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Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Israel
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Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I'm thinking of spending a day exploring Britain's war history and am in need of advice about the Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms. Here goes:

1. Is the Britain at War Experience a cheesy, touristy exhibition in the vein of Madame Tussaud's? Is it moderately-interesting and more 'fun' than 'educational' (for lack of a better word), like the nearby London Dungeon? Or is it a truly interesting experience, as one would expect at a museum?

2. The Cabinet War Rooms seem interesting too, but are twice as expensive (even with concessions). Supposing I am going to the Imperial War Museum for sure, which site would you choose to supplement it - the Britain at War Experience or the Cabinet War Rooms?

Looking forward to hear from people who have been there and who have managed to follow my somewhat rambling query:-)

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Mesa, Arizona
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1. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I was at the War Rooms YEARS ago and I loved it. Fascinating. But I just looked at the price on line, and for me personally, I would not pay that much. US20 is my limit for a museum.

As to the Britain at War experience, I have no knowledge but I found this thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k27137…

Illinois
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2. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I would definitely recommend the Cabinet War Rooms, but I can't compare to the Britain at War experience, as I have not been there. The IWM does have a Blitz experience part. I don't know if that would be similar to Britain at War. I thought the Cabinet War Rooms were definitely worth the price. I've actually gone twice.

Israel
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3. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Thanks for your help people. Judging by what you said and reading the thread btgm brought up I think the best option will be to going to the IWM first and deciding whether to go to the Britain at War Experience or the War Roos afterwards. Still, if anyone else has some advice that could help me tip the scale one way or another (War Rooms vs. Experience), go ahead! The closest equivalent I can come up with is the DDR Museum in Berlin - is the BAWE similar to that or the (pretty childish) London Dungeon?

Edited: 13 March 2011, 10:55
UK
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4. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I haven't been to BaW but as I understand it, its very much about the impact on the wider general populace, the blitz and so forth, whereas the war rooms, which I have been to, are very much about Churchill and command of the war although its sometimes referred to as cabinet war rooms the website calls it Churchill War rooms, and there is a separate and included in the price exhibition on the life of Churchill), so you should take it from that perspective, as to whether you might like it.

I went to the CWR last autumn, really enjoyed it,we used the 2 4 1 offer, so I cant say I noticed it as being especially expensive, indeed looking it up, with 2 4 1 its only £8 each. Karenjme said her limit is $20, so its well under that as long as two are going. (I take it you are aware of 241 and thats what you meant by concessions?)

I think I'll have to checkout the BaW experience, certainly the website gives the impression its very much a serious exhibition and not "cheesy", wouldbe interesting to hear from anyone thats been.

Israel
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5. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Thanks for your in-depth tip. The way I see it is that, after the IWM, people who still feel the need to 'experience' the WWII thing in a 'realistic' fashion should go to the BAW. I must say I haven't got a clue about 2 4 1! By concessions I meant students' concessions. If you'd care to elaborate I'd like to hear more about it - whatever *it* is - and whether it applies to other museums as well. If it would mean getting into the War Rooms for 8 pounds then I'm game for it, as the info I got here so far has really made me want to see them.

Helsinki, Finland
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6. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I have visited all of those three museums and in my ranking the Cabinet War Rooms was most interesting. I do am interested in Churchill, but the exhibition provided lots of interesting information of the war anyway.

I have also visited Imperial War museum three times (it is free). Last time with one of my friends and her 18 years old daughter. Thinking that 18 years old girl was voluntarily spending three hours in the war museum, it must be an interesting museum. But I must add history was her favourite subject at school. During my first visit to Imperial War Museum, there was also Blizz experience, but I'm not sure if it still exists there.

Britain at War Experience was rather small and in my opinion did not provide too much to see. If you are interested in seeing how Londoners lived and experienced during Wotld War II, that exhibition provides you some experience. I would leave it last of those three alternatives, as for me it unfortunately was the disappointment.

Mesa, Arizona
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7. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Why dont you see what else is near Britain at War and War Rooms.

But I check the concession (discounted) price for seniors and its $20.50 (at today's X rate)...so I could live with that. And you get a free audio guide. It was fascinating to try and understand how people lived/worked like that during the war. So I now vote for War Rooms!

If you havent seen the very brief video on WRs, check this out:

http://cwr.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.1425

I checked on Google maps, and if you are a walker, the nearest things to War rooms: B Palace, 10 Downing Street, and if you go to BP, The Queens Gallery seems interesting.

Edinburgh, United...
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8. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Hi Lior667

I was put off visiting the Britain at War Experience after reading the reviews here on TA. I had thought it would be really good but decided against it. tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186338-…

I went to the Churchill Museum/War Rooms and was so glad I did. It is very interesting, it is well laid out, try the interactive war years screen, there is so much information on it. We spent 3 hours there. I have an intererest in WW2 so I really enjoyed it. (The cafe mid way in the war rooms section is lovely too!). You are given a hand held piece of equipment (like a big phone) and listen to a commentary at the War rooms section, and in the museum part there are numbers displayed beside exhibits so you press the number and listen to information. Would highly recommend it.

Steamboat Springs...
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9. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

I have been to both the War Rooms and the IWM. I rate the War Rooms first and the IWM a somewhat distant second since I have the advantage of being to several other museums similar to the IWM in the States and in Europe. One of the surprising exhibits in the War Rooms to me was the transatlantic telephone "Closet" used by Churchill when speaking to Roosevelt.

Cheers

lost in Ohio
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10. Re: Britain at War Experience and the Cabinet War Rooms

Could you compare, generally the IWM and the War Museum at Caen, France?

Thanks