Amazing. Not only are you learning the history but you are in the place the history happened. It is remarkable that it is so well preserved and so much has been done to present it to the public.
The entrance is at the eastern end of St James Park, on the opposite side from Buckingham Palace, and just south of 10 Downing Street. Understanding the geography is important--it's location, underground, near the PM's residence and so many war-time offices explains it's location. After seeing the exhibit, it's necessity and place in WWII history becomes clear.
There is a recorded tour that you do at your own pace. This is a change from years ago when it was a guided tour. You follow a determined path through the corridors of the cramped basement. Most rooms have an audio explanation.
Early on, your tour detours into the Churchill museum. There, you learn about the man, his upbringing as the son of a wealthy Lord, and his path to becoming Great Britain's most important leader of the 20th century. This section alone, in a dark room where only the exhibits light up, are a wonder. There is a brilliant mix of artifacts, letters and interactive/media elements. They even have his hat, and an actual 1/2 smoked cigar.
After an hour or so with Churchill, your tour continues through the labyrinth of this sub basement command center. You see the places people slept, private offices, kitchen and war-time map rooms.
Expect to wait to get in--but it is well worth it and a must see.
Used my student ID (I'm not a student)
This is another place that falls under "prepare to wait in line" city but if you are interested in WW2 history this is the place to go!
It's all underground and it's amazing to think of what was actually going on here during the way!
I recommend this to everybody. Wear comfy shoes- obviously you will be walking a lot.
Pro tip- It is right near the Royal Horse Guards
Could've Spent Hours!
As a history student, I could've spent hours there. I've only put 1 to 2 hours here because that's about what it should take if you're on a casual visit! Well worth the entry fee - it includes a free audio guide for you to listen to along the way. All of the rooms are set up to look as they would have back during the war and the information just blows your mind. There's actually a sugar supply (three cubes of sugar) from the desk of a commanding officer that they found. STILL IN THE DESK. Crazy! Just little facts like that make this museum worth it. Also, the Winston Churchill museum section is just packed with info! The timeline alone could take ages if you read everything.
Visited January 2013
I really enjoyed the tour here. It's a bit pricey, but I had missed it on my first few visits to London and I now regret it - I'm not a major, major history buff but I've always been intrigued with the story of London during the Blitz, and this museum more than satisfied my curiosity. Lots of interactive displays that made me feel like I was in the thick of things down there underground with everyone.
I do wish it were possible to enter many of the rooms that were set up with cots and desks and things - you just get to peer into those. The audio guide was well done and the gift shop was actually a ton of fun. (I ended up taking home a postcard that says "CHILDREN ARE SAFER IN THE COUNTRY. LEAVE THEM THERE." :-D
This was a great museum. It was very interesting to be in the actual rooms where Churchill made some of the biggest decisions during the war. The museum is full of information on the day to day of the war rooms and of Churchill's life. Many of the original furniture is set up as it was in the 1940's - it is very fascinating! It wasn't very busy, however I can imagine in the holidays or summer it would be quiet busy which could make it unpleasant in the small corridors. Overall, it was very interesting, it was interactive and for a person not overly interested in history, it kept me entertained for hours!
I liked the Churchill War Rooms, but didn't love them.
You do get to walk through the bunkers where pivotal war decisions were made. And each room has mannequins decked out in uniform. But each room had a plexiglass window, which separates you from the experience pretty significantly.
I would have liked to have known more about everything.
* Specifically what was decided here?
* How did the telephone scrambler work?
* What happened in each room?
* How did they decide to build the bunkers here?
* What kind of secrecy did they have to protect themselves?
Sometimes, the audio guide gives you answers, mostly not.
Does this place offer a chance to learn more from living veterans? That would be a nice addition.
I had to rush through the museum since my time was extremely limited, so I may have enjoyed this more if I was able to linger. In the end, the experience left me cold.
Also, $27/person? Yowch!
We spent ten days in London and this was one of the highlights (if not the very highlight) of our trip. I'm a huge History buff and found the Churchill War Rooms to be awe-inspiring. As the space is the real bunkers that Churchill used in during the Blitz, the space is unconventional for a museum, which adds to the character of the place. It's was amazing to be standing in the real-deal.
Beyond exploring the rooms in the bunker, there is a larger room (not sure what the original purpose was) that houses exhibits on Churchill's life. There are many interactive exhibits and videos. I learned a lot of new things about Churchill, such as his passion for painting!
