"Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum" Churchill War Rooms Tip by MikeBird

Churchill War Rooms, London: 40 reviews and 50 photos

  Operatives in the control centre
by MikeBird
  • Operatives in the control centre - London
      Operatives in the control centre
    by MikeBird
  • Churchill's underground bedroom - London
      Churchill's underground bedroom
    by MikeBird

I'd wanted to visit the war rooms for a long time. I'd heard they provide a really interesting insight into what it must have been like for the staff and wartime leaders as they worked tirelessly during the 1939 - 45 war. My friends and I were not disappointed and we were amazed to find that three hours had gone by so quickly.

The underground, safe rooms located near to Downing Street, were the hub for decision making in wartime London. You can see how the men of the war cabinet would have met and been briefed by the numerous amounts of intelligence gleaned from many sources. I got a strong sense that it must have been really unpleasant working down there in such stuffy (most of the staff were smokers) and confined conditions but the work was crucial and everyone just got on with it; all playing their part in defeating the enemy.

The war rooms had been retained and restored pretty much as they had been left at the end of the war. I think it said that on 16th August 1945 the lights were switched off for the first time and it wasn't until the 1980s that the facility had been opened up again before it was made available to the general public in April 1984. The site is now run by the Imperial War Museum.

The entrance fee of £15.95 is quite steep but it does include the use of an audio guide which provides a very good commentary on each of the different parts to the museum. There is also a large section of the underground bunker given over specifically to the life of Winston Churchill. No one could deny that he was a remarkable man though perhaps not always likeable. I had not realised for example that he had been awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 1953. There were lots of interesting facets to his life and these are all laid out in a clear but sometimes overwhelming way. Perhaps with some of the exhibits the technology is over used to display the information when actually a less high-tech approach could have been more effective. But don't let me put you off. This place is really fascinating and it deserves to be on the itinerary of any London visitor.

Address: Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ
Directions: Nearest Tube, Westminster Station. Near Horse Guard Road.
Phone: +44 20 7930 6961
Website: http://cwr.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.221

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  • Written Oct 10, 2011
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