10 Fascinating Underground Places & Former Secrets Bunkers In The UK That You Can Actually Visit

By Steve Higgins
November 15, 2022 1:00 AM ‐ UndergroundUrbEx

This article is more than one year old.

Bunker Stairs Upward
All across the United Kingdom there are a selection of historic bunkers and underground spaces, once shrouded in secrecy that have been opened up to the public as museums and tourist attractions.

If you're a fan of exploring underground places, into military history or just love a day trip with a difference, then these ten formerly classified bunkers are for you.

10. Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Cheshire

Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich

Hack Green bunker near Nantwich in Cheshire is maintained as a museum. The two-level, facility was constructed in the 1950s and was used as a Regional Government Headquarters until 1992. Today it is packed full of wartime and military artefacts. The museum paints a terrifying picture of the harsh realities of a nuclear attack on the UK. Many of the bunker's original fixtures and fittings are still intact, while in other areas rooms have been reconstructed to demonstrate the different uses of the bunker throughout the decades.

Tripadvisor score: 4.0
More information: hackgreen.co.uk

9. Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Essex

Kelvedon Hatch, Essex

Not far from Brentwood is Kelvedon Hatch, a huge underground bunker, hidden beneath an innocent looking cottage in the Essex countryside. The bunker is spread over three floors and is accessible through a 100 meter long access tunnel from an ordinary looking cottage.

Kelvedon Hatch was built in the early 50s by the Air Ministry on land requisitioned from a local farmer. It was put in to operation in 1953 as an RAF ROTOR station, one of many bunkers across the country whose role was to provide complete radar cover for the UK. In 1992, the threat of the Cold War died down, the bunker was decommissioned and was bought back by the family of the original land owner. Now in private hands, the bunker has been restored and is now one of the country's most popular military museums.

Tripadvisor score: 4.0
More information: secretnuclearbunker.com

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8. Scotland's Secret Bunker, Fife

Scotland's Secret Bunker

One of the UK's biggest and most secret bunkers was situated near the small Scottish town of Anstruther in Fife. This regional government hideout was hidden beneath an innocent-looking Scottish farmhouse. The bunker was kept secret for over 50 years and was in use until 1993. It would have been occupied by UK Armed Forces and civil servants in preparation for a potential nuclear emergency. Following the Cold War, the bunker was unused for a decade before being reopened in 1994 as a museum.

Tripadvisor score: 4.0
More information: secretbunker.co.uk

7. York Cold War Bunker, York

York Cold War Bunker

Just a few minutes from the historic city centre of York is a well preserved Cold War bunker, which is now open to the public and provides a fascinating insight into the threat of nuclear war. English Heritage run guided tours of the atmospheric 1960s semi-subterranean bunker, which last for about an hour and gives you an idea of the bunker's vital role in ensuring the country could survive a nuclear attack.

Tripadvisor score: 4.5
More information: english-heritage.org.uk

6. Western Approaches HQ Museum, Liverpool

Western Approaches HQ Museum, Liverpool

The Western Approaches Museum is one of Liverpool's top five tourist attractions and is mostly housed in a restored WWII command centre hidden beneath Rumford Street. The museum is similar to the Churchill War Rooms, but tells a much different story. The bunker was originally home to a command centre responsible for the safety of British ships in an area of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Western Approaches. The museum has a huge amount of information about the Battle of the Atlantic and the service personnel who worked there in secrecy to combat the U-boat threat.

Tripadvisor score: 4.5
More information: liverpoolwarmuseum.co.uk

5. Mail Rail At The Postal Museum, London

Mail Rail at The Postal Museum, London

Mail Rail is the newest attraction on our list. The narrow gauge, driverless underground railway has been hidden beneath the streets of London since 1927, but closed in 2003. Its purpose was to move mail between sorting offices without having to take congested surface routes. It has recently been opened to the public and visitors are able to take a 15 minute ride on the underground mail train.

Tripadvisor score: 4.5
More information: postalmuseum.org

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4. Dover Castle, Kent

Dover Castle

English Heritage-owned Dover Castle is a great day out. Perched above the famous White Cliffs, a settlement has existed on the site since Saxon times, but the tunnels below the castle found a new lease of life on the outbreak of the Second World War. They were converted into an air raid shelter, and were later used as a secret underground command centre and hospital.

It's well worth trying to secure a place on a guided tour if you can, which will give you a great insight into the tunnels hidden deep within the cliffs, which are now home to a state-of-the-art attraction, as well as the atmospheric underground hospital.

Tripadvisor score: 4.5
More information: english-heritage.org.uk

3. Churchill War Rooms, London

The public entrance to the tourist attraction.

Situated under Whitehall in the centre of London, the Churchill War Rooms are the city's third best rated tourist attraction. They served as Prime Minster, Winston Churchill's hideaway during the Second World War and were built in a reinforced basement beneath the treasury building.

The facility was abandoned in 1945 as the war came to an end, but the site stayed in the hands of the government who maintained it and protected it for its historic value. In the early 80s, with the backing of Margaret Thatcher, the Imperial War Museum took over caring for the bunker and the War Rooms were opened to the public. Proving a popular tourist attraction, the bunker has been maintained and improved, it underwent major development works in 2005 and in 2012 had a facelift in the form of a new entrance.

Tripadvisor score: 4.5
More information: iwm.org.uk

2. Battle Of Britain Bunker, Uxbridge

Battle Of Britain Bunker

The underground operations room at RAF Uxbridge in the western suburbs of London is where fighter aircraft operations were controlled from throughout WWII, but it is most famous for the important role it played in the planning of the Battle of Britain. This bunker has been preserved as it was in 1945, down to original maps on the plotting room table. The museum's staff guide guests around the bunker on hugely informative and at times emotive one-hour tours.

Above ground there is a new visitor centre, which includes an informative Battle of Britain exhibit and a mock up of the plotting room for those who can't make it down the 76 steps. There's also a great cafe on site that is worth a visit.

Tripadvisor score: 5.0
More information: battleofbritainbunker.co.uk

1. Big Pit National Coal Museum, Wales

Big Pit National Coal Museum, Wales

Not only is the Big Pit an educational insight into Britain's coal mining history, the former working coal mine in South Wales is also completely free to visit. The mine operated from 1880 to 1980, and was opened to the public in 1983.

If you love exploring underground places, then you won't find an attraction much better suited. The highlight of the site is a real former coal mine which you can descend into via the mine's original lift shaft in order to embark on a fascinating guided tour. Back on the surface there's plenty more experiences to be had for underground buffs.

Tripadvisor score: 5.0
More information: museum.wales
Steve Higgins - Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits

This list was created by Steve Higgins, the author of the new underground exploration book, 'Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits' . The book offers a unique perspective, not just about the history of these underground places, but also about Steve's personal adventure, the fascinating underground secrets he uncovered and the people he met along the way.


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