Cabinet War Rooms (Churchill War Rooms), London

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 Reviews

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  • The Map Room
    The Map Room
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    The Prime Minister's Room
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    Churchill War Rooms

    by EasyMalc Written Sep 17, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not as conspicuous as the nearby Houses of Parliament or Westminster Abbey, Churchill’s War Rooms is a must see for anyone interested in where Britain’s top brass and politicians directed the Second World War from.
    Even before the outbreak of war, it was decided that these decision makers wouldn’t abandon London and its people, and so the basement of the Office of Works building opposite St. James’s Park, was adapted and strengthened to suit its new purpose.
    Officially known as the ‘New Public Offices‘, but unofficially as just ‘George St’, the corridors of this subterranean nerve centre, became a bunker with a cabinet war room, private rooms for the prime minister and chiefs of staff, a map room where plans were worked out and several other rooms that would help to facilitate the war effort. From 27th August 1939 until the lights finally went out on 15th August 1945, a total of 115 cabinet meetings were held here.
    At the end of the war the rooms were left just as they were, and in 1948 they were given the status of a historic site. In 1981, the incumbent Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, decreed that the public should have access to this historic site and the Imperial War Museum opened the doors to the Cabinet War Rooms in 1984. In 2005 the Churchill Museum was added.
    It’s not particularly cheap to visit, but you certainly won’t feel short changed if you have an interest in this part of Britain’s history. The corridors and rooms are fascinating, and the Winston Churchill Museum includes many of his personal items and also an interactive ‘Lifeline’ of the ‘greatest person in British history’ (BBC television poll in 2002).
    It’s suggested that you allow an hour and a half to visit this museum, but I would suggest that you allow more than that.
    Photography is allowed, but not always easy due to the nature of the building and the numbers of visitors if you choose a busy time to come.
    All the relevant information about opening times and entry fees are on the website, but remember that if you arrive in London by train there is often a 2for1 offer available.
    I have no hesitation in recommending this remarkable, authentic and historically interesting museum.

    The Prime Minister's Room The War Cabinet Room The Map Room Winston Churchill's 'Lifeline'
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    CABINET WAR ROOMS AND CHURCHILL MUSEUM

    by davidjo Written Dec 4, 2012

    The Churchill Museum is one of five branches of the Imperial War Museum which comprises of the War Cabinet rooms where the Government had their underground command centre during WWII. Work began under the Treasury Building in 1938 and were completed in 1939 just as the war started, but were vacated after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. In the 80's the rooms (12,000 sq.m.) were handed over to the Imperial War Museum who administered the sit and opened them up to the public. Recently they have been refurbished and now known simply as the Churchill War Rooms.
    There were dormitories for the workers, private rooms for the top brass and ministers, telephone operator's rooms, and the Transatlantic Telephone Room , nearby Churchill's office/bedroom so he could talk to U.S. President Roosevelt.

    open Mon-Fri 9.30am - 6 pm Adults £14.95, under 16 free

    The sign says it all Arch from Whitehall leading to the war rooms
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    Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum

    by zadunajska8 Updated Jan 1, 2012

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    This place was the secret underground headquarters of Britain's war effort during the second world war. Built underground to protect from bombs, in typically British fashion it was almost certainly not strong enough to withstand a bomb being dropped on it! Fortunately this was never actually tested.

    It's an interesting place and you do get a feel for how life must have been in this intense and active place when Britain was facing an enemy which looked set to invade imminently. A great deal of the focus is upon Winston Churchill himself as the war leader and in fact a large area is given over to being a "Churchill museum". Whilst this is interesting the main point about this is how innovative it is. There is a lot of interactivity here and the 15 metre long table which is actually an interactive "lifeline" of Churchill is something I have never seen anything like before.

    It's well worth a visit but it's not cheap at £16.50 per adult. If you are a member of English Heritage you get 2 adult tickets for the price of 1 however, which helped us. This isn't advertised anywhere at the ticket office so you need to know to ask. we only knew about it from the annual book of listings sent out by English Heritage.

    Interactive Lifeline at the Churchill Museum Entrance to the Cabinet War Rooms at Clive Steps Cabinet War Rooms -Chiefs of Staff Conference Room The Churchill Museum Cabinet War Rooms
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    Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum

    by MikeBird Written Oct 10, 2011

    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.