The museum is self-guided with a very comprehensive audio guide. We arrived two hours prior to closing and it wasn't nowhere near enough time. We were very rushed towards the end. Allow 3-4 hours to explore without feeling hurried. There is a lot of information to soak in. Also, don't come at the end of the day, as everyone was being ushered towards the exit in the last forty-five minutes and there was a huge crowd in the last part of the museum.
We had heard great things about the Churchill War room and wanted to check it out. For £13, it was a little steep.
It took us about 30 minutes to go through the exhibit. Yes, it was neat and interesting to see how Churchill conducted business during WWII, I thought there were better things to see and do while in London.
I'd probably pass the next time.
You definitely get your money's worth. In 2013, It's £17.00 for adults, and the audio guide is included in the price.
This was only the 2nd museum of our trip (if you count Edinburgh Castle) but with all the information on the walls, through the exhibits and interactive displays, and from the audio guide, it was as much as we could handle. We only spend the morning there (10am-11:45), but we felt that we'd seen as much as needed. If you wanted to read every morsel and complete every display, it could easily take a full day, which is why they have a cafe.
The Cabinet War Rooms, open since the 70's, are displayed in a way that makes you feel part of it, without too much educational embellishment and no multimedia. With everything left mostly as it was when the war ended or rearranged to be a few years earlier in the war, complete with mannequins, I imagine it's what it really felt like, without the threat of bombs overhead. There is a full wall of paraphenalia and quotes leading to the Churchill Museum, which gets quite crowded as the space becomes busier.
The Churchill Museum, opened in 2005, will send you into sensory overload. It's never more than a few feet to another button to push or pull out to read or speech to be broadcast when you activate a motion sensor. It thoroughly covers Churchill's life, though it starts with the war, goes through the end of his life, then back through his birth, his military action, and his early involvement in politics. You can try on some hats similar to his. You can practice reading code concerning war time operations. You can see his Nobel Prize for literature, as well as his rompers. Everything you could wish to know about Churchill could be found in the this space.
The space is kept quite cold (underground and concrete all around), so I imagine it would be nice on a hot day, and if it's not a hot day, be prepared. There's a sizable gift shop with lots of Churchill and war memorabilia. The staff was friendly. The toilets were mostly clean.
I recommend you add it to your list of London activities.
I've done this museum twice, and I have never been disappointed. The museum comprises of the actual war rooms that were used during World War II. The rooms were left the way they were during the war. The pins are on the maps still.
It's a self-guided audio tour that includes the museum about Churchill's life as well. That is a bit awkward as it breaks up the path through the war rooms.
It takes about two hours to see all of the museum. There is a cafe in the middle of it as well as a gift-shop at the end.
Right near Embankment and Westminster Tube Stations. The entrance borders St. James' PArk.
A really interesting look into the past. The war rooms are well worth a visit. The rooms themselves have been left exactly as they were in 1940's Britain. The audio guide makes the tour really informative. The rooms also include the Churchill museum, which looks at the life of Churchill. The Churchill museum badly needs direction arrows though, as it's confusing trying to navigate to each audio point. This is not the case with the war rooms, which are well sign posted. Come and visit. You won't be disappointed.
I'd say you have to be somewhat of a history buff to enjoy this place, but honestly everyone should take a few hours and visit this museum. This is actually where Churchill and a multitude of others ran the Second World War. The entrance fee is somewhat steep (I believe 15 or 20 pounds) but it was worth it. One thing that shocked me was how the war rooms really were not that far underground. I thought we would be going down multiple flights of stairs or elevators but the predominance of the rooms were only at basement level. The museum explains that one well place German bomb would likely have wiped out the place. Everyone is given an audio device which was actually very helpful. I normally hate the things, but this one explained parts of the facility and the war that I would have never known. There is a separate museum inside of the war rooms completely about Churchill and it was fascinating. Walking around the war rooms themselves was amazing and I could only imagine what it had been like during the war. We probably spent 3 or 4 hours in here and it was completely worth it. If you are in a group, organize a time to meet up by the exit. We didn't and found ourselves scattered throughout the museum. There is so much to see and much of the museum is very dark that you will get separated from your group easily.
If you are interested in history (and especially World War 2, then you should visit the Churchill War Rooms. It's where Churchill actually ran the war fighting the Germans. There are many original and refurbished rooms from the war. Also, the new portion of the Churchill Museum really gives you a complete picture of what a great man PM Winston Churchill was.
