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York Cold War Bunker, York

4.7
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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The York Cold War Bunker is a two-storey, semi-subterranean, Cold War bunker in the Holgate area of York, England, built in 1961 to monitor nuclear explosions and fallout in Yorkshire, in the event of nuclear war.

One of about 30 around the United Kingdom, the building was used throughout its operational existence as the regional headquarters and control centre for the Royal Observer Corps's No. 20 Group YORK between 1961 and 1991. It has become an English Heritage Scheduled Monument and was opened in 2006 by English Heritage as a tourist attraction.

During its Cold War operational period, the building could have supported 60 local volunteer members of the Royal Observer Corps, inclusive of a ten-man United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation scientific warning team. They would have collated details of nuclear bombs exploded within the UK and tracked radioactive fallout across the Yorkshire region, warning the public of its approach. This example of an ROC control building is the only one that is preserved in its operational condition. The others stand derelict or have either been demolished or sold. A few have been converted to other uses, like No. 16 Group Shrewsbury that is now a veterinary clinic, another is a recording studio, two are satellite and communications control centres, and one is a solicitor's file storage facility.

The fully restored building contains air filtration and generating plant, kitchen and canteen, dormitories, radio and landline communication equipment and specialist 1980s computers and a fully equipped operations room with vertical illuminated perspex maps.
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York Cold War Bunker reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
830 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • What a wonderful experience visiting the Bunker. The history is amazing, with very knowledgeable staff. Rooms are well preserved as is the equipment. Highly recommend a visit! 
    What a wonderful experience visiting the Bunker. The history is amazing, with very knowledgeable staff. Rooms are well preserved as is the equipment. Highly recommend a visit!  more »
  • Fascinating view into an element of the Cold War I knew very little about. The rooms and equipment have been well-preserved by EH, but are fragile, hence multiple requests to touch nothing. The guide....  more
    Fascinating view into an element of the Cold War I knew very little about. The rooms and equipment have been well-preserved by EH, but are fragile, hence multiple requests to touch nothing. The guide....  more »
  • Absolutely amazing site, this was the highlight of our trip to York. Our tour guide Jake was brilliant, really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the site. I cannot recommend this site enough! 
    Absolutely amazing site, this was the highlight of our trip to York. Our tour guide Jake was brilliant, really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the site. I cannot recommend this site enough!  more »
Google
  • Small, but well worth a visit if in the area. English Heritage and booking is essential. Tour lasts about 45 mins. Apparently there can be loud noises from the air con system - which didn't go off on our visit, but the threat of it did prevent a family going in. The introduction video was graphic, we were well warned by our guide, but is totally unsuitable for younger children. This is a really interesting historical period to get an insight into, a snippet of the 60s cold war atmosphere. We're members, but I think it's about £10 admission.
  • One of York best kept secrets. A great place to discover the history of the waiting game of the cold war. Now an English Heritage site that provides a guided tour of the site. The guide was Dale who had some fantastic knowledge. Definitely worth a visit. PRE-BOOKED TICKETS ONLY.
  • Super cool place to visit for an hour. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. Like walking into a 60s sci fi Movie. Only open on Friday to Sunday. Limited slots. Arrive 5 minutes early so no need for the others to wait for you. Start on time.
  • Absolutely amazing site, this was the highlight of our trip to York. Our tour guide Jake was brilliant, really knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the site. I cannot recommend this site enough!
  • Guided tours only around 1 hour. , a really good way to experience how men and women would have spent there time during the coldwar in this bunker. Our guilde was friendly and knowledgeable. Top job english heritage keeping this site and its contents preserved. Parking on site.

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