Churchill War Rooms

Museums, History Whitehall
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See where Britain’s World War II fight against the Nazis was co-ordinated – from a top secret underground hideaway in the heart of London

Few would dispute that Winston Churchill’s unique leadership and ability to distil Britain’s fortitude during World War II played a major part in the victory against Hitler and Nazi Germany, making the War Rooms all the more appealing for anyone with a fascination for the era.

Beneath Westminster, the Cabinet War Rooms were at the heart of Churchill’s wartime strategies. They were built and completed a week before war broke out. Here, a devoted team of men and women received key information from critical locations all over Europe and north Africa, helping the Prime Minister and his inner circle to plan their moves, and keeping the King and the armed forces fully briefed on daily progress.

Now part of the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill War Rooms have been preserved as they were in 1945. See the Map Room as it would have been, operating day and night during the conflict, and get a sense of this underground warren at its most frenetic. As well as the key aspects of wartime government revealed here, it’s in the little details that you get a sense of life in the bunker. For example, there was a daily-updated weather noticeboard so that workers knew what was going on above ground. During air raids, the notice would be changed to ‘windy’ as a joke.

There is a lot to take in, so you can expect your visit to last about an hour and half, but there’s also the Churchill Museum to explore, with audio guides available in a wide range of languages.

It may be a bunker, but there’s room down here for a café, too, and in true Brit spirit, the menu includes lots of classic scoff, from pies and stews to sarnies and cakes. Go on, have a slice of London Stout Gingerbread or Derbyshire Bakewell Tart. These days, happily, rationing has long gone, and the food tastes great.

By: Laura Lee Davies

Posted:

Venue name: Churchill War Rooms
Contact:
Address: King Charles St
Clive Steps
London
SW1A 2AQ
Opening hours: Open daily 9.30am-6pm
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross
Price: Prices with Gift Aid donation: £19, £15.20 concs., £9.50 under-16s, free under-fives, family from £33.35
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LiveReviews|9
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Paula - ToT
tastemaker

This is a place I have been meaning to go to for quite some time and I finally decided to use my National Art Pass as an excuse to go.  If you have any interest in Churchill and/or Britain during the war, this is somewhere you must visit.  You can just sense the history as you enter the War Rooms.  It's a relatively simple museum and there is a lot of reading to do if you want to get the full picture of the significance of this building.  It can get crowded and this may mean a short wait before you can enter.

Sonia C

A fascinating & aunthentic slice of WWII history. This is atmospheric & a true time capsule of what were some of Britain's darkest days. The focus is on Winston Churchill & includes personal anecdotes about his marriage & even pet cat to give an insight into this iconic prime minister.

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

Even if you are not so much interested into war museums, you will be surprised on how vast and interesting collection is laid just underneath your feet when you walk at Westminster area, in the Churchill War Rooms museum! Walk down a few steps, enter the museum and you will actually enter the world of Winston Churchill and Britain’s most important place during World War II & Nazis' period. A huge collection of war objects as well as many rooms being fully equiped with the furnitures of that period when people were living & working 24/7 down there.

Claire S

Fascinating peek into a defining period of history. Fantastic audio tour full of interesting facts brought the war rooms to life

Ray M

This is the bastion of World War 2 where where Winston Churchill War Coalition Cabinet meet with the high raking military officers and Senior Civil Servants.

Corina B
Tastemaker

Absolutely incredible gem right in the center of London. This place takes you back and makes you imagine that you were actually there at that time. Being a history fan this was an incredible experience for me, but even if I was not completely aware of the situation this museum explains it all so incredibly well that it makes it very easy. It is also not boring, there is a lot of interactive displays that separate this to other museums. 

Sohère R
Tastemaker

My friend was visiting from the USA and was told this is an awesome tourist thing to do in London, so I went along for the ride. I can honestly say it was absolutely fantastic. I went along without really knowing what I was going to or what to expect. Essentially the war rooms are the underground bunkers that Sir Winston Churchill ran his parliament from to win World War 2. It was fascinating looking at the rooms where history was made, seeing the maps that were used to track the invasion, and the bedrooms that were used (Churchill's bedroom is pictured below, it's where he also held important meetings). There is also a museum of Winston Churchill's life. He was a fascinating character and I learned a lot about his life, his family, his interests.