Your tour comes with an audio tour.
Once again, if you like history fan, I would recommend it!
This review may be a little biased. I'm not going to come out and say that I'm obsessed with Winston Churchill, but my husband and I are the proud owners of a cat named Winston Purrchill, so, you've been warned. This was my second visit to the War Rooms, the first was in 1999. Since that time they've added a Churchill Museum to the original tour of the war rooms and it's just spectacular. You really get a sense of what it was like for Churchill and members of the cabinet during the Blitz. It's a thoroughly informative and moving exhibit, and a must see if you happen to be in London for any length of time.
This museum is a hidden gem! I came here with my history buff of a boyfriend. Since we visited on a Monday, there was no line. We put on our headsets and walked through the self-guided tour. This museum is very clearly laid out and filled with such rich history. It's one things to view pretty paintings on the wall, but it's a completely different experience to physically walk through a piece of history.
My favorite part of the museum was the interactive room. It was filled with in-depth news coverage of WWII, pieces of Churchill's wardrobe, vintage photographs, and behind the scenes looks of the Churchill family. I also loved browsing the WWII propaganda posters in the gift shop. I think we spent 90 mins there, but I could have definitely spent more time there.
The Churchill War Rooms is a must-see for history and WWII fanatics.
Pro-tip: The museum offers concessions for students yay!
One of my friends convinced me to stop here while I was visiting London. This was one of the coolest historic sites I've seen not only in London, but anywhere I've been.
It was really cheap to get in given the amount of time you could spend down there. Once you're in you get a free audio tour, or perhaps the cost is built into the admission price. The audio is fun to follow, but there's also a truckload of other things you can do while you're there. You could literally spend hours just going through the gigantic touch screen of the war progression.
There were plenty of videos and other murals/explanation boards that walked you through the war with Germany. There were also plenty of places to sit if you need a few minutes to rest your feet as I often do.
If you're taking pictures, remember to turn your flash off so it doesn't reflect off of the glass!
I would highly recommend you give this a visit.
Possibly my favorite museum in London. Lots of places to sit. Creative interactive exhibits. Short films with actual footage from WWII. You can see the actual furniture from that time in the actual rooms. You can hear Churchill's speeches recorded as he gave them. Wheelchair accessible (not often the case in London).
The war rooms themselves were only so-so. I guess you can't squeeze that many interesting tidbits out of some old musty rooms. But the Churchill Museum contained within was great. Watching newsreels of Churchill grubbing with RAF officers, looking at his old cigars, clothes, and accessories, and reading some of his letters to his wife was fascinating. We left the museum fascinated about this larger-than-life hero!
I thought this was one of the best museums I have ever visited! If you are a WWII history buff this is the place to go. Plan on spending a few hours here and then head off to the pub. Very well done indeed!
I've always liked Military History and coming here is a must if you also like cool military stuff or if you want to know a little bit more about Winston Churchill and his contribution to ending the 2nd World War.
Entrance here is pretty cheap but if you have the London Pass, then your entrance fee is waived. As you walk in through the halls here, you are walking in the same foot steps of many high Generals and Winston Churchill himself as this place was the Command and Control center during parts of WW2. And when WW2 was finally declared over, they closed the war rooms for operations.
It feels like an underground bunker here with no windows and the endless hallways. So you know that this place was well protected.
This place is one of the better museums in London. There are a lot of stuff here to learn about. They even have a coffee shop so if you do make a day trip out of it, you can take a break at the coffee shop.
So if you're into Military History, or just like really cool stuff, I recommend coming here.
Wow.... Very cool to see what happened behind the scenes... A good 90 minute walk through history.
The Churchill war rooms don't often appear on the top things to do in London lists. But anyone with even a passing interest in history, tourist or local, should check out this museum. This was the underground British command center during World War II, and has been lovingly preserved exactly as it was. Numerous displays, and the excellent audio tour, provide context and historical background.
That would be more than enough for this to be an excellent stop, but there's more. Sandwiched in the middle is another museum: the Churchill Museum, an extensive collection portraying Churchhill's life and political career.
Rick Steve's guide said to allot 45 minutes for this museum. Well, we were here for three hours and enjoyed every minute. Make time for this one - you won't regret it.
I enjoyed the Churchill War Rooms while I was in London, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone visiting. However, I would advise people not to get as wrapped up in the museum in the middle. Between seeing parts of the War Rooms, there was a modern museum of all things Churchill. There were interesting items there, and it was informative. But, it was organized in a strange way and my family ended up staying in there for an hour trying to see everything. We all lost steam in that part of the tour.
