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Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms in London

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In the heart of Westminster, a short walk from Downing Street, the Churchill War Rooms invite visitors on a journey through history to discover the secret bunker where Winston Churchill set up his command post during the Second World War.

⚓ Captain Ulysses’ favourites in London ⚓

👉 Accommodation, flights, activities, city pass … Find all the Captain’s suggestions at the very end of the article!

👉 Want to know more about London’s history? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free tour of the city.
You’re free to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!

Brief history of the Churchill War Rooms

The bunker before the war

At the end of the 1930s, the need to build secret underground headquarters in London where the political and military powers could take refuge if war were to be declared became more and more pressing.

The construction of the secret command post began in 1938 under the British Treasury building, Whitehall, and was completed on August 27, 1939, a week before Britain declared war on Germany.

Churchill’s bunker during the war

In October 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain held the first war council in the War Rooms. Following his election in May 1940, Churchill, now Prime Minister, took over the War Rooms to direct the war effort underground, sheltered from German bombing.

The same year, during the London Blitz, the walls were reinforced with concrete (some are 1.50 meters thick), and the infrastructures were extended the following year to accommodate new offices and dormitories.

If Churchill had his very own bedroom in the War Rooms, he rarely slept in the bunker during the war and mostly preferred to return to 10 Downing Street.

In August 1945, the Japanese surrender marked the end of the war: the Churchill War Rooms were closed and Churchill and his advisors are finally were able to rule the country from more convential offices, in broad daylight!

The Churchill War Rooms after the war

Three years after the end of the war, the Churchill War Rooms became a national monument. But the bunker was open to the public much later, in 1984.

Churchill War Rooms

Visiting the Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are divided into two distinct spaces:

  • Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms and Bunker, where visitors can explore some of the rooms where Churchill and his advisers carried out the war effort away from broad daylight
  • The Churchill Museum , retracing the turbulent life of the man some go so far as to call “the greatest of Britons”: Sir Winston Churchill

The Cabinet War Rooms .

The Cabinet War Rooms comprise some thirty rooms which visitors are free to explore to discover the daily life of Winston Churchill and his advisers during World War II.

Some rooms are particularly striking.

Cabinet War Room

115 strategic meetings were held in this very room between 1940 and 1945. When he first entered this room the day after he was elected Prime Minister, Churchill is said to have declared: “this is the room from from which I will lead the war”.

Churchill War Rooms - Map Room

Map Room

The Map Room is one of the most striking rooms in the Churchill War Rooms.

Here, army officers followed at all hours the advance of the troops around the world to provide detailed reports to Churchill, as well as to the king and the chiefs of staff.

The maps currently exhibited in the Map Room are authentic and are the very same that British officers were working on when the Japanese army surrendered in 1945.

Transatlantic Telephone Room

This tiny room may not look like much at first sight (believe it or not, it’s actually an old broom closet!), but it did play a key role during the Second World War.

The Transatlantic Telephone Room indeed allowed Winston Churchill to have a direct and secure line to contact his American counterpart Franklin Roosevelt.

Churchill’s bunker

Churchill’s bunker corresponds to the living quarters of Churchill and his advisors. Churchill’s wife, Clementine Churchill, even had her very own room.

Adjacent to the Prime Minister’s bedroom, a small room appointed with broadcasting equipment allowed Churchill to address the entire nation in speeches transmitted by the BBC. The Prime Minister adressed the nation on 4 different occasions from this small room during the war.

Churchill War Rooms - Bedoom

The Churchill Museum

Ludic and interactive, the Churchill Museum is dedicated to the long life of the iconic British Prime Minister, from his childhood to his death in January 1965 at the age of 90.

Speeches, letters, personal items, photographs, archive films illustrate Churchill’s extraordinary and eventful journey.

‘We are all worms but I do believe that I am a glow-worm’

‘We are all worms, but I am convinced that I am a glow worm’

Winston Churchill

Access

Getting to the Churchill War Rooms

To discover the Churchill War Rooms, head to the heart of the district of Westminster, in Whitehall, a short walk from Downing Street.

