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Sheffield tunnel
Photograph: Xiao Yang and Mark O’Neill

These incredible underground tunnels in the UK are now open to the public

Sheffield’s vast network of subterranean passages will be the subject of guided tours starting this week

Daniel Dylan Wray
Written by
Daniel Dylan Wray

Sheffield provided the backdrop to a lot of lyrics for Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and the secret tunnels and rivers that run underneath the city centre were no different. On the tune ‘Wickerman’, Cocker even recalled his own time spent wading through the mysterious passages.

The song acts as an underground journey through Sheffield, the Yorkshire city that exists ‘below other people’s ordinary lives’. He sang: ‘Underneath the city through the dirty brickwork conduits / Connecting white witches on the Moor with pre-Raphaelites down in Broomhall / Beneath the old Trebor factory that burnt down in the early seventies / leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell and caverns of nougat and caramel.’

Sound intriguing? As it happens, that magical underground world Cocker described around twenty years ago is now opening up for guided tours via the Sheaf and Porters River Trust. Built during the mid-nineteenth century, the tours will take visitors around the city’s vast network of Victorian tunnels – including a huge brick-vaulted space referred to as the Megatron. 

Ready to fish out your waterproofs and wellies? This could be the ideal chance to learn more about the history of the place (as well as retrace Cocker’s footsteps, of course). Tickets for the trips are on sale here.

Like your subterranean attractions? Take a virtual tour of the Paris Catacombs’ burial chambers.

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