Like a moment frozen in time, York’s Cold War bunker takes visitors back to an era where the threat of nuclear explosions prompted the construction of this space. The partially-underground bunker is a glimpse into the recent history of the British Cold War, built in 1961 to monitor fallout. It was decommissioned in the 1990s, but remains a reminder of what it is like to live under the threat of nuclear war. Today it is an English Heritage Scheduled Monument and the only ROC control building that can still be seen in operational condition.
With protected rooms across three levels, the air and water filter rooms and decontamination facility are particularly interesting. There are living quarters, a kitchen, and bathrooms, as well as a communication and control room and radiation detectors. Designed to fit up to 60 people and to operate completely separate from the outside world, it’s a fascinating look at an often overlooked period in British history. It’s a worthwhile addition to any tour of the city of York.
Open on weekends and by guided tour only, it’s best to plan your visit to the bunker in advance. Get there on foot in about thirty minutes from York, or take the 1 or 412 buses from the train station to Acomb Road.