Rare Chance To Visit An Underground Farm In A Former Air Raid Shelter

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 6 months ago
Rare Chance To Visit An Underground Farm In A Former Air Raid Shelter
Photo: Londonist

Fancy visiting one of the deep-level shelters beneath Clapham? The one with the farm inside?

Tickets are again on sale for tours of Growing Underground, a subterranean urban farm beneath the streets of London.

It's housed inside a huge air raid shelter from the second world war, the Clapham Common deep level shelter.

Vegetables and salad items are grown in futuristic pink tunnels in this truly mammoth complex. Even if you've been on one of TfL's Hidden London tours of nearby Clapham South shelter, you won't have seen anything quite like this.

We visited it for ourselves when it was in its early stages in 2015 and experienced the eerie pink glow, Doctor Who-style lift and rumble of tube trains on the Northern line nearby.

Photo: Londonist

The tours include a chance to learn how the tunnels function as somewhere to grow salads today — some of which are sold in the likes of M&S and Tesco — as well as the history of the tunnels. Everyone on the tour will take home a micro herb salad, picked fresh from the farm.

Why grow salad underground? Hydroponic and LED technology make it possible, and the controlled environment means growing conditions remain stable all year round. Crops aren't affected by issues such as the weather or pesticides. In short, it could be the future of food production, and this is a chance to see it in action.

Photo: Londonist

Growing Underground urban farm tours take place on various dates through December 2021 and the first half of 2022. Tickets are £40 and need to be booked in advance. Age 14+ only.

Last Updated 25 November 2021