Someone Has Created A Map of Brighton’s Secret Underground Tunnels

- Advertisement -

A group of Brighton residents are working together to create a map of the city’s underground tunnels and vaults.

The self-described group of “enthusiastic explorers” say that they are researching Brighton’s long lost underground.

They aim to delve deep beneath Brighton’s streets, exposing its huge infrastructure of vaults and tunnels, and collate the information in a map.

Interested visitors can already go on the Royal Pavilion’s Basement and Tunnel Tour to discover the underground tunnels used by King George IV to visit the riding school and stables, now better known as the Brighton Dome.

It was originally thought that these secret passageways were used to meet his illegal wife, Maria Fitzherbert but this is inaccurate, as the tunnel was built in 1821, long after their relationship ended.

In fact the tunnel was used so that he could see his beloved horses away from the prying eyes of the general public.

Other sites marked on the map include potential tunnels running from the Old Ship Hotel to the beach, and from The Tempest Arms – which dates back to the 17th Century – to the basements of West Street.

Various coal holes which could indicate underground vaults are also marked on the map.

Andrew Pusey
Site Creator Andrew Pusey Explores A Tunnel Under Toni & Guy

Site creator Andrew Pusey said: “I launched the website first thing yesterday morning, and have had over 10,000 hits already. I started getting interested in tunnels when I lived in London and worked for a small company near Upper Street and we found an old tunnel in the basement, it was blocked off but we think it may have gone down to the river Fleet.

“Then in 1986 I was working in the Reject Shop (62-63) East st, my manager brought some plans of the building down to the basement, we noticed something strange with the front wall of the building so we set about knocking a hole in it.

- Advertisement -

“What we found shocked us, it was a large underground vaulted chamber with lots of smaller arches inside. This got me wondering what else was under Brighton’s streets.

“I put a post on Facebook’s Brighton-Past group asking if anyone knew anything.

“To my surprise we got a few hundred responses to this post and I decided that someone needs to try and document these vaults before they are all blocked up and lost.

“We are trying to find out if these vaults and tunnels are widespread, if they were originally linked up and how they relate to the ancient history of Brighton.”

Check out the map below and if you have any discoveries to add visit Underground Brighton’s forum:

Photo: Les Chatfield

- Advertisement -


  1. Hi,
    there are 2 tunnels I know about. 1st is under the Royal Sovereign Pub Preston Street which runs toward Brunswick Sq. The Tunnel was bricked up in early 2003 after the pub being Refurb. the 2nd tunnel is located at 10 Richmond Place. My family lived there in the early part of the 20th Century and used to tell story’s about how the tunnel was haunted by a white lady, it was said it led to the Royal Pavillion.

    Hope this helps keep up the good work.


  2. When i was a kid aged 10 we moved to the flats at Bristol Gate spent my young years knocking about in Kemptown was 1956 always heard stories/rumours of tunnels leading dowm from the properties along the front, from Royal Crescent through to Lewes Crescent. We never found any exits on to the front, only the big one from Lewes Crescent gardens, which we used to use as shortcut. Thinking about it now i feel sure there must have been a lot from those properties to the beach before the top road was finalised i can only think of maybe down into the Volks workshop. the old rifle range by the bottom of Burlington Street maybe into the lower arches underneath Dukes Mound. Maybe contact Southern Water regards the entrances to their systems under the undercliff and their complex at the Roedean Cafe/ coast road

  3. I worked at the royal York some years ago night security looking after the building. I went down to the basement and found hidden arches which had been bricked up with old handcuffs attached makes me think these were holding cells years back .

  4. I have several of these supposed tunnels on my Ghost Tour of Kemp Town. The first we encounter is a blocked up tunnel in the cellar of the King’s Arms, George Street that seems to run towards the sea. The Marlborough Hotel (Princes Street) allegedly has two. One linking it to the Pavilion and another linking it to the old ‘Queen’s Head’ in Steine Street. (Now Bar Broadway). The latter has THREE! One to the Pavilion, the one linking it to The Marlborough (both were brothels) and a supposed smuggler’s tunnel heading off to the beach. Finally, the Marine Tavern (13 Broad Street). I have seen this and the King’s Arms personally. Again, it’s bricked up and like the one at the King’s Arms, a body is buried indside it.

  5. I had a friend who lived on Devonshire Place. We once went exploring through a door under outside her basement apartment that went under the road. The tunnels were full of bits of broken crockery. We followed the tunnel downhill towards New Stein and then there was like a junction with the left side bricked up so we turned right (must’ve been under St James St) and continued for ages. We all spooked ourselves when the we came across a bit of flooring that looked swept clean with 2 steps leading up to a door at the end of the tunnel. Behind the door was an old fashioned toilet that looked immaculately clean – there was no other apparent way to get to this part so we literally all turned around and ran back out!

  6. Does anyone have any information about the location of the Royal Crescent Sea front Tunnel in Kemptown.
    I have found this quote from an 1801 document:l but know noes it’s location or any details or if it actually exists. I have recently moved into Royal Crescent.

    “The first mention of Royal Crescent is on 28th August 1801 when the Morning Post reports: ‘The crescent, near the New Steine at Brighton is nearly finished under the sole direction of Mr. Otto. It forms a row of fourteen houses, each having two windows in front, and a paved courtyard for carriages inclosed by a brick-wall. For the accommodation of residents, a subterraneous passage has been made to the sea-shore, by which means those who wish to bathe can avoid the inconvenience of walking to the town.”

  7. In the 80s there was an article in the Argus about the discovery of huge underground spaces, large enough for a number of double decker buses. I believe they were under the coast road and behind the buildings I Madeira Dtive. It was being discussed with my former in-laws, who owned an hotel in Atlingworth Street, comprising 2 adjourned Regency houses. My mother-in-law wasn’t at all surprised as they knew about it. There was access to that from under the hotel.
    I’m fairly sure it was known about by many, including the council and others. I found it rather unnerving to think of it all being a vast subterranean space, running under the roads and all the traffic there was passing overhead for hours 9n and, 3very day. I still find it unnerving to be honest.

    I was fascinated too by the history. One of my main interests but I’m afraid I never followed it up, or asked to see. I’m a bit phobic about such places.

    I’m currently reading a book set in Norfolk, where there was extensive mining for chalk, below towns ther. It reminded me of the 7nderground spaces in Brighton and googled that. After lots of hits for an underground gym I Portslade, I came across this.

    I ha wondered if chalk was mined locally but I doubt there was any need to go underground for it in Sussex. Unlike Norfolk we have lots of hills and quite a few chalk pits have operated overtime. I think pits is misleading though as the ones that spring to mind were carved into the sides of hills. I could be wrong in assuming they weren’underground too though.Though. Apologies for any errors. I can’t see what I’ve written.

  8. I forgot to mention that

    It would pay to contact Geoff Mead, who is a fount of knowledge on both local history and geography. He does many talks and guided walks and is sure to know about the subterranean world under Brighton. He is still a lecturer at the University of Sussex and can be contacted by email there.

    Apologies for false start in this comment. It was merely to say I know about the tunnel from Royal Crescent to the beach. Geoff will know about that and far more, I’m sure.

  9. I used to get into the Victorian Catacoombs under Queens Road full of lead coffins from a Cholera outbreak in the 1840s from the old Brighthelmstone centre basement

    There is also a mile long tunnel under the downs from the old pumping stayion at engineerium in Hove park its ususally below the water table but in long dry summers its dry but its at the bottom of a 150ft deep shaft , so not accesable these days .


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here