Visit Churchill War Rooms to discover the original Cabinet War Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz. Explore the historic rooms to experience the secret history that lives on underground. Discover the stories of those who worked underground as London was being bombed above them, and then find out more about the life and legacy of Winston Churchill in the interactive Churchill Museum.
The Cabinet War Rooms
Churchill’s wartime bunker is a fascinating piece of living history; an underground maze of rooms that once buzzed with round-the-clock planning and plotting, strategies and secrets. As you explore the historic rooms for yourself, you can imagine what life would have been like during the tense days and nights of the Second World War.
You’ll begin your journey at the War Cabinet Room, where Churchill and his inner circle plotted the war. See the chair in which Churchill presided over meetings, the scratch marks on the arms bearing witness to the intense pressure he was under at these times.
As you go deeper into the warren of rooms, you’ll discover how life and work continued underground, from top-secret conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt in the Transatlantic Telephone Room to more domestic concerns in the Churchills’ Kitchen.
In the Map Room, the informational hub of the entire site, everything has remained exactly as it was when the lights were finally switched off on 16 August 1945. The so-called ‘beauty chorus’ of colour-coded telephones; the books and documents piled on desks; the rationed sugar cubes found in an envelope belonging to Wing Commander John Heagarty; the wartime maps covering the walls, and the thousands of tiny pinholes dotting the progress of Allied ships across the Convoy Map.
Right next door to the Map Room, you’ll find Churchill’s Room, an office-bedroom boasting the most comfortable living conditions within the bunker. Churchill only slept overnight in this room on three occasions, but he did make four of his wartime speeches from the desk here, including his 11 September 1940 speech warning of Hitler’s plan to wage a war of terror against the United Kingdom.
The Churchill Museum
Uncover the man behind the image at the Churchill Museum, the only major museum in the world dedicated to the life and legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. Using cutting-edge technology and multimedia displays, Churchill’s story is brought to life, starting at the high point of his career – his appointment as Prime Minister on 10 May 1940.
Hear extracts from Churchill’s rousing wartime speeches as you stand on the squares to activate Churchill’s voice delivering now-familiar phrases such as ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ and ‘We shall fight them on the beaches’. Nearby stands the original No. 10 door that Churchill walked through after becoming Prime Minister.
A great place to discover more about Churchill’s life is the 15-metre-long interactive Lifeline at the centre of the museum, which covers every year of Churchill’s life and allows you to open documents, photos and film clips as well as find hidden animations.
Surrounding the Lifeline, the displays delve even deeper into Churchill’s life story, focussing in on objects relating to all periods of Churchill’s life from his early childhood to his State Funeral. You can read some of the hundreds of devoted letters Churchill exchanged with his wife Clementine, often using the pet names they gave each other, 'Kat' and 'Pug'. See one of Churchill’s earliest paintings, Plug Street, depicting his billet on the Western Front in 1916; painting was a therapeutic hobby for Churchill, and one he turned to again after his defeat in the 1945 General Election.
You can also explore an interactive model of Churchill’s beloved country home, Chartwell, in Kent, and find out about the circle of friends and supporters he entertained there during his time away from the political limelight in the 1930s. As history knows, Churchill returned to government in September 1939, going on to lead his country through the Second World War with irrefutable authority - his time as war leader is explored through a number of historical objects as well as the iconic personal items that became part of his public image...
About Churchill War Rooms
The Cabinet War Rooms provided the secret underground headquarters for the core of the British government throughout the Second World War.
The fear that London would be the target of aerial bombardment had troubled the government since the First World War and in 1938 the basement of a Whitehall building was chosen as the site for the Cabinet War Rooms. From 1940 – 1945 hundreds of men and women would spend thousands of vital hours here and it soon became the inner sanctum of British government.
Following the surrender of the Japanese Forces the doors to the Cabinet War Rooms were locked on 16 August 1945 and the complex was left undisturbed until Parliament ensured its preservation as a historic site in 1948. Knowledge of the site and access to it remained highly restricted until the late 1970s when the Imperial War Museum began the task of preserving the site and its contents, making them accessible to as wide an audience as possible. In 1984 the main war rooms opened to the public. In 2003 further restoration work opened the ‘Courtyard Rooms’, the rooms where staff would eat, sleep and work in safety.
In 2005 we added the only major museum in the world dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill. Its multimedia and uniquely engaging approach provides visitors with a comprehensive overview of Churchill’s life.
We are open daily from 9.30am - 6pm
Last admission is at 5pm
We are closed on 24, 25 and 26 December
Very occasionally, we may need to close early or unexpectedly. Check our latest closure information and calendar before setting out.
Contact us on 020 7930 6961 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. International callers can contact us on +44 (0)20 7930 6961. You can contact us by textphone on 020 7839 4906 if you have hearing difficulties.
Churchill War Rooms