I will say that the audio tour was very good.
Did you know that Winston Churchill was half American? I didn't, until my visit to the Cabinet War Rooms. The audio tour was fascinating, mixing real radio broadcasts with historical reenactments and walking the same halls that Churchill did 65 years ago was downright chilling.
Whether you're a World War II buff or not I highly recommend checking out the Cabinet War Rooms while visiting London to learn about this important chapter in our history.
Did I mention that military history fascinates me? And that I'm a WW2 nerd? This is pretty much as good as it gets at having a historical epiphany. This is the richly preserved Cabinet War Rooms, which were in the basement of the then government buildings above ground.. This was British command centre during WW2.
You walk through the small hall to see the different rooms. The cabinet room where decisions were made has been preserved with the artifacts used at the time. The map room contains the maps used and studied during the war. There are also some modest dormitories where senior officers stayed. The people directing the war walked and made decisions here and we are so lucky to now have access to this important piece of history.
I'm kind of a WWII nerd, and it took me a surprising two years of living in London to get here. Shame on me! This one's amazing--even though it costs an arm and a leg. The collection is wonderfully comprehensive and the restoration efforts are fantastic. You really get an idea of what the people working here day and night throughout the war went through. The new interactive Churchill wing housed within the museum is very cool unto itself.
As with most European history, I have to say the idea of how much sex was happening down there crossed my mind more than once on the tour. I mean, c'mon! How could it not have been happening--lotsa young people, lotsa anxiety, low ceilings--it's bound to happen. I can't be the only one feeling the palpable tension even seventy years after the fact!
Go for yourself; tell me you don't think it, too!
For military history nerds, this is an absolute must. In fact, if you're only in the city for a few days, forget the changing of the guard - you'd better make this your very first trip.
These are the 27 underground war rooms (many of them untouched since 1945) used by Churchill and the British government as the country fought against the Nazis in World War II.
Snatch up an audio guide when you check in - it's about an hour long, but completely worth it if you want to relive the war experience as you walk through each room. Seriously, just do it.
The additional "Churchill Museum" is new and embedded into the war rooms exhibit about halfway through. Definitely take the time to detach yourself from the engaging audio tour and take a stroll through there, too - you'll see everything from Winston's infamous outfits to personal letters.
I stopped in the museum's Switch Room cafe as well, but unless you're starving I wouldn't recommend it - for the price, the food was just average.
Overall - an unforgettable, meaningful experience and easily one of my favorites in the city!
1. I thought this was going to be lame but it wasn't! The self guided audio tour was cool. The entrance fee was pretty cheap compared to the other tourist attractions.
2. Don't forget to hit up the museum with Churchill's stuff after you get through the cabinet rooms. After seeing Churchill's clothes, it gave me a good visual on how fluffy the guy really was. But in all seriousness, the man did a lot for the country and I got some history lessons on my vacay!
Dragged along by the hubby, and I'm very glad I was. Learned a lot about Churchill and the war years in England. Informative, interactive and very interesting. This is a must do when in London.
This place is amazing. It is a state of the art, high tech, hands on museum. At the same time, it has some perfectly preserved rooms that allow you to stand in the middle of World War 2 and to observe it. The tour of the war rooms is just as magnificent as the technology at the beginning of the museum.
I definitely want to go back to this one. So much to see and learn and so so interesting!
I think my husband would have spent the night here if they would have let him!
At first, I thought this would only appeal to WWII junkies but I was wrong. The museum unwinds (literally, as you follow an underground labyrinth led by an audio guide) itself as a vivid portrait of the dedicated people who worked tirelessly for Allied victory. Winston Churchill is not a strong presence here, but his staff and advisors are. It becomes very clear how important every little detail was -- from toilet arrangement to maps and communications.
My daughters, 12 & 6, even enjoyed it -- not as much as the London Eye or a duck boat tour, but they weren't complaining. Be sure to get the children's version of the audio guide if you have children with you.
This amazing historical museum is right next to St. James Park. It *literally* is the war bunker/bomb shelter where Winston Churchill and his team of advisors plotted and laid out strategies for winning WWII.
