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Cheshire East, England

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

On a site with a long military history, a 1980s shelter. 

A former government-owned nuclear bunker, Hack Green is located in Cheshire, England. It’s not as big and impressive as the bunker in Scotland, but it’s just as fascinating - perhaps even more so since Hack Green is situated in a relatively highly populated area in rural Cheshire, rather than hidden in Fife, which is far more isolated.

The Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker went operational in 1984, late in the Cold War. But it’s operators were able to get plenty of use out of it, as it wasn’t fully decommissioned until 1998 when it was opened to the public as a museum.

The site that the Hack Green Bunker sits on has a long military history. It was first used as a military area in World War II, decades before the Cold War, which prompted the construction of the bunker. A fake-out site was built at Hack Green during World War II to confuse Luftwaffe bombers that it was actually a vital railway junction at Crewe. A ground-controlled interception radar station was eventually added.

Already developed, the military continued to use the space after the war. In the 1950s, a reinforced concrete bunker or blockhouse was added and the site was used for control services to military aircraft crossing civil airspace. Eventually the site was abandoned and it sat empty for many years until the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker was built as part of a network of 17 such sites across the United Kingdon that were designed to enable government to continue operating in the aftermath of a major nuclear attack.

Now a museum, the bunker is open to curious tourists most of the year. It’s home to a substantial collection of Cold War and military memorabilia, including one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. The museum also provides visitors with information about how the bunker operated during the war. There is even a simulator designed to recreate conditions in the bunker during a nuclear attack.