Top-secret during WWII, the underground Churchill War Rooms – now preserved to resemble as closely as possible their authentic state in the 1940s – were the command centre from which Winston Churchill directed Britain’s efforts in the war. The rooms and corridors, once walked by the country’s leaders during a tense period in history and under intense high security clearance only, illustrate the story of life in the bunker. On display are letters between the Prime Minister and his wife Clementine, the original Number 10 Downing Street door, Wing Commander John Heagerty’s partially shaven sugar rations, cookware left behind by the Churchills’ chef Georgina Landemare and a “noiseless” Remington typewriter imported from the US to reduce unnecessary noise. The BBC Broadcasting Room, the Map Room, the Transatlantic Telephone Room (in what appeared to be a private toilet) and Churchill’s Bedroom also serve to transport visitors back in time.
Admission to the interactive on-site Churchill Museum is included in the ticket price. This area gives deeper insight into Churchill’s legacy, his public and private life from childhood to his death 90 years later, covering his military career and leadership over two periods as Prime Minister.
Standard adult tickets are priced at £26.35, with an additional 10% voluntary donation suggested. There are a variety of discounted rates available and free entry to members of the Imperial War Museums. The ticket includes a guided audio tour offered in a selection of languages and a family-friendly version. The Churchill War Rooms are open from 9:30am to 6pm daily with last entry at 5pm. A visit of two and a half to three hours is recommended, though some visitors stay longer. A café serves classic British food from 10am to 5pm. There is also a gift shop.