James Bond is getting an exhibition in London’s secret wartime tunnels

There’s whole subterranean world beneath London. As well as the tube network and sewers, the capital has loads of secret underground tunnels built during World War II as bomb shelters and later used by spies. Now, one famous spy is getting their own exhibition in some of the Big Smoke’s hidden passages.

James Bond might not have been a real secret agent, but that doesn’t make him any less an iconic part of London. In a new exhibit, you’ll be able to explore all things 007 while walking around the capital’s concealed wartime tunnels. 

The Bond show could be the first experience coming to a new underground museum that will be built in the Kingsway Tunnels, which run under High Holborn. The subterranean passages, spanning 7,000 square metres, were built beneath Chancery Lane Tube station to shelter thousands of Londoners from the Blitz during the war. Then, when there were no more bombings the tunnels were used as a secret telecommunications centre and base for the Special Operations Executive, which parachuted agents behind enemy lines. Exciting stuff. 

Developers yesterday (June 11) had planning permission approved to turn the tunnels into a cultural space where visitors can learn about WWII and the Cold War. The planning documents also said the underground museum ‘may be used for medium term exhibitions on associated themes such as James Bond, a subject deriving from Ian Fleming’s reference to the tunnels in his first book of the secret’. 

Developers said they were looking at ‘partnerships with historical and heritage institutions within London’, including the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Museum of London.

Last year, plans were revealed to open some of London’s WWII tunnels used by spies and soldiers to the public in a brand new museum. However, they’re not likely to be open to the public until 2027. It’s not been revealed when the Kingsway Tunnels will open either. Check back here for updates!

Can’t wait for the tunnels? Here are the best museums in London

Plus: An immersive ‘Friends’ experience is coming to London this summer.

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