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Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Kelvedon Hatch

Categories: Historic Sites, Military Facilities, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.9/5 based on 460+ reviews on the web
The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch, in the Borough of Brentwood in the English county of Essex, is a large underground bunker maintained during the cold war as a potential regional government headquarters. Since being decommissioned in 1992, the bunker has been open to the public as a tourist attraction, with a museum focusing on its cold war history.Building and intended purposeThe bunker was first built as an air defence station as part of the RAF ROTOR air defence project. Upon the demise of the ROTOR SOC the remaining Nuclear Reporting Cell and UKWMO elements were incorporated into a Home Office 'Regional Seat of Government' or RSG. The bunker was able to hold various numbers of military and civilian personnel, the numbers changing over the years as the role of the building changed from SOC to RSG and in its later years; 'Regional Government Headquarters' or RGHQ. In the event of a nuclear strike the RSG / RGHQs etc. would be tasked to organise the survival of the population and continue government operations.HistoryThe Kelvedon Hatch bunker was built in 1952 - 53 as part of ROTOR. ROTOR was a programme to improve and harden Britain's air defence network. It was constructed by Peter Lind & Company of London who still trade today. The bunker was a hardened (three level 'R4') Sector Operations Centre (SOC) for RAF Fighter Command. It was to provide command and control of the London Sector of Fighter Command.During the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early into the 1990s, the UK government (Home Office) maintained the bunker as an emergency regional government defence site. Eventually in the early 1990s when nuclear threat was seen as diminished, the bunker was sold back to the farming family who had owned the land in the 1950s. It is now a Cold War museum and retains many of its original ROTOR and RSG/RGHQ features.
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  • Very good, very creepy, lots of history. And well worth the £16.50 which we paid for a family ticket would recommend. 
  • Firstly, yes the bunker is badly sign posted and hard to find. Our first impression was the awful toilet block. It is extremely basic and spidery, however had I waited till half way round the tour the...  read more »
  • Having visited all the other uk bunkers open to the public we found this by far to be the most interesting, such a well thought out design. Far bigger inside than we imagined. It was incredible. Witho...  read more »
  • Totally eccentric museum, fantastic artifacts & chilling old videos about how to prepare for a nuclear attack (hide under a table with a few sandbags and see if you can survive fall out). Visit the actual bunker that was kitted out to house 600 government officials & military while those of us in the hoi polloi fried outside. Definitely worth a visit to check out the secret bunker and the old cold war era computer equipment. Listen out for the slightly wacky yet informative commentary on the visitor handsets too. Recommend.
  • If you have never been, or even if you have little interest, its still worth a visit, you will be suprised at what you will learn about MOD and govenment activity, the self guided tour via the wands is very simple and the comentry becomes more entertaining as the tour goes on. Workth a sunday afternoon visit.
  • You just won't believe what they built under an Essex farm. It goes down about 4 floors with large rooms and stairs. Lots of original features remain plus recreations. Lots of fun and plenty to see.
  • Surprisingly informative, even if some of the decor (as in the additions, not original) is a little cliche! The self-run cafe is fantastic, and the staff there are accommodating.
  • Be sure to visit this place if you have the chance. An opportunity to see preparations for the nation's worst fears - and realise that "[i]f the Third World War is fought with nuclear weapons, the fourth will be fought with bows and arrows" - Lord Mountbatten
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