This is part of my series of posts about museums in London visited on my last trip there. You can check out the last post about the London Transport Museum here! The Churchhill War Rooms are something I was really looking forward to visiting, and fortunately, our travelling companions were excited as well.
The Churchill War Rooms consists of the Cabinet War rooms, which are the actual bunker below the streets of Westminster where the cabinet met, worked, lived for days at a time and ran the war. The other portion of the exhibit is the Churchill Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the politician.
The Cabinet War Rooms are the highlight, and the most impressive part of the museum. We were greeted with a 20 minute presentation by a volunteer who gave us background on the war and life in London during the blitz. He explained that the Cabinet War Rooms were locked when the war was declared over, and essentially left as they were (barring the removal of some classified documents, and the addition of a few mannequins and glass walls). Even the sugar ration found in an officer’s desk remains.
The audioguides were great, and although the passages are narrow, and the exhibit popular it wasn’t uncomfortably crowded because they limit the amount of people allowed in at one time. Interviews with typists and other workers who spent days at a time holed up in the bunker were really interesting, and actually seeing the rooms and reading about the men who made the decisions was pretty fascinating. You learn about Churchill’s guilty pleasures (good food, booze and cigars) and see the desk where speeches for the BBC were conducted. You learn about encryption techniques and cutting edge (at the time) technology that was used.
The museum is interesting too, and has many Churchill artefacts, including a jumpsuit. It follows his career prior to and after WWII, which I didn’t know much about prior to visiting.
You could easily spend a few hours at this attraction, even if you aren’t a history buff, and I’d definitely recommend it!
Tickets are £19, but if you’ve travelled by train, you can use the Days Out Guide 2 for 1 offer when you show your national rail tickets.