In the past several years, thanks especially to popular movies and TV series, there’s been a surge in World War II-era curiosity. Visiting the intensely interesting Churchill War Rooms ranks as one of the coolest museum experiences, even if military museums aren’t your thing. This is the underground bunker—-right under the City of London— that Winston Churchill and government staff used during the war, and you can experience it for yourself, No security clearances required!
It’s one of my favorite museums in England. Read on to find out what makes it so remarkable.
Please note: Oftentimes, my objective is to give you an overview of certain destinations, as opposed to specific details, so as not to spoil your expectations before you visit.
(Also, I’ve increased the font size on some of my newer posts, to make for easier reading. Please let me know if this is helpful to you, in the comments at the end of the post. Thank you.)
(Approximate location: Across from St. James’ Park, near Westminster Abbey. From Westminster Tube Station, walk towards St. James’ Park)
To give the public a better understanding of its daily operations during the war years, the rooms were left intact just as they were when vacated on V-E Day in May 1945.
Experience walking around this former base of the infamous Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his dedicated staff, whose strength of character and mighty leadership kept Great Britain out of the clutches of the Nazis. Imagine yourself as one of these vital staff members working in these surroundings.
All ages will enjoy exploring the tunnels to see what is waiting around each turn.
Personally, I loved the interactive exhibits—both ‘old-fashioned’ —such as picking up a 1940’s era telephone and hearing the actual voice of one of the War Rooms’ secretaries—and modern (state-of-the-art-technology included)!
The addition of some fine wax figures help recreate what life was like during the harrowing time when German bombing raids were happening above on street level.
You’ll feel as if you’ve been granted special access and privileges as you view Churchill’s own makeshift bedroom and more, as he and his staff worked long days and nights in the early 1940’s towards an Allied win.
Don’t leave until you’ve seen and experienced the newer exhibits, which include mesmerizing, interactive technology featuring Churchill’s life via his military adventures, writings, speeches and more. This was a fabulous and fun addition for all to enjoy.
Reward yourself with a stop in the cafe, whose delicious menu is based on recipes from the wartime era (think Victory Garden!) and some of which are quintessentially British. Try their tasty soup or Shepherd’s pie. The Cornish clotted cream and scones with tea, London stout gingerbread, or Bakewell tarts are sure to please, too.
Note: Get to the cafe early enough, as they stop serving hot food earlier than you think.
Vegetarian and a few gluten-free options are also available.
The gift shop has many options for everyone, particularly the history buff.
I hope you find the museum to be one-of-a-kind and well worth including in your London itinerary.
**Please note: Finding the entrance can be tricky, so be prepared with clear directions to alleviate any confusion, and remember to…
Look for this:
Always check the Churchill Museum’s website for hours of operation.
Sir Winston Churchill rallied the British during some of the lowest moments of the Second World War. He also made some heart-wrenching decisions to aid the cause of freedom.
It is fitting that due to their collected efforts and great perseverance, we are free to walk through these underground halls to get an idea of the British government’s behind-the-scenes operation into one of mankind’s biggest struggles of the modern age. Greatness & courage walked through here.
Let me know your thoughts about this out-of-the-ordinary London attraction in the Comments section below.
I’ll end this post with some Churchill humor:
"I am ready to meet my Maker.
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."