Why should we visit the Churchill War Rooms?The Churchill War Rooms are one of the 5 parts of the Imperial War Museum and they combine the Churchill Museum with the Cabinet War Rooms, the rooms which were the command center of British military operations during World War II. In the Churchill War Rooms, you’ll see the different rooms of the bunker beneath the city streets, including the Map Room (which was staffed 24 hours a day), the Transatlantic Telephone Room, and the room where Churchill used to record radio broadcasts to the nation. Meanwhile, the Churchill Museum tells the story of Winston Churchill’s 90 years of life, from his youth, through his two terms as Prime Minister, to his old age and legacy. There’s also a special exhibition focusing on Churchill’s impact on the Middle East, which is still felt today. Both parts of the museum are deep dives into history and are a vital stopping point for anyone interested in World War II.
Is it suitable for children?The Churchill War Rooms has lots of interesting pieces on display which will help the era come to life for younger visitors. While the displays are very text-heavy, there’s a special family audio guide available which should help children understand what they’re seeing in an engaging way.
How long should I plan for my visit?You can get through the War Rooms and Churchill Museum in about 90 minutes, and if you’re visiting with young children you might want to stick to that estimate and skip some of the less visually exciting parts of the exhibition about Churchill’s life outside of WWII. If you intend to read every information board and listen to the audio guide thoroughly then you might need to take up to 4 hours - there’s a lot of material available for people who are deeply interested in the subjects covered!
I’m claustrophobic, is this museum all underground?The entire complex is underground and doesn’t have windows, as it was designed to be a bomb shelter. The museum exhibits have been designed to feel like open spaces, and are well-lit, but the corridors and sections which have been preserved in their original layout can be quite small and narrow. The number of people inside is limited, so it shouldn’t ever be overcrowded inside, but it does get busy during school holidays and at weekends.
Can we take photographs?Yes! Feel free to take photographs throughout the Churchill War Rooms.