Five secret bunkers to visit around the UK

Dark corridor of an old abandoned underground bunker
Image: Shutterstock

Once the threat of nuclear war appeared to die down with the end of the Cold War in 1991, secret bunkers were revealed around the UK. Some were new designs built in the wake of fear of nuclear attack, and many were much older. While these bunkers aren’t quite so secret anymore, in fact, many are actually museums. There is still quite a bit of mystery and intrigue that comes in visiting such places. There are many bunkers dotted around the UK, and we’re looking at just five secret bunkers of note you can visit.


The Churchill War Rooms, London

As the name suggests, this bunker is not a Cold War creation. The Churchill War Rooms is one of the five Imperial War Museums and is a huge space hidden under Westminster. The bunker was the hub of World War II activity. It was the base where Churchill and his cabinet directed the war effort. As well as meeting rooms, this bunker also had living quarters and a warren of corridors that staff had to navigate during the war years. Anyone can visit this museum and get a feel for Churchill’s experience during World War II.


Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich

Hack Green was a secret nuclear bunker originally built in the 1950s. The bunker was renovated and revamped in the 1980s when the threat of nuclear war became even more prominent. Hidden in a top-secret location, Hack Green was the designated home of regional government in the event of nuclear war. Now, you can visit it as an exhibition centre and museum. It is home to the largest public display of decommissioned nuclear arms and weapons in the whole of Europe. There is also an in-sit cinema that shows once-secret films and a simulator which gives you a feel for bunker conditions during a nuclear attack.


Western Approaches Museum, Liverpool

The Western Approaches Museum is also known as the Liverpool War Museum. The bunker lies under the streets of Liverpool and was where they directed the Battle of the Atlantic from during World War II. Naval officers spent their time monitoring convoy routes and hunting the enemy via the central operations room. The bunker used to have over 300 staff working tirelessly for the war effort, and it remains as it was in 1945 when the war ended. The museum is always organising events, including Time Traveller weekends.


Scotland’s Secret Bunker, Fife

A seemingly normal farmhouse is the hidden entrance to an underground nuclear command centre in Fife. The centre was built in 1951, and the plan was for government and military commanders to successfully manage warfare from the bunker in the event of a nuclear attack. The bunker included a nuclear command centre, RAF control room, BBC broadcasting room, a chapel, weapons store and even a cinema. Today, the bunker is mainly a recreation of how it would have looked in the 1950s, and it remains a popular tourist attraction not far from St. Andrews.

Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker, Brentwood

Hidden deep underground and built for Cold War purposes, Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker was designed as a safe space for government and council officials in the event of nuclear warfare. The bunker retains much of its appearance from the time. It is packed with original 1980s machinery and technologies with plenty of fax machines and retro telephones left in situ. The bunker acts as a historical monument and tourist attraction showing informational footage from the time about sheltering from nuclear bombs. Visitors have a chance to step back in time and imagine the fear and stress the potential of nuclear warfare caused.

The UK is home to many fascinating formerly secret bunkers. Many are relics of our brush with nuclear warfare in the late 20th century, while some have a history that dates back further in time. These are just a handful of the fascinating bunkers hidden around the UK, both in cities and rural spaces.

Cracking the Code starts on Monday, 15th August at 9pm as part of Summer of Secrets on Sky HISTORY.