York Cold War Bunker
Built in 1961 and in service for 30 years, this English Heritage property represents a chilling reminder of the UK’s Cold War history. Today, visitors can explore inside the semi-subterranean structure to learn more about the living quarters and control rooms that were designed to keep around 60 people alive in the event of a nuclear tragedy.
Set in residential surroundings just north of York, it’s easy to at first miss the bunker, though once you step inside, its complexity becomes clear. Tours typically begin by screening an introductory film that sets the scene of Britain’s Cold War, before guiding visitors through the filter rooms, decontamination facility, and dormitories, all of which have all been painstakingly restored to their original form.
Things to know before you go
- The restricted site can only be explored with an English Heritage guide.
- Some tours or passes include admission; otherwise, entry can be paid for on arrival.
- Wheelchair users must contact the venue in advance to arrange access; only one wheelchair can be accommodated at a time.
- There is a small shop on site that sells English Heritage souvenirs and books.
How to get there
Parking in the area is extremely limited, so a car-free transfer is recommended. Local bus numbers 1, 142, 412, and 413 all connect the bunker to the city. Otherwise, it’s a half hour journey on foot or 15 minutes by bike.
When to get there
The York Cold War Bunker is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the summer and is only open on weekends during the winter. Special events, such as art shows or book signings, take place every so often–check the schedule before you arrive to see what’s on when you’re there.
See More with a York Pass
York Pass holders receive free admission to the York Cold War Bunker, as well as many other must-see attractions, such as the JORVIK Viking Centre, York Dungeon, and York Minster. Plus, the multi-attraction pass can help you save on travel time, with 24-hour use of the city sightseeing bus and a river cruise included.