    Operatives in the control centre Churchill's underground bedroom
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    Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum

    by Manara Updated Nov 9, 2009

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    The Cabinet War Rooms were already an extremely interesting attraction, but they have become even more interesting with the addition of the Churchill Museum.
    This is the place (top secret at that time) where Churchill and his Cabinet worked during the II World War, at least when the bombings were at their worst.
    It is a fascinating journey back in time. The audio-guides (included in the entrance fee) are a great help. They even include excerpts from the memoirs of people who worked there, dialogues (impersonated by actors, but based on transcriptions of real dialogues) between Churchill and President Roosevelt, and between Churchill and Lord Alanbrooke.
    Now from these rooms visitors can access the Churchill Museum. Posters and pictures narrate his biography, and it is possible to see documents and objects that belonged to the great statesman.
    Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
    Entrance fee for adults, combining War Cabinet Rooms and Chrchill Museum, is 11 GBP, for students and seniors it is 9 GBP, free for children under 16.

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    cabinet war rooms. ready to attack!

    by ukirsari Written Dec 5, 2008

    again, i got my dad's influence at this point. another of his british idols is sir winston churchill. so here we are. visit cabinet war rooms. a museum dedicated to churchill's role during the world war II.

    cabinet war rooms is annexed to prime minister's residency at downing street nr 10. it's a bunker where churchill stay when the war spread out through europe.

    how serious but funny and witty sir churchill was, can be seen by photographs and memorabilia. such as a bloody big map of europe with sketches of adolf hitler made from pencil at the center. or, churchill's hobby to witnessing the bombardier of london city by enemies from atop of his bunker! another fine example is a description about churchill's collection: maps. so, different with other people who like to put wallpaper on, he prefer to cover his bedroom with maps. he can still learn before fallen asleep.

    cabiner war rooms (c) ukirsari
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    Churchill Museum and War Rooms

    by karenincalifornia Written Nov 16, 2008

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    The Churchill Museum is just off Whitehall. It provides an excellent history of Churchill's life, his living and working arrangements during WWII and his life afterwards. You can see the maps rooms, Churchill's bedroom, Mrs. Churchill's bedroom, and the super secret secure green phone. This is a must for all war buffs. It definitely holds interest for everyone else, too.

    Churchill Museum
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    Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum

    by Sjalen Written May 3, 2007

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    The Cabinet War Rooms is another of the Imperial War Museum's annex museums and a really fascinating place since this is where Churchill and his War cabinet plotted for victory in WWII. You can visit the Cabinet room where they met but also the Map room where things have been left exactly as they were when the war finished and so, the room is full of maps on the walls and information on troops. Churchill slept in a room next door when he had to spend the night here due to bomb alerts and such and you can see the bedroom as well as the old broom cupboard transformed into the Transatlantic telephone room where messages where secretly transferred to a huge switch at Selfridges department store in Oxford street, deciphered and sent on to the president in the US so the two leaders could plan strategies.

    You will also find the recently developed Churchill Museum which tells you all you want to know about the great statesman, starting with 1940 to take you to a logical start after the Cabinet War rooms.

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    Cabinet War Rooms

    by rexvaughan Updated Aug 15, 2006

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    This is a fascinating group of rooms which constituted the underground headquarters of the British government when London was under attack. It is fortified with 3 foot thick walls of concrete and of course is under ground and accessible during the war only from the offices above. Everything was left in place at the end of the war so you walk through a 1945 time warp and see where Churchill slept and even his chamber pot. It is an interesting and educational view of the map room and the nerve center of England's war effort. Admission is around 5 pounds.

    The entry shows the way it probably looked during WWII with sandbags still fortifying the door and front walls.

    Entrance to the Cabinet War Rooms
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    Churchill's Britain at War Experience

    by Airpunk Written May 27, 2006

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    Churchill's Britain at War Exprience is a museum showing life in London in the years between 1940 and 1945 in London when Britain was in war with the Axis powers: Germany, Italy and Japan. Beside that, it has a collection of items of that times as well as some audio recordings from speeches of that time.

    When you enter the exhibition via an old elevator, you will find yourself in a shelter room where you will see a documentray film about Britain in the second World War. The film is interesting but a little long so that many visitors leave before it ends and continue to the exhibition. The second part shows items such as uniforms or newspapers from those years explaining how the loss of family members and citizens as well as the destruction of the city affected life in those years. Although the collection is not really big, this part is informative and nice to see. It gives you a perspective on the second world war from the eye of London citizens.The third part, called "The Blitz" is thought to be the "real experience": A room where you can see how it looked like in the destroyed city. It's dark in there and smokey so that you want to quit this experience and just get out of that room (you can skip that if you do not want to see it).

