Deep under a housing estate in North London lies one of WW2’s greatest secrets, the reserve Cabinet War Rooms that lay hidden and waiting just in case the (now) more famous Westminster bunkers were attacked.
Used just twice for a full cabinet meeting, the reserve bunker was mothballed even before the war had ended as a much larger replacement was built underneath what is today the Home Office buildings in Victoria.
Secret during the war, their existence barely known about even amongst military historians, and only located for certain once again in the 1980s, this underground bunker is open on just 2 days per year.
The first open day for this year has been announced as Thur 22nd May 2014
The second is usually the Saturday in Sept for Open House Weekend, but that is still to be confirmed.
You can only reserve slots for the May visit at the moment.
The May tour is probably better anyway, as they tend to be a bit quieter than the September open day – so if you want to follow in the footsteps of Churchill, and see the dank unrestored interior of a huge WW2 bunker built deep underneath the Neasden hills – send an email to [email protected] with your details and suggest what time of day you would like (or preferably, state that you don’t mind what time you are allocated) so she can see if spaces are available.
Tours are on the hour between 10am to 4pm.
Tours are free and managed by SubBrit volunteers – but a big shouty man may try to sell you a book about other bunkers in the UK, so bring a fiver with you, or just join SubBrit if you want to get into other bunkers on occasions.
You can read more about the reserve cabinet war rooms on my blog post from a previous visit.
More by coincidence than design, the two Cabinet War Rooms — in Neasden and Westminster — are both close to the Jubilee line, so why not make a day of it and visit both – then compare them?