Address: Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ

The nearest subway stations are St James’s Park (Circle and District lines) and Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines).

Hop-on hop-off buses also stop near the Churchill War Rooms.

ℹ️ For information ℹ️
The Churchill War Rooms are easily accessible to visitors with reduced mobility.

Opening hours of the Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are open every day of the year (except December 24, 25 and 26) from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entry at 5 p.m.).

Captain Ulysses recommends allowing at least one hour and a half for the visit, more if you want to take your time!

Admission

Adults
16 to 64 years old
£23
Children
5 to 15 years old
£11.5
Families #1
1 adult and up to 3 children
£42
Families #2
2 adults and up to 6 children
£60
Reduced fares
Seniors over 65, students, people with disabilities
£18.4

The ticket also includes an audio guide available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hebrew and Mandarin.

Skip-the-line ticket to the Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms attract quite a lot of visitors and the queue at the entrance can be quite long!

Captain Ulysses therefore recommends booking a skipthe -line ticket on the internet.

💵 🤩 👍 London Pass & London Explorer Pass 👍 🤩 💵
Access to the Churchill War Rooms is also included in the London Pass and the London Explorer Pass. Captain Ulysses tends to prefer the former, which includes access to 80 attractions, among which many of London’s most iconic monuments and museums (The Tower of London, The Shard, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, the London Bridge Experience, Windsor Castle, a cruise on the Thames, a day of sightseeing in a hop-on hop-off bus, etc): an investment that will no doubt pay off if you’re staying a few days in London!

For Churchill’s admirers

If visiting the Churchill War Rooms isn’t enough to satisfy your insatiable curiosity and you want to know more about the emblematic Prime Minister, Captain Ulysses recommends going on a guided tour following Churchill’s footsteps.

The Captain recommends this tour in particular: guided tour of Westminster and the Churchill War Rooms.

And the most avid history buffs might be interested in this tour departing from London and going to Churchill’s Kent home: Chartwell House: Winston Churchill’s Home Tour.

👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!


Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions in London!

🛏️ Accommodation: Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com to book your accommodation in London. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: you will no doubt find exactly what you need!
If you’re running on a tight budget, the Captain recommends looking in Paddington or Kensington where accommodations are generally more affordable than in the centre and the location is quite convenient.
If you can afford it, the Park Plaza London Riverbank is a really nice option.
And if you’re looking for a chic boutique hotel in London, the Captain most definitely recommends the Goring: it is an iconic property right in the centre of London.

🎟️ Activities: to book visits and activities in London, the Captain recommends GetYourGuide, Civitatis and Tiqets. Skip-the-line tickets, cruises, guided tours, activities… You’ll undoubtedly find everything you need… and more! Keep in mind that London is a very touristy city: if you want to avoid queuing for hours, skip-the-line tickets are great time savers!

🎫 Citypass: if you’re planning on spending a few days in the capital, Captain Ulysses recommends investing in a city pass which will give you access to the capital’s top attractions. There are 2 options: the London Explorer Pass and the London Pass (which also includes a 1-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour.). These passes have 2 major advantages: the discounts and the skip-the-line accesses. These passes have 2 major perks: the discounts and the skip-the-line accesses.

🚐 Transfers: London is a sprawling city and the airports are quite distant from the city center. If you want to avoid spending hours in public transports to get to your hotel, you should consider booking a transfer from the airport. A car will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you wherever you want in the city centre. Find out more here.

🚌 Local transport: given the size of London, there’s no avoiding taking public transport. The good news is that they the underground and the bus network are quite easy to navigate! You can also opt for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour, which includes an audioguide and stops at the main attractions and monuments in the city.

✈️ Flights: to get to London, there are plenty of options: planes, buses, trains and even ferries. For your flights, the Captain highly recommends Skyscanner: you’ll be able to compare multiple offers to find the best deal for the dates on which you’re planning on traveling. If your dates are flexible, you will even be able to compare prices over several weeks in order to find THE best deal. London is also easily accessible by bus and train. To book your trips, the Captain warmly recommends Trainline, a platform on wich you can book your train trips in 44 different countries with 207 train and bus companies, including Eurostar.


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