Constructed in 1961, the York Cold War Bunker operated as part of a national defence system against nuclear strikes during the Cold War. Following the Second World War, the British government formed divisions dedicating to studying nuclear weaponry and prepare the country for dealing with the fallout of such an attack.

The role of the York Cold War Bunker was to track nuclear explosions and their radiation output. The existence of the bunker was an open secret in the local area. Despite this, the bunker was an integral part of a system of communication and radiation detection. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and lessening Cold War tensions, the network of bunkers was disbanded in the early 1990s. In 2000, English Heritage gained ownership of the property and opened it for public viewing. It is an excellent example of British technology in the Cold War era.

Things to do:

  • Explore the bunker filled with original detection and communication equipment.
  • Visitors can examine the decontamination facilities that was primed to protect 60 person workforce from nuclear radiation.
  • An hour long guided tour accompanied by a ten minute film (subtitles available).
  • A shop containing themed souvenirs and gifts.

For opening times and prices, click here.


The site is wheelchair accessible with ramps and wheelchair lifts. However, the corridors can be narrow and due to health and safety only one wheelchair can be in the bunker at a time.

There is limited parking on the property.

Accessible toilets are available.

Assistance dogs are welcome.

For more information, click here.

Visit the National Railway Museum, only a short distance away!


Q Are dogs welcome?

Only assistance dogs are welcome.

Q Is parking free?


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