Visit London Blog » churchill war rooms Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Guide To Blue Plaques in London Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:00:43 +0000 Jimi Hendrix blue plaque. Photo: Simon Harriyott/wikicommons

London’s blue plaque scheme has been in operation for about 150 years and there are nearly 900 plaques on buildings and houses across London. The blue plaques show where famous people lived and worked as well as commemorating historical events (eg: the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) and sites. The scheme has been run by English Heritage since 1986.

You’ll find most of the plaques in and around Central London because the scheme was not extended to the outer boroughs until 1965. You’ll also find similar English Heritage plaques in some other UK cities, but the majority are in London.

The first-ever blue plaque commemorated the birthplace of Lord Byron in Holles Street near Cavendish Square and was erected in 1867, however the building (and its plaque) were demolished in 1989. Today’s oldest surviving blue plaque is also from 1867 and shows where Napoleon III lived in King Street, St James’s.

Some of London’s other notable blue plaques include:

Read more about the Blue Plaques scheme

For a quick glance through a full list of the plaques, try Wikipedia

Do you have a favourite Blue Plaque or Blue Plaque moment in London? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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Top Five Accessible Experiences in London Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:00:56 +0000

From sky-high bars to treetop walkways, London is bursting with accessible attractions. Here are a few of the best:

Cocktails at 350 Feet

Less able people often consider multi-storey buildings to be the enemy but once a building reaches a certain height, as is the case here, there’s no way anyone could make it up the stairs so you’re guaranteed that there will be a lift. The Paramount Bar at Centre Point gives you two experiences for the price of one: come for the outstanding cocktails and stay for the spectacular views. If you’re feeling really flush then you eat at the restaurant too.

Churchill War Rooms

See Where the War Was Won

A museum named after the former Prime Minister rather than one sponsored by that insurance peddling bulldog, The Churchill War Rooms let you into the bunker from where World War Two was coordinated. Considering its size and original use, it’s surprising that this is one of the more accessible London attractions. We get sick and tired of hearing venues say that buildings are too old to be adapted and this helps highlight why it’s such a feeble excuse. If you can adapt this, you can adapt anything.

Above the Trees at Kew Gardens

“Treetop walkway” and “wheelchair accessible” are two things you don’t expect to be found in the same sentence (again, altitude is a traditional nemesis for wheelchair users) but this 18m-high attraction is completely step-free for those who can’t manage the stairs. There’s a lift up to the walkway for less able visitors and once you’re up, the walkway is flat and lets you see Kew Gardens in a whole new dimension.

Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

One of the capital’s most underrated and most accessible museums, The Wallace Collection is full of hidden gems. The Laughing Cavalier painting by Frans Hals is something of standout, even in a collection featuring works by Rembrandt, Titian and Gainsborough, but the building is grand enough in its own right to make it worth a visit. One of the best collections of the arts in the world – and it’s all accessible and free.

Climb the Dome

It might come as a surprise that the chance to climb over the roof of any building would be accessible to all but that is precisely the case at the O2 Arena. We’ve even been told by the guys who designed it that, while making sure that Up At The O2 is accessible, they wanted to make it as much of a thrilling experience as it is for able-bodied participants. The experience opens in Spring, but you need to get on the waiting list now for a realistic chance of making a booking in 2014.

This post was written by Max Sunter, chief ‘wheeler’ for Blue Badge Style, a ‘Michelin-like’ guide for the less able, their friends and families. Blue Badge Style offers information on what to do, where to go and what to buy to maintain your sense of style whatever the disability.


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Five Things to Do in London on Valentine's Day Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:02:27 +0000 From wartime-style dance lessons to torch-lit poetry tours, here’s our pick of offbeat things to do in London this Valentine’s Day.

