The Blue John Caverns in Derbyshire produce one of the scarcest minerals in the world and also offer a truly unique exploration experience.
Far from the dank and dingy caves usually associated with mining, these limestone caverns have been fitted with modern lighting and the sections of the caverns open to visitors have been neatly and cleanly paved. Visitors can wander the rippling stone formations and stalagmites, maybe even spotting the cavern’s titular rock. In the winter months, miners enter the caverns to harvest deposits of the rare Derbyshire Blue John, which is a semi-precious stone consisting of vibrant yellow and blue crystalline bands. The mineral is remarkably only found in two caves in the entire world. Amateur spelunkers can also buy all manner of Blue John jewelry and other mineral accessories at the adjoining gift shop, taking home a souvenir that can only be found in this unique cave.
Visit England with Atlas Obscura Trips
London Science Weekend: Medicine and Science in the Press
Join New York Times Journeys and Atlas Obscura for three days of scientific learning, special access and exploration in London. Accompanied by Times journalists and scientific experts, meet people contributing to the history of medicine and scientific journalism. This two-track program includes panels, exclusive visits and access to some of the best scientific minds available to concentrate on science reporting or medical history.