Visiting - Explore
The bunker is in no way a small, confined space. It was once the workplace for more than 300 people who even slept here during shifts, which means there are sleeping quarters, offices and secret rooms to explore – some rooms we haven’t opened to the public yet or even found!
The vast bunker will take you approx. 1 hour 15 mins to explore, maybe more depending on what you find to see and do and at the end of the tour you will be pleased to find hot drinks and biscuits at war time prices.
Here is a brief list of some of the rooms you will find on your tour;
Into the bunker
Walking down the staircase into the bunker you will pass by a guard’s desk and walk along a corridor into the first room.
The ‘Road to War’
The first room you will enter is known as the Road to War Room. The Road War to War Room holds an exhibition on the story of the road to war and why the Western Approaches site was set up in Liverpool. You can move around the displays in this room and look for extra hands-on information in cabinets, pigeon holes and stands. This room contains artefacts from the inter-war period and maps and blueprints of the Western Approaches site. There are 2 interactive aspects aside from the interpretation. Visitors are invited to make ‘kites’ out of Reichsmark bank notes and play the role of an architect sitting and drawing at an architects’ desk.
The Radio Room
This is a small room dressed to show radio equipment, maps and coordinates. There are quiet sound effects in this room.
The Power Corridor
The power corridor connects the “Road to War” room to the radio room. This area of the building is slightly narrow though there is plenty of room for 2 people to walk side by side and stop to read the information on display. However, for larger groups it is more difficult to move around this section at the same time. On the wall there is a power board and an information panel.
This is a small room with a memorial to all those who died in the Battle of the Atlantic. The lighting in this room is low.
The Main Operations Room
This is the biggest room at the site. Visitors can walk around and sit down at desks. The desks are laid out with paperwork and documents which can be handled, opened, and read to learn about people who worked in this building. Everything on the desks can be touched including phones, jackets and hats to dress up in. There are quiet sounds effects.
Connecting to the Operations room are the RAF and Royal Navy cabins. There 3 steps up to each cabin. They both contain working typewriters which can be used by visitors. On exiting the RAF cabin, you will go up a staircase onto the next floor. To the right is a guard desk with a key cabinet with an original pinup girl poster still on the inside.
The bunk rooms are dressed as officers’ bedrooms.
This room is laid out to replicate Admiral Max Horton’s office with books, cigars and golf balls.
There is a speaking tube connected to the cabin below, so you may hear sounds from downstairs.
The next section of the building is a connecting corridor. There is a slight ramp. Here you can read about the use of back up batteries, though this area is under development and will shortly hold an exhibition telling the story of Nan Currie the Superintendent of WRNS at Western Approaches.
In the same area is a Second World War projector once used by Winston Churchill.
Johnnie Walker room
In this room you can watch several video clips and take a seat on the benches and chairs. Around the room you can find information about U-boats. IT also contains a small exhibition on the work of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit. Between the Johnnie Walker room and the next area there is a door which is for staff only. If needed, this door can be used to get straight back to the reception area and toilets without going back or going around the rest of the building.
There is a staircase down to the next area. The teleprinter room shows a video on how a teleprinter machine works. There is also the chance to learn about Morse Code.
You will then walk along a series of corridors where you can look in small rooms, following the arrows to reach the next area.
The street scene is a recreation of a 1940’s street. Visitors can go into the shops and look through the windows. There are quiet sound effects in this room. There is a hopscotch and a dressing up area. There is information around the room on food, clothes and the black market. Visitors are welcome to use this space to play, read or just wander around.
There is a video playing in this room of Liverpool at war. Here visitors are invited to take a seat and help themselves to tea, coffee and biscuits at World War Two prices (2p) or any donation amount. Please note that due to the changing nature of our biscuits we cannot always be confident about what allergens may be present in them. On the tables there are books and games for visitors to use. Please use this space for as long as you like. To continue with the tour, walk back through the street scene and out of the door. You will see signs to guide you.
Please note that this space is also used as an education room for school trips and may not be available to use if there is a school group in. If this room is unavailable, all refreshments will be moved into the Canada room.
This is the last room you will go into on your tour of the building. This room has displays dedicated to the involvement of Canada in the Second World War. The staircase in this room leads you back to reception.