Places with Second World War connections

From a military testing site to Churchill’s wartime home, coastal defences to a D-Day training area, several places we look after played an important role – sometimes in secret – during the Second World War. Here's a selection of how some of our places were involved.

The south front of Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill between 1922 and 1964, Kent

Chartwell, Kent

Chartwell was home to wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill from 1924 until the end of his life. Visit Churchill's study where he penned his wartime speeches and where the Union Flag flown over a liberated Rome in 1944 hangs.

Winston Churchill with NELLIE, Clumber Park 1941

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

‘Nellie’, Churchill’s prototype trench-cutting tank, was developed and tested at Clumber Park during the war and it was also a secret storage location for large quantities of ammunition. It wasn’t until 1955 that the military eventually left. Follow the Second World War walk to visit the sites of these wartime activities.

Second World War officers on the steps of Coleshill House, Coleshill, Oxfordshire

Coleshill, Oxfordshire

Over 3,000 men were trained as ‘Auxiliars’ – members of the British Resistance to be deployed in the event of a German invasion – at Coleshill during the war. Visit a replica of their underground training bunker on a guided tour.

Black and white aerial image of sick quarters at RAF Defford

Croome, West Midlands

The secret airbase of RAF Defford was Croome’s closest neighbour during the war and part of Croome's parkland served the miltary personnel and scientists working there. Visit the RAF Defford Museum or Croome’s visitor centre, restored from the country's only remaining Second World War hospital.

A coastal meadow with a row of old oak trees dips down to the Helford River

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall

Wartime relics run along the North Helford coastline. Follow the Second World War history walk to see the gun emplacements and pill boxes and visit Trebah beach, where American troops departed for Normandy on D-Day from Dolphin Pier.

Interactive Second World War displays in the Ice House

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

Hughenden’s wartime role was a closely guarded secret. Its closeness to Chequers and wooded surroundings meant it was a convenient base for Churchill and hard to spot from enemy reconnaissance planes. Visit the basement and ice house to find out more.

Bomb Ballistics on Orford Ness

Orford Ness, Suffolk

During the war Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast was used to for radio experiments and ballistics testing to determine the vulnerability of aircraft and their components under enemy fire.

Ancient field patterns and Carn Llidi

Pembrokeshire coast 

There are reminders of Pembrokeshire’s wartime role along its coastline. Look out for remnants of gun emplacements and a radar station along the cliff tops at Lydstep and St David’s Head and a memorial to a D-Day training tragedy at Freshwater West.

Second World War concrete dragon's teeth defences at Studland Beach, Dorset

Studland Beach, Dorset

Studland Beach was used as a training area for troops before D-Day. Follow the Second World War walk and spot the Fort Henry observation bunker and devices built to foil a German invasion such as ‘dragon’s teeth’ anti-tank defences and pill boxes.

Replica Dig for Victory allotment at Trengwainton, Cornwall

Trengwainton, Cornwall

Trengwainton played host to the Women's Land Army during the war. Every available green space was given over to food production and in one year 40 tonnes of rhubarb was grown. Visit the Dig for Victory allotment recreated in the orchard (complete with replica Anderson shelter) to learn about wartime produce, such as Home Guard potatoes, and growing your own. There’s also a ‘Hurrah for the Home Front’ event each year.

Upton House's south facard and terrace with vegetable planting

Upton House, West Midlands

Upton House was transformed into a bank during the war when the Bearsteds moved their family-owned city bank into their country home to protect bank staff and key assets from the worst of the London air raids. See how the clock has turned back at Upton House.

Tunnel inside of Fan Bay Deep Shelter

White Cliffs of Dover, Kent

Built in the 1940s on Churchill's orders, Fan Bay Deep Shelter under the White Cliffs of Dover was part of Dover’s offensive and defensive gun batteries. Take a guided tour of the tunnels, which are carved out of the chalk cliffs 23 metres below ground.