Did you know that you can visit a former Cold War Bunker in the East Riding of Yorkshire? RAF Holmpton near Withernsea was only recently decommissioned in 2014 and moved elsewhere. It was built in the 1950s as an early warning radar station as part of the ROTOR Radar Defence Programme.
We visited on a wet and cold winter’s day. It wasn’t a full day out but we did spend a couple of hours here and we enjoyed our visit. It’s always nice to do something a little bit different.
A Review of RAF Holmpton Cold War Bunker
There is a small and free car park for RAF Holmpton. The building above the bunker is a simple bungalow. They have a small shop and toilet facilities. Once you have paid you then descend the steps down into the Bunker. There are quite a few steps once you are within the bunker as there are different floors underground. It is not wheelchair accessible and I recommend that you don’t take a buggy.
Once you have descended the first set of stairs you come to a 120m long corridor lit by green lights. The air is pumped down and recycled from above and apparently, there is back up power in case the electricity goes out. That first corridor had a really strange feeling to it. Almost haunting.
When you reach the end of the corridor you come to a control room. Because we were the first to visit that day one of the staff members was in this room. He gave us a really fascinating talk about how air traffic is monitored, plus other interesting facts.
We were able to ask lots of questions and it was really very interesting in a non-geeky way. The control room is still working and they are still tracking air space which felt quite surreal. Here you pass through the blast doors which of course have never been blasted.
After this, you then enter a series of rooms across different levels. It feels a little bit like wandering around someone’s home. There’s a briefing room where you can sit and watch a video and they still have it set ready for someone to come in a brief the room. It’s all set up really well. Every room feels authentic to the bunkers past.
Rooms include the Hospital, dormitories, offices, telephone Exchange and message Centre.
Plus you can have a look around the plant rooms which is where we found another member of staff keen to tell us about how the bunker got its energy and ran efficiently. The members of staff do move around from room to room. It is worth talking to them and asking them questions as they are a wealth of knowledge.
In one of the 3 operations rooms, our son was given the chance to turn the handle on an air raid siren. All rooms are fully fitted out with original equipment.
Our favourite room of all was the leisure room. This is still completely authentic to its time and you are allowed to play on everything in the room. There is a pool table plus a working jukebox, arcade machine and pinball machine. We spent a very long time in this room and it was great fun. This is also where they had their bar. It certainly makes for something different to do and we would return.
RAF Holmpton FAQ & Further Information
Address: RAF Holmpton, Rysome Lane, Holmpton, HU19 2RG
Category – Historic Building – Indoors – Suitable for all ages
What are the ticket prices?
An adult ticket costs £9, under 16’s £7 and a family ticket (2+2) £28.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Underground cold war bunker that you can explore near Withernsea, with blast doors, many rooms authentic to the time and a fun leisure room. There are toilets and a small shop.
When are they open?
The bunker currently remains closed due to covid please support them when they reopen. For up to date opening times and dates please follow this link.
Is there food available?
There is no food or drinks available.
Is there parking?
There is free on-site parking.
Are they dog friendly?
Only assistance dogs are permitted.
Are they accessible?
The bunker is not accessible to wheelchairs or buggies. They have facilities for hearing impaired plus facilities for visually impaired.