- and there he is. Far away, it seems, at the top of a narrow cleft,lounges a marble deity. From the urn at his right hand, water cascades downover the rocks, singing through the sells, and tumbles into a deep pool at your feet. As your eyes grow accustomed to the light, you see that the grotto has other strange occupants..."
"Why Thomas Goldney III spent so much time and money on his grotto,and what he did in it, are far from clear...He certainly developed a taste for the exotic if his library -which included a 'Life of Mahomet' and 'TheArabian Nights'- is anything to go by. Perhaps, after all, Goldney built his Aladdin's Cave primarily for himself, and whenever respectable Quakerdom became too stifling, he escaped underground into a romantic dream world.Who knows?"
Goldney Grotto: Goldney Hall, which is now a University Hall of Residence,holds occasional Open Days in spring and summer, when you can see the grounds and grotto. You will find detais on their website:www.goldneyhall.com