Natural History Museum

1.    A Valentine’s Day African Safari at the Natural History Museum (£28)

Lovebirds with a passion for science and nature can unwind over a drink underneath the famous Diplodocus skeleton in the Natural History Museum’s iconic Central Hall, before joining one of two tours. True romantics can take the Beautiful Tour which celebrates the beauty of nature, while anti-Valentines can join the Ugly Tour which features expert-led talks on nature’s most stomach-churning work with specimens of the most gruesome creatures in the world of science. Book here

The London Eye

2.    A romantic ride on The London Eye (from £22.50)

The London Eye will be a vision in red from 13-16 February, and capsules will be adorned with roses and fairy lights to set the amorous mood. Couples can choose from several different Valentine’s Day packages that include treats like Champagne, chocolates and red roses. Book here

Late Opening at the Churchill War Rooms

3.    Valentine’s Late at Churchill War Rooms (£17.50)

Explore this historic site after dark for an evening of events and activities including dance workshops, wartime music and letter writing, all in the name of love. Journey under the streets of Whitehall to a bygone era to discover the stories of those who led the war effort in secret below ground. Get your heart racing with dance lessons in Triple Step, Lindy Hop and the Lambeth Walk. Write your own love letter with hints and tips from off duty officers. Hear stories of wartime romance and be inspired by letters from the Churchill War Room‘s own collection. Then quaff Churchill’s favourite Champagne or enjoy a bite to eat in the attraction’s pop-up bar. Book here

Tunnel of Love

4.    Tunnel of Love at Vauxhall Village (£7.50)

A disused railway arch in Vauxhall is being transformed into a tunnel of love for the Valentine’s weekend to enable lovebirds to watch movies on the big screen. From 13-16 February, film fans can snuggle up under cosy blankets to watch a mix of outdoor screenings, from art house flicks to old school classics. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet will be shown on 14 February. The bar will offer champagne cocktails and chocolate fondue. Book here

5.    Late Night Keats at Keats House (£8)

Lovers of life and literature can spend an evening in one of London’s most romantic houses, situated in leafy Hampstead. Party Regency style with risqué games or join a torch-lit tour about Keats’s loves and losses. Not just for loved-up couples, pop-up readings and workshops will guide you through the more surreal side of love poetry. The price includes a glass of bubbly. Book here

More Valentine’s Day ideas

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What’s On This Weekend. 4-6 October 2013 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:30:48 +0000 The days might be getting colder but that won’t stop Londoners getting out and having fun – check out these great events if you want to join in!

Japan Matsuri

Discover Japanese culture at this free one-day festival in Trafalgar Square. Opened by the Japanese ambassador at 11am, the festival runs until 9pm and offers you an opportunity to enjoy Japanese food, music, dance and fashion. A huge variety of entertainment will take place on the festival stage, including the Joji Hirota London Taiko Drummers, a Lolita fashion show and a display of ceremonial samurai armour with Usagi Juku, while experts will give dazzling demonstrations of their skills on the martial arts stage. 5 Oct

The SS Atlantica

Yearning for a more elegant life? Step back in time aboard the SS Atlantica, a 1930s-themed river cruise and boat party. You can sip champagne while watching the sights of London drift past, try your luck on the gaming tables or dance the night away to live bands playing music from the era. Tickets are £25. 5 Oct

Late Night Opening at the Churchill War Rooms

Enjoy an adults-only adventure at the Churchill War Rooms this Friday, when the attraction’s late opening provides a chance to discover your inner spy. Venture into the Prime Minister’s wartime bunker for a night of fun activities that include spy games, film screenings and your chance to win prizes. Refreshments will also be available from the pop-up bar.  The event starts at 6.30pm and tickets are £17. 4 Oct

London Lit Weekend at King’s Place

Listen to some big literary names at this small – yet perfectly formed – festival at King’s Place. Blending fiction, poetry, history, biography, music, horticulture and much more, the festival is set to be a thought-provoking immersion into contemporary literature. Speakers include Jeremy Paxman, Lotte Moggach, Jonathan Coe and Alfred Brendel. For full details of the programme and ticket options, visit the festival website. 4-6 Oct

Drive-in Film Club 

Ever wanted to experience the magic of American drive-in cinema? Head to Brent Cross this weekend to do just that, as the team behind the ever-popular Rooftop Film Club turn their hand to the traditional American cinematic experience. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October they will show a classic, popular or new film on their big screen – all you have to do is drive in, settle down and perhaps order a traditional American snack from the waitresses on rollerblades. Tickets are £22 per car. From 4 Oct

More London Events


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London Celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain Wed, 11 Aug 2010 15:00:10 +0000

Seventy years ago this summer, the first Luftwaffe bombers attacked London beginning what became known as the Battle of Britain.

