UK’s Deepest Underground Bar Set To Open In London

Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

Plans have been revealed for a spectacular underground tourist attraction in London. The £220 million development will transform a mile-long series of World War II tunnels into an immersive experience that includes the deepest licensed bar in the UK.

The Kingsway Exchange Tunnels were built in London between 1940 and 1942 and were used to protect Brits during the Blitz. The tunnels are located between Chancery Lane and High Holburn tube stations, which are more than 130ft below ground.

The tunnels have not been open to the public since 1942, but they have since been used as the home of Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, an offshoot of MI6 and the real-life inspiration for James Bond’s Q Branch. James Bond writer Ian Fleming even worked there for a short period and the location was said to be the inspiration behind the James Bond Q operations.

The new attraction would reopen the tunnels to the public with heritage trails, featuring integrative structures and immersive experiences, along with the renovation of a bar that was built by British Telecom on-site in the 1980s and used by government staff.

London Tunnels CEO Angus Murray said: “The history of the tunnels, their scale and the location between London’s Holborn and the historic Square Mile, could make these tunnels one of London’s most popular tourist destinations.

“Visitors will be able to explore the inspiration for Q Branch from James Bond and an actual deep-level shelter to protect the British against German bombing.”

The project is being conducted in partnership with established architecture firm Wilkinson-Eyre, the firm behind the Battersea Power Station, Science Museum and Mary Rose Museum, as well as overseas attractions including the famous Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and the Ikea Museum in Sweden.

An official opening date and ticket prices are yet to be revealed, but it’s thought that the earliest date will be in 2027 when the attraction hopes to attract as many as two million tourists.

If you can’t wait that long, London Underground also periodically hosts Hidden London tours exploring the city’s abandoned tube stations and tunnels. Find out more at the Hidden London website.