Address: Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AQ


Time: 9.30am to 6.00pm

Phone: 0207 930 6961

Entry Price: £18.00 for adults


900m from Charing Cross

500m from Westminster

Churchill War Rooms is a branch of the Imperial War Museum on King Charles Street and is the amalgamation of the previous Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.

In 1938, with the possibility of war ahead, the government, under Neville Chamberlain, decided to plan the removal of staff from central London. But it was decided that there was also a need for key senior personnel to remain in London and these included the Prime Minister and War Cabinet, senior government officials and senior staff of the armed forces. A location was sought for this wartime HQ and it was decided to use the basement of a central government building, which is the Treasury today. It opened on 27th August 1939 with the war starting a few days later.

In May 1940 Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and on viewing the Cabinet Room declared that ‘this is the room from which I’ll direct the war’. At the time it wasn’t bomb proof, but in December 1940 reinforced concrete was placed overhead which was known as ‘The Slab’. This was up to 5ft thick. Space needed grew rapidly and by the end it was three times as big as the original. There were all manner of rooms including accommodation, although Churchill often preferred to sleep in rooms above or at 10, Downing Street.

The War Rooms closed on August 16th 1945 and the marvellous thing about the Rooms today is that they have been largely untouched since then. For many years they were closed to the public, but mindful that they could deteriorate, they were put in the hands of the Imperial War Museum.

The rooms opened to the public in 1984 and the Museum opened in 2005. They provide a fascinating insight into life at the time with desks, blackboards, maps with pin pricks and all the details you’d expect and more. Churchill’s office and phones which include the private line to President Roosevelt are on show and the Rooms are visited by over 300,000 people a year.

Locationwise, this is one of the best London sites, being next to St James’s Park, Downing Street, Parliament etc.
The images below form only part of the exhibits on show and displays can often change.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.