If you thought cool basements and Batcaves were cool in America, you should check out what those crazy Brits are building under their mansions.

The ‘Man Cave’ has always been a coveted area for men to unwind, watch sports, play pool, and get destructively drunk. But in London, extra space for these activities is difficult to come by. Even if you are one of the wealthiest people in the world, it’s still almost impossible to get a building permit to put a fancy swimming pool on the roof of your Victorian-era mansion.

That’s why the new trend in London’s most exclusive neighborhoods is to dig underneath your billion dollar home to install everything including underground swimming pools, 20-car garages, home cinemas, gun rooms, gyms, racquetball courts, and living rooms for your ‘staff’. Maybe even a ‘hot chicks room‘?

According to the Independent UK newspaper, a couple of notable cases include:

  1. Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, who has two houses in west London connected below ground with extra rooms and a huge swimming pool.
  2. Comedian Ricky Gervais, who is taking two years to build a gym and swimming pool under his north London home, which spawned demonstrations from protesters outside.
  3. And Financier Sir Ronnie Cohen, whose addition of an underground swimming pool bothered his neighbors so much that he paid for some of them to move away while the work continued.

Now that’s some serious pimp-like spending. Your underground mansion expansion is so elaborate that you offer to pay your neighbors to move away and not bother you while you finish it. Total baller.

However, even with all this lavish spending it looks like the trend might not continue. Londoners are getting worried over silly trivial things like ‘the underground water tables being seriously disturbed’, ‘various important electrical wires being severed’, and ‘the structural integrity of all surrounding buildings being compromised’. What a bunch of pussies.

Of course, if you really wanted to, you could just buy the world’s most expensive apartment for a mere $200 million in London. Just saying.

Wall Street Journal: London’s Underground Mansion Boom, July 28, 2008

Independent: How the rich dig deep to expand their homes, July 29, 2008