What is it?
It’s a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of former British prime minister Winston Churchill. It’s part of the Imperial War Museum group. Find it north of the River Thames, opposite the glorious South Bank and its tourist attractions. The nearest tube station is Westminster.
5 – 8 / 9 – 12 / 12+
Toddlers & Preschool
£££ – Adults cost £17.50 WITH the voluntary donation, but £15,90 without. Make sure to ask about the donation if you’re concerned. On the plus side, children under 16 enter for free.
What’s on offer
The War Rooms has three main exhibitions. The first, an undercover look into life in Churchill’s bunker, uses a variety of filmed interviews, oral histories and personal items to tell visitors what life was like in such close proximity to war, life-threatening danger and the man himself – Winston Churchill.
The second, a museum dedicated to the Churchill’s life, is the only one of it’s kind. It uses multimedia displays and interactive technology to tell his story and bring it to life, beginning at his appointment as Prime Minister in May 1940. Explore an interactive model of Churchill’s home, read the love letters he wrote to his wife Clementine and view one of his earliest paintings.
Finally, walk through the underground maze known as the Cabinet Room, where Churchill and his colleagues commandeered World War 2. See the chair where Churchill sat, where he slept, the kitchen where he ate, the Transatlantic phone room where he conversed with President Roosevelt and explore the perfectly preserved map room, where Churchill made the decisions that led Britain towards victory against Germany.
It’s powerful stuff, especially for the history buff or patriot who wants to see an important part of history in the flesh.
An audio guide, which most TripAdvisor users thought was incredibly useful, is essential listening and free as part of your ticket.
There’s no cloakroom and the Churchill War Rooms have narrow corridors, so you’re asked not to bring any luggage or large items with you. Therefore, it’s not really very buggy friendly. They do have an accessible toilet, a café and a gift shop – the latter of which sells activity books for children.
You’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Not only is the atmosphere a little bit haunting, the detail and depth of information on offer allows you to become completely immersed for however long you choose to spend at the War Rooms. The electronic timeline of Churchill’s lifewill keep everybody on track and engaged with his long but fascinating story.
This is the place to be if you have a child studying history at school or anyone who has a particular interest in WW2. It’s educational, especially for older children who will be more able to appreciate the importance of Winston Churchill, via a range of interactive methods. The museum is engaging through its displays and layout, which is perfect for little visitors. There are some activities for them to do, which will keep them entertained. Just ask a member of staff.
It’s also great for parents and older relatives. You certainly won’t be twiddling your thumbs in the cafe whilst they jump around in the soft play.
What to watch out for
– Arrive early if you want to avoid crowds and queues!
– Buying your ticket online in advance might save you some money (and some queuing time).
– Occasionally, the Churchill War Rooms may close unexpectedly. You can check if it’s open, what events are on and when at the official site.
– Plan around 2 hours visiting time for this attraction.
– Churchill War Rooms is a 20-minute bus ride from its sister attractions Imperial War Museum London and HMS Belfast.
– It’s also not far from the London Eye, Tate Britain and Buckingham Palace. If it’s nice weather, the Churchill War Rooms are also right next to St James’ Park.
What the owners say
“The Cabinet War Rooms provided the secret underground headquarters for the core of the British government throughout the Second World War.
Knowledge of the site and access to it remained highly restricted until the late 1970s when the Imperial War Museum began the task of preserving the site and its contents, making them accessible to as wide an audience as possible. In 1984 the main war rooms opened to the public. In 2003 further restoration work opened the ‘Courtyard Rooms’, the rooms where staff would eat, sleep and work in safety.
In 2005 we added the only major museum in the world dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill. Its multimedia and uniquely engaging approach provides visitors with a comprehensive overview of Churchill’s life.”
Visit the official Churchill War Rooms website