What's *incredible* about this place, is that it all looks exactly as it did on the day the war was considered over... *everything* - right down to how the pencils are positioned on the table - is as it was in that moment when the people inside learned that they'd succeeded in victory; they were all so sick of being caged and cooped up in this underground room for so many years (most of the main staff, including Winston Churchill, had lived down here throughout the long final months of the war) that they basically walked out... and never returned.
For *any* history buff... especially someone who's a fan of WWII - this a must-see treat... You feel like you're walking back into history... into the very epicenter where the strategic war was fought.
I wish the entrance fee for the Churchill War Rooms was less expensive so that more of us can have this incredible experience.
Drawing from the stuff just "left" there when the entire crew sauntered out at the end of WWII and the Imperial War museum collections, the War Rooms recreates the atmosphere and situation experienced there during the war to a T.
The newly installed Churchill Wing is an extremely well designed and thought out piece of modern exhibition with plenty of hands on and tech-y activities- I was particularly impressed with the timeline of his life, crossed referenced with historical events, which BTW was "flickable" just like a diary.
Despite the high price, I would highly recommend this museum to both Londoners and visitors as they have truly created a piece of living history with this wonderfully informative and evocative exhibition.
After reading the reviews on yelp about Cabinet War room I decided to take a little trip down Churchills bunker
I was amazed to see that the rooms are kept intact and not touched since the war
For a moment I thought that I was one of Churchill's service men living in there
Was not much of a war buff but I learnt so much in such a short space of time.
Much visit again very soon!
This is a great museum, but doesn't get 5 stars because of how much better the WW2 bunker experience at the Dover Castle is.
This museum has tons of preserved rooms war time Britain which are really a sight to see. Many of the rooms have mannequins (not sure of the proper term) of the men who worked there, including Churchill.
These are extremely realistic looking and at first glance they look like real people. This made me think about how great humans have gotten at replicating our appearance in statue form. I wondered what the next step was to finally make it over the hump of looking exactly like a human, and being indistinguishable from one. I came to the conclusion that it's the replication of skin material, I think that's the final frontier of human model recreation.
The museum outfits you with an audio system in which you punch in the number of where you're located in the museum (all areas are marked) and a virtual guide tells you about what you're seeing. I found the device a little grimy, like I wanted to wash my entire body every time I touched it or brought it anywhere near my face. It has a port for headphones, but it is in-set and my headphone jack has an L shaped designed that couldn't fit in the cove.
SO my advice is to bring some basic iPod headphones with a straight jack to avoid the filth associated with putting a device against your face that was just used by a slimy 12 year old with acne.
Otherwise this place is dandy, but doesn't make use of amazing human technology like the World War II bunkers at the Dover Castle. Make use of the attached Churchill museum, it's pretty cool.
This is a must see for any Churchill fan. To walk through the actual rooms and halls where Churchill ran the war and saved the world is truly remarkable.
When you go here make sure you get an audio guide. The audio guides are really interesting. The museum by itself was amazing. I feel that you don't really need to read and listen every single thing (because it will take a while).
This was my favorite stop on our tour of London. It is not far from the Imperial War Museum which was pretty interesting. If you enjoy history or are a WWII junky you must stop here. The audio tour is a must. I loved seeing and hearing the British perspective on the war, it added another layer to my knowledge of the events before, during and after. I think the bunker is often over shadowed by the Tower of London and the many other historical site but this was by far the best stop we made.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
For those of you who are interested in discovering life during London's WWII years, this is a great start.
Upon visiting you will be whisked away (with the help of a free video tour) to the days of bombs dropped on a busy city, historical figures rising, important speeches, and the odd employee hiding their sugar (rationing tended to keep things interesting).
When you buy a ticket, you have access to some fantastic modern exhibits which the kids will love, amazing objects, the brilliant Churchill Museum, and the opportunity to see some of the most important rooms (fully furnished so your imagination does not have to stretch too hard) of their time.
The cafe has great little cakes and all day breakfast, the shop had me wishing I had the strength to carry more bags than I could and best of all... you can rent space for your private events! the last of which I am desperate to test out.
Great for families (I not once heard a child there claiming to be "bored") and something tourists should pop by when visiting London.
This was hands down my favorite museum in London. We ended up visiting because it was on my husband's list of things to see, but I'm so glad we included it on our trip. Admission is free with the London Pass & an audioguide is included. I seriously could have spent hours here listening to the audioguide and reading in the museum section. I wasn't that familiar with the use of the building before going, and it's amazing that this was the command center during WWII. For any lover of history, this is a must see!
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