    I felt a little disappointed by the "Blitz" which was seen by them as the highlight of the museum. The film and the small exhibition were far better in my eyes. I can't say if the War Cabinet Rooms can be compared with this museum or are a totally differrent thing. Anyway, this museum is nice if you are interested in this part of european history, but surely not as good to be a "must do".

    Churchill's Britain at War Experience WW2 poster in front of the museum
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    Cabinet War Rooms

    by unexplored Written Feb 26, 2006

    In 1938, in anticipation of Nazi air raids, the basement of the civil service buildings on the south side of King Charles Street were converted into the Cabinet War Rooms. It was here that Winston Churchill directed operations and held cabinet meetings for the duration of World War II. The rooms have been left pretty much as they were when they were finally abandoned on VJ Day 1945, and make for an atmospheric underground tour through wartime London. To bring the place to life, help yourself to the museum's free acoustophone commentary which includes various eyewitness accounts by people who worked there.

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  • The Cabinet War Rooms

    by Mariajoy Updated Jan 29, 2006

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    The Cabinet War Rooms were the secret underground nerve centre for Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his war cabinet during World War II. Although reinforced with 6 inch thick concrete slabs, it was still doubted that these hidden chambers would withstand a direct bomb hit - but this was never put to the test!

    It was here in these tiny, dark and very atmospheric rooms and tunnels that he and his War cabinet, ministers, typists, telephonists, and cartographers etc etc worked relentlessly during the air-raids. His wife also chose to live down here with him (although they had separate bedrooms - both on display to the visitor). With every detail beautifully reconstructed to 1940-45 style, this is a fascinating activity for a rainy afternoon in London.

    Make sure you don't miss the newly opened (Feb 05) Churchill Museum. Using audio-visual effects, this a highly interactive museum dedicated to the life of the "Greatest Briton" and explains the history and world politics leading up to WWII. You will also see here various personal items belonging to the Churchills, including his silk night-shirt, his trade-mark bowler hat, the cigars he smoked, letters from his wife, as well as maps, photos, letters, books, ancient film footage, radio broadcasts ( his command of speech and language were considered to be his most powerful weapon!)

    Half way around your tour of the museum is a small cafe selling sandwiches, cakes, biscuits tea, coffee and cold drinks. At the end of the tour which should take around 2 hours depending on how long you take over each exhibit, there is a rather special gift shop, where you can buy a replica Churchill Pen and Ink writing set for £350. I was told they sell about 5-6 sets a year!

    Opening times:

    Daily 9.30-18.00 (last entry at 17.00)
    Closed 24-26 Dec

    Adult ticket £10.00

    Winston Churchill A War Minister's Desk The Map Room Entrance to the War Rooms

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  • WWII and Winston Churchill at its best!!!

    by CDNgirl Updated Jan 22, 2006

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    My very favorite museum is the Cabinet War Rooms in London. This is where Winston Churchill basically ran the government during the war. I love all things World War II, and they've changed very little, and most of it is authentic for the time. The audio tour is fantastic, and it's just the BEST!! It was one of the first things I took my mom to when we came to London, and she loved it too.

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    Visit the WWII Cabinet War Rooms

    by AKtravelers Written Nov 8, 2005

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    One of the smaller, less crowded but more interesting attractions in London are Winston Churchill's wartime underground headquarters -- known as the Cabinet War Rooms. These secret facilities were the nerve center of the British War effort, and were connected to the Prime Minister's house by a stairway allowing Churchill access at any time. The facility had several rooms for different functions, almost all related to funneling communications to the Cabinet and disseminating orders from it. In one room, you can actually see one of the telephones that connected Churchill and Roosevelt. With your entry fee, you get an audio tour a which allows you to listen to as many or as few narratives as you want. Unfortunately, most of the bestrooms are behind glass, so many of my photos didn't come out.

    The dining hall for the chiefs of staff
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    The Underground Cabinet War Rooms

    by 807Wheaton Updated Oct 29, 2005

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    This is one attraction that could very easily be missed. We were completely fascinated by seeing the subterranean chambers used by Winston Churchill, his cabinet and military advisers during the worst of the German bombing raids in the Second World War. At the end of the war the doors were shut and everything was left as it was for nearly 40 years.
    All the maps they used are still on display, the memos and correspondance from Churchill to Franklin Roosevelt are all there; all you have to do is step into it to be transported back in time.
    Now over 250,000 people a year pass through the war rooms. It was a remarkable experience and I'm glad we knew about it before we left London the last time we were there.
    The War Rooms continue to expand and as recently as 2003 nine rooms called The Churchill Suite were opened to othe public.

    Cabinet War Rooms used by Churchill During WWII

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