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Explore How Churchill Strategised World War II Moves at the Cabinet War Rooms

If you wish to take a peep into the place in London where preparations and planning by British leaders under the directions of Winston Churchill used to take place during World War II, you must visit the Cabinet War Rooms which is located on King Charles Street in the Whitehall area of Westminster in central London. It is one of the five branches of the Imperial War Museum that is also home to the Cabinet War Rooms and the Churchill Museum. It was here that Churchill and his War Cabinet must have spent some tense days and nights and where they used to meet and strategise their next moves.

You can also see the Map Room that is still in the same condition as it was on that day when the war came to an end and the lights were finally put off in 1945. A visit to the Cabinet War Rooms will also enable you to explore the underground bunker where the staff of British government felt safe along with their secrets. It was also the scene where Churchill and his close aides strategised the success story of the allies that led to their victory.  The nearest tube stations are Westminster and St James’s Park. The War Rooms are open daily from 9:30am to 6pm and the last admission is at 5pm.

The Cabinet War Rooms is a historic underground complex built under the Treasury Building. The rooms were built during the years 1938 and 1939 and started operations in August 1939 just before the war started. It was only after the war ended and Japan surrendered in 1945 that they were abandoned, having been used throughout the war. Their historic value was appreciated after the war when it was decided to preserve them for which the Ministry of Works and later the Department for the Environment was commissioned to do the needful. In early 1980s, the Imperial War Museum was given the responsibility of running its administration but they were only opened to the public in 1984. In 2010, the Cab8inet War Rooms were clubbed with the Churchill Museum under the name of Churchill War Rooms.

During World War II, the most important rooms of the Cabinet War Rooms were the Map Room and the Cabinet Room. Whereas the latter was the favourite room of Winston Churchill as he used to direct the war from there, the former was constantly under use and provided utmost security throughout the day and night. The Cabinet War Rooms witnessed a total of 115 Cabinet meetings. The last meeting was held on 28 March 1945 when the German V-weapon campaign ended.

The Churchill Museum, which is the other part of Churchill War Rooms, explores the life of Sir Winston Churchill, who was the architect of the victory of Britain and the Allies. It is the lone biographical museum dedicated to the life and achievements of Churchill, who was one of the greatest statesmen of Britain, through displays, interactive exhibits and through his defiant and inspiring speeches that were a great motivating force for his forces. However, he never underestimated his enemy while delivering his speeches and while strategising his war moves.

The museum also exhibits the Union Flag that was draped around Churchill’s coffin at his state funeral along with other personal items such as his baby rattle, his school reports and his early journalistic works. He was born in 1874 and he died in 1965 at the age of 90. Such was his popularity all over the world, mainly due to his expert handling of the war, that his funeral was watched on TV by more than 400 million people. He had a privileged childhood having been born into the British aristocracy with a silver spoon in his mouth.

The Cabinet War Rooms is one of the 10 attractions in London that any visitor, especially an admirer of Churchill can simply not afford to miss while visiting London. Moreover, staying at The Metropolis London Hyde Park would be the best thing to do if you wish to visit the war rooms conveniently.

If you wish to get more information and see the museum in detail, you can take a tour of the same that will also provide a commentary regarding various aspects that you would be seeing. A lift is available to reach the start of the tour as all the rooms are located below ground level. Irrespective of your age, you will enjoy the tour as it will provide a lot of interesting information. An audio guide in eight languages is included in the ticket price, which is a bit high. The tour is for 2 hours and is also available in the form of free family tours and interactive trails.

If you are on a wheelchair, the entrance on Horse Guards Road, opposite St James’s Park should be used as at the main entrance you may have to use steps to enter. At the entrance, your bags will be checked at the Security Desk as a security procedure. Mobile phones need to be shut down and toilets are only available at the start of the tour and not afterwards on the tour route. Except for the Churchill Museum, photography is allowed everywhere else. Towards the end of the tour, the corridors get narrow and as such you may need to wait for your turn to move ahead.

 The museum opens daily, except 24, 25, and 26 December, between 9:30am and 6pm. The last admission is at 5pm. About halfway through the tour after the Churchill Museum, you will find the Switch Room Cafe which is a small, welcoming cafe. You can buy gifts and souvenirs of all price ranges at a small shop at the end of the tour.

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