Cookie use on this site

Our cookies enhance browsing, they never store information about you. Our cookie policy.


The Cabinet War Rooms

Clive Steps, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AQ. Tel : +44 (0)20 7930 6961

The Cabinet War Rooms were considered as a facility, which would shield the prime minister, his cabinet and the most senior members of the military command in the event of a war. This would enable the government and the military to carry out their functions and counter attacks amidst the chaos.

After 1945 the shelter was no longer needed as the hostile situations had seized to exist by then. Later in 1948 the parliament announced the preservation of The Cabinet War Rooms as a historical site. But its existence was known only by very few until 1981 when Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher decided the site should be more accessible and thus people were getting aware of its existence.

Another useful website is or

The Cabinet War Rooms are in a maze of cellar rooms beneath the Government Office Building, north of Parliament Square.

In 1938, this storage basement was adapted as a secure inner sanctum, accessed only from the offices above. It was in these underground rooms that the War Cabinet, first under Neville Chamberlain, then Winston Churchill, met during World War II when London was being bombed by the Germans.

The Cabinet's underground headquarters included living quarters for government ministers and military leaders, and the Cabinet Room where many strategic decisions were taken. The rooms were protected by a 3 foot layer of concrete, but there is no evidence that the Germans ever discovered that it existed.

After 1945 the Cabinet War Rooms were abandoned and many of the 21 rooms were left untouched until the museum opened in 1984.

Administered by the Imperial War Museum, the museum has restored the rooms to their wartime condition, using old photographs for reference.

An audio tour guides visitors around the rooms. Highlights include Churchill's desk, the old fashioned communications equipment and the telephone hotline to the White House. In the Map Room, which monitored the movement of Allied and Axis troops, the maps still show their markers.