Churchill War Rooms
Explore Churchill’s underground headquarters and learn about tales of espionage and WWII through this fascinating wartime museum
Visit the Churchill War Rooms - entry is included in The London Pass
- — Pay nothing at the door - simply show your pass
- — View Churchill’s bunker, the Map Room, Transatlantic Telephone room, and the Cabinet War Rooms.
- — View historical documents, Churchill’s annotated maps, and listen to interviews from the War Rooms staff.
Churchill War Rooms history
The Churchill War Rooms made history. It was here, shrouded in secrecy beneath the streets of Westminster, that Winston Churchill and his inner circle wrestled with the decisions that shaped the Second World War. The War Rooms is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the inspiring reality of those darkest hours.
A week before Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, leading government ministers, military strategists, and the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill moved into the Churchill War Rooms. The secret bunker was built 30 feet below the New public offices in Westminster. For the next six years, Churchill and his cabinet spent the time planning the fight against Adolf Hitler. They met 115 times during the Blitz and the German V-Weapon attacks. As such, the War Rooms had to withstand rigorous bombing, and its workforce was sworn to secrecy.
The Museum is a first of its kind and acts as a time capsule, illuminating a dark time in British history. In 1945, the bunker was sealed, and the secrets within were lost to the public until 4 April 1984. Explore the winding hallways and dimly lit rooms kept as it would have been during WWII. For instance, lifelike figurines are positioned ‘in-motion’ throughout the atmospheric rooms. The Cabinet Rooms best captures the feeling that those within it left abruptly. It features a cigar still perched on an ashtray and the official dispatch box positioned at the centre of tightly arranged desks.
Uncover the underground centre of Britain’s war effort. See the Transatlantic Telephone room disguised as a private toilet, where Churchill and Roosevelt conversed in secret. View the security passes workers carried to clear rigorous security checks. Also, see the map room, which details the advances and retreats of the German army.
The Museum also highlights the working conditions within the bunkers. For instance, Churchill hated any noisy distractions, so his secretaries used adapted typewriters like the American imported ‘Remington Noiseless.’ Discover the stories of his staff first-hand through historical images and audio interviews.
Visit The Churchill Museum to uncover the inner workings of war and diplomacy lead by ‘the greatest Briton,’ Sir Winston Churchill. The museum depicts all ninety years of Churchill’s life. It is divided into five chapters starting from his childhood, through his early years as British Prime Minister, and the period famously known as the ‘Gathering Storm.’
Churchill War Rooms highlights
- — Discover life in Churchill’s bunker and the camaraderie, secrecy, and fear of WWII attacks.
- — The War Cabinet Room includes the Map Room and the Transatlantic Telephone Room, taking you back in time to experience the planning and the plotting of the Second World War.
- — The Churchill Museum is an interactive gallery of Churchill’s life, with a 15m long Lifeline at the centre exhibiting documents, photos and film clips of his famous political reign.
Churchill War Rooms facts
- —Churchill’s War Rooms held 115 meetings in total between 1984 and 28 March 1945 once the German V-weapon bombing campaign came to an end.
- Churchill and many of the workers smoked profusely, and so the air in the bunker was often thick with smog.
- — Following the devastation of World War I, military planners feared up to 200,000 casualties from bombing in the first week of future war. Plans to evacuate the Prime minister, cabinet and essential staff from London were drawn up as early as the 1920s but were held off over fear that the public would feel abandoned.
- — In 1938, the New Public Offices building was chosen primarily because of its durable steel frame and large basement.
- — Due to the prolonged periods of working and living underground, the civilian employees had to strip to their underwear, put on protective goggles, and stand in front of a portable sun lamp. Sun damage was a regular occurrence, and a woman, who forgot to wear her goggles, nearly went blind.
Cabinet War Rooms
For six years, between 1939 and 1945, the Cabinet War Rooms were a series of secret rooms in the basement at the New Public Offices. As a secret shelter for the Prime Minister and the cabinet to control the plotting and planning of the war, they moved into the bunker a week before declaring war on Germany. Learn about the conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt in the Transatlantic Telephone room, and walk through the maze of secret passages that used to buzz with political activity.
Learn about one of Britain’s most powerful men, the British Bulldog, Sir Winston Churchill, through a series of interactive displays outlining his life and rise to power. Listen to extracts from his rousing speeches, read letter exchanges between him and his wife Clementine and discover objects from his childhood. One of Churchill’s earliest paintings is on display as well as film clips and photographs from his eventful ninety years.
Churchill and the Middle East
Explore Churchill’s complicated relationship with the Middle East, which is still heavily debated today. This intimate display that looks at Churchill’s impact and influence on the Middle East through photography, correspondence, annotated maps drawn up by Churchill in 1921, and audio-visual presentations.
Undercover – Life in Churchill’s Bunker
Discover what it was really like in the bunkers of WWII. Learn about the experiences of Churchill and his contemporaries through stories, documents, and interviews from members of his closet staff, including his secretary, Elizabeth Layton. Understand the conditions they lived under, and the shared camaraderie they built due to the imposed secrecy and fear of attack.
Know before you go
- — Churchill War Rooms is in zone 1 of the London Transport Network, so your travel will be included in your package if you opt for The London Pass with travel.
- — Churchill War Rooms is a popular attraction. For the best visitor experience, we recommend visiting from 09.30 - 11.00 or 16.00 - 17.00.
- — An audio guide is included with admission. Choose from English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and Mandarin. Please ask upon arrival to make the most of your visit.
- — A family guide and descriptive guide- for visitors with visual impairment- are also available. Please ask upon arrival to make the most of your visit.
- — There are no cloakrooms at the Churchill War Rooms due to the narrow corridors. Visitors are asked to avoid bringing in large items such as backpacks or suitcases.
How to get there by underground
- — Westminster (Jubilee, District and Circle Lines)
- — St James’s Park (District and Circle Lines)
The Churchill War Rooms is open every day from 9.30 am.
- Normally £22.00 - Included with The London Pass
- Daily from 9.30 am
- Westminster, London