The Churchill War Rooms

The Prime Minister's Room

The Churchill War Rooms


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.

The War Cabinet Room
The Main Corridor

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 Map Room
The Map Room
Interactive Winston Churchill Lifeline in the Churchill Museum
Interactive Winston Churchill Lifeline in the Churchill Museum

You can see more pictures of the Churchill War Rooms in the Whitehall Flickr album


4 thoughts on “The Churchill War Rooms

  1. Albert

    I have just visited the WWII undergroud headquarters of the British command in Singapore It was there that the decision to abandon/surrender Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 was made. As you might imagine there was significant interaction bwteen the two bunkers in the lead up to the decision, the blame for which was laid on the local commader who in reality had no choice but to surrender. .. but that’s another story.

    1. Malcolm Post author

      My dad was in Singapore (amongst other places), but not at the time of the surrender. I think it was when Singapore was liberated, but it could have been in the build up, I’m not sure

  2. Don Porsché

    When I was in high school I read all six of his volumes on the Second World War with great interest, so I’ll make a point of visiting the war rooms. Your photos remind me of the Surrender Museum in Reims, France.


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