We were staying at the Hilton Paddington. On Saturday we took a tour of the hidden tunnels of London Euston and then had dinner at Mughal’s Indian Restaurant near the hotel. With a few hours spare on Sunday morning, we decided to visit the Churchill War Rooms. This is the formerly secret WW2 bunker that tells the story of Winston Churchill’s life and legacy – the place is run by the Imperial War Museum.
There wasn’t a queue when we arrived and we were able to purchase our tickets without delay £19 per adult with donation £17.25 without. I’m pretty sure that nobody says they won’t donate, even though it isn’t clear what the donation is for – I’d hoped it was for ex-servicemen, but having looked since, it seems it goes to the Imperial War Museum, which at least is free to visitors.
Each visitor is given a ‘phone’ where they can listen to various guides in their chosen language.
Once inside, I was surprised that the bunker was so close to street level – I’d hoped and expected it to be far underground.
The place is quite large and you could spend several hours reading the text that accompanies all the exhibits in the central hall. There’s obviously been some money spent and the various wartime rooms, offices and living quarters are decorated and inhabited by mannequins.
There’s even a door that appears to have come from No. 10 Downing Street.
We enjoyed our visit, although would of course preferred to discover the place prior to the refurbishment as a museum – perhaps abandoned as it looked several years after the war.
I think £19 per person is expensive – £9 would be about the right value. But that doesn’t seem to deter tourists as there was a long line waiting when we left.
Churchill War Rooms
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AQ
9:30am – 6pm every day