Planning a trip to London?
The Churchill War Rooms is a popular attraction for history lovers. They are the actual rooms where Winston Churchill and his staff led the British war effort during World War II. After the war, the rooms were sealed and preserved. A museum dedicated to the life of Winston Churchill was added and this historic site now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
My family visited the Churchill War Rooms during our trip to London. My children were 14 and 11 years old at the time of our visit. We all thought it was a fascinating museum.
Here's are our tips for making the most of your visit to the Churchill War Rooms, including ways to save on your admission.
What to Expect
The Churchill War Rooms is two museums in one: The Churchill War Rooms and the Churchill Museum.
The War Rooms are the actual working and living quarters where Winston Churchill and his staff directed the British war effort during World War II. You'll see offices, meeting rooms, work stations and bedrooms decorated to look the way they would have when in use. You won't get to go inside most of them. They are behind glass. Hallways are narrow and maze-like, so only a few visitors are admitted at a time.
The Churchill Museum is the only museum in the world completely dedicated to Winston Churchill. It fills a large room adjacent to the War Rooms. High-tech, interactive exhibits assist visitors in learning about Churchill's childhood, family, personality, career and accomplishments. I learned a lot here.
Complimentary audio guides are included with admission.
You can easily go back and forth between the War Rooms and the Museum, but the natural flow is to see the War Rooms first, then the Museum.
The Churchill War Rooms are located in the heart of London, across the street from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and St. James Park. St. James Park and Westminster are the nearest Underground stations. We walked from our hotel.
The War Rooms were built underground to withstand the bombing of London in World War II. The entrance is still tucked between two government buildings. We used Google Maps, and had no trouble finding it.
Ways to Save
Regular adult admission (age 16+) is currently £22, but there are several ways that families can save on admission to the Churchill War Rooms.
- Free admission for children ages 4 and under
- Family Pass – There are two family pass options. My family of four would have saved £10. Large families will save more.
- Discounts available for children, students, seniors and disabled visitors.
- National Art Pass – Art Fund Members save 50% on admission.
- The London Pass – Pay for a number of days, and choose from dozens of included attractions. Visit as many as you like in that time.
We used The London Pass because it included most of the attractions on our wish list, including the Churchill War Rooms, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Big Bus Tour and many others. Click the button below to read my full review of The London Pass, with tips for getting the most bang for your buck.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary passes from The London Pass for the purpose of review.
Avoid the Line
The Churchill War Rooms are popular, and space inside is limited. Admission is metered, meaning that small groups are allowed in every few minutes. Expect a line outside the building. We arrived a few minutes before the museum opened, and waited about 20 minutes in the regular queue on a weekday in June.
Expect longer lines on weekends and school holidays.
Visitors in the Priority Queue get in first. You can use the Priority Queue if you purchase your tickets online, through the official website in advance. You will need to select a specific date and time, and arrive within 30 minutes of the time on your ticket. Once purchased, timed tickets cannot be changed or refunded.
The London Pass will not allow you to skip the line at the Churchill War Rooms.
Is it Good for Kids?
The real history and high-tech interactive exhibits are great for older kids and teens. Both my kids enjoyed visiting the Churchill War Rooms, though they were ready to leave before I was. My teen daughter especially loved the gift shop, which has a lot of World War II themed souvenirs that you won't find elsewhere.
There isn't a lot here for young children. There's no reason you can't take them, but they'll mostly be along for the ride.
The Churchill War Rooms are a must-see museum for history lovers – especially anyone with an interest in World War II and Winston Churchill. These are the actual rooms where Churchill and his team directed the war effort for Great Britain. High-tech interactive exhibits let you dig deep into history.
Capacity is limited and lines can get long outside the building. Purchase timed tickets in advance, arrive early, or avoid peak days to limit your wait. Be sure to take advantage of money-saving options like Family Passes or The London Pass.
Good to Know
Where: Clive Steps, King Charles St, Westminster, London
When: Open year round, except 24-26 December. 9:30 AM-5 PM. Open until 7 PM in July and August.
How Much: Currently £22 per adult (age 16+). See the Ways to Save section above for money-saving tips. Visit https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms for current ticket information.
How Long: 1-3 hours
Amenities: cafe, gift shop, restrooms