Over the next few weeks, there are plenty of events in memory of this incredible period of London’s history during World War II. If you want to revisit the Battle of Britain in London, check out the following events:

BBC Big Band: Hits from the Blitz, Cadogan Hall, 12 Aug
Hits from the Blitz is a celebration of the greatest music from the war-time era, including nostalgic classics like We’ll Meet Again, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, and White Cliffs of Dover.

Battle of Britain at Churchill War Rooms, 17 Aug-31 Aug
Throughout the second half of August, there will be a number of exciting and unique events at Churchill War Rooms to remember the Battle of Britain.

Battle of Britain Fly-Past, Whitehall, 20 Aug
A Spitfire and a Hurricane will fly over Whitehall to commemorate the Battle of Britain on 20 August, after Winston Churchill’s speech referring to “the few” is played at the Churchill War Rooms.

Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary Concert, Chartwell, 4 Sep
Just outside London, National Trust’s Chartwell is Churchill’s former home. The Central Band of the Royal Air Force will take centre stage for a twilight concert commemorating the Battle of Britain. The band will be supported by period aircraft, archive film, special effects and narration. Visit for more info.

Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary Living History Weekend, Royal Air Force Museum, 11-12 Sep
Bring the whole family to the RAF Battle of Britain Living History Weekend at the Royal Air Force Museum to watch re-enactments and learn more about life during the battle.

Battle of Britain, Royal Festival Hall, 11 Sep
Get in the mood with a nostalgic blend of swing hits and wartime favourites at this Royal Festival Hall concert. With readings from High Flight and speeches from Churchill. Plus a traditional singalong to 1940s favourites Underneath the Arches, Run Rabbit Run, Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line

Battle of Britain Concert – A Musical Commemoration, Royal Albert Hall, 3 Oct
Timothy West introduces a stirring programme to commemorate and honour the Royal Air Force. The program features wartime favourites with readings from High Flight and speeches from Churchill and Henry V. Plus a ukulele tribute to George Formby.

The RAF in Concert, Barbican, 24 Nov
This year’s prestigious Royal Air Force in Concert officially commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with an exciting and nostalgic programme of music that will conjure up the atmosphere surrounding Britain’s “finest hour”.

Are you going to an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain? Let us know in the comments below.

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Question of the Week: Museums at Night: What Would You Like To See? Mon, 10 May 2010 09:47:01 +0000 This weekend museums and galleries all over Europe will be staying open after hours for Museums at Night. London is getting in on the act with more than 50 late night events taking place at cultural venues across the city.

There’s lots to choose between, from an adult sleepover at Churchill War Rooms to late night 10th birthday celebrations at Tate Modern. Play instruments into the night at the British Music Experience or see 19th century surgery by gas light at The Old Operating Theatre.

Tell us what you’d like to see at this year’s Museums at Night.

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Doctor Who, Winston Churchill and the Cabinet War Rooms Thu, 22 Apr 2010 15:32:47 +0000
If you watched Doctor Who, Victory of the Daleks on Saturday, you’ll know the episode was set in the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, the underground bunker from which Winston Churchill, the cabinet and military command ran the country during the Second World War.

The Churchill War Rooms are open to the public so you can go along and experience history for yourself. The bunker is almost exactly as it was left after the war, including the amazing map room. It’s incredible to think that so many people lived and worked here.

If you’re over 18, you can even sleepover in May for Museums at Night! I think the fear of seeing Daleks might keep me awake, despite the fact I definitely didn’t see any on my last visit!

If you’re brave enough to want to see a Dalek, check out our Doctor Who in London feature.

Although the episode wasn’t actually filmed in Churchill’s War Rooms, Mark Gatiss who wrote the episode (and played the Spitfire pilot) visited the museum for inspiration. Watch Mark’s visit in the behind-the-scenes show Doctor Who Confidential. We love the bit where Mark says:

“I would urge anybody who can to come and visit this place, it’s a museum but it’s an amazingly authentic experience. I would be very very happy if people who watched it and enjoyed the episode would then come here to find out more about it, because I think it’s a testament to an extraordinary group of people and an extraordinary time.”

Churchill War Rooms are open daily 9:00 – 18:00. Adults £14.95, concessions £7.50 – £12, under 16s free.

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