Honister Slate Mine

Honister Pass, Keswick, CA12 5XN
Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine

If you are someone who is seeking a new thrilling adventure, wishing to explore a working mine, or simply wanting to stop off for a snack during an invigorating fell walk then Honister Slate Mine may pique your interest.

Located at the top of Honister Pass in Borrowdale, close to Keswick, the slate mine, the last working slate mine in England, is the vision of one extraordinary man and provides a unique way of introducing visitors to the Cumbrian landscapes.

There is something for everyone here, whether it be the breath-taking climbs, the mining tours, or the shop stocking slate products, you will certainly find the trip up the narrow, winding pass worth the effort.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
017687 77230 / Website
Please see official website
Seasonal Opening:
Closed New Years Day to Mid Jan


Quarrying and mining have been taking place at Honister since the late seventeenth century, with the distinctive green slate used extensively throughout the UK including by Christopher Wren at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.

Expansion continued well into the twentieth century, until a gradual decline saw a complete closure in 1989. Mark Weir, a local entrepreneur, reopened the mine in 1997 and transformed it into a tourist attraction, introducing tours and England’s first Via Ferrata climbing system, bringing in over 60,000 visitors per year.

Sadly, Weir passed away in 2011 in a helicopter crash, but his enthusiasm for adventure and industrial history remains at Honister.

Things To See

There are a range of mine tours that suit all abilities. The classic Kimberley Tour is suitable for all ages as it takes place on a level path through the mine. Other tours have age restrictions and involve climbing and scrambling, such as the Subterranean Climb the Mine Tour which will take you across a series of ropes through deep caverns.

Outside, the Via Ferrata tours will appeal to thrill-seekers. Latin for Iron Way, Via Ferrata uses metal cables, ladders, etc. to traverse treacherous summits, such as that of Fleetwith Pike. Climbers are harnessed to the fixed cables, which makes this a very safe way to climb and is, therefore, suitable for most abilities.

Alternatively, the Infiniti Bridge is the longest of its type in Britain and consists of rope bridge strung 1,200 feet above the ground with the frequent mist and fog often making it difficult to see the other end, hence its name.

The Sky-Hi Café is open daily for snacks, whilst in the shop you have the opportunity to purchase a whole host of Honister Green Slate products, including kitchen cheese boards, house signs, kitchen worktops, and garden ornaments.

Useful Information

You must bring waterproofs, warm clothing, and sturdy walking boots for the tours and climbs. All other equipment is provided by the mine. Most of the tours and climbs have an age and height restriction, whilst the climbs also have a weight limit. The mine is not wheelchair accessible.


Advanced booking is highly recommended and available online. An All Day Pass combines a mine tour with the Via Ferrata and lunch.


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