Six miles outside of St. Andrews lies a plain brick home in the middle of an open grass field. To the unsuspecting eye, nothing seems out of place but to those in the know, it’s hiding a huge war secret.
What’s The Secret?
One hundred feet underneath this guardhouse disguised as a quaint farmhouse, lies Scotland’s best-kept secret for over 40 years– a two level, 24,000 sqft, fully equipped bomb shelter.
The 18-inch thick concrete shelter with blast-proof doors was built to protect those in command during a nuclear attack and can only be accessed by a hidden passageway in the faux farmhouse.
Today, Scotland’s Secret Bunker is open to the public and you can go deep inside and experience what would have happened if there was an actual attack.
Why Were They Built?
Bunkers were originally used by the military to protect people and materials from falling bombs. The majority were built underground. They were used extensively during WWI, WWll, and of course the Cold War. Scotland’s Secret Bunker was built in 1953 during the Cold War.
Let’s start with a very basic definition of the Cold War. From 1947 to 1991, the term “Cold War” was used to describe the 44-year standoff between the two superpowers– the United States and the Soviet Union. The term “cold” was used because there was no large-scale physical war between the two sides. But even without the direct fighting the threat of a nuclear strike always loomed large like a black cloud.
If you want a more thorough explanation watch this video below by John D Ruddy . It’s your whole 2-week history lesson rolled into 9-minutes:
Protecting The Important People
During that time, governments decided they needed a place to ensure command operations could continue if the worst case scenario of atomic warfare did occur. Underground bunkers were specially designed for that purpose, to protect its occupants from radioactive debris or fallout if a nuclear explosion became real.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker
This brings us back to Scotland’s Secret Bunker near St. Andrews in Fife and what’s inside.
Never judge a book by its cover as they say because this innocent looking farmhouse was actually the bunker guardhouse and was never used as a home. It was reinforced with concrete and steel girders to protect the security guards inside.
The actual bunker is a thick reinforced concrete building that sits in a 130-foot deep hole with a gravel foundation. The outer layer is made of brick and netting.
To enter the bunker, you need to descend down a narrow 150-yard tunnel to the hermetically sealed 3-ton blast-proof doors where you will find a command center, dormitories, broadcasting studio, chapel, and CND room (a room dedicated to the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).
To the purists, I guess they would classify this as more of a museum rather than a re-creation of the actual bunker. From some of the different blog posts I read supposedly there are some historical inaccuracies with some of the equipment, weapons, displays, etc.
I don’t know about all that or really care. The fact that you can go down to the bowels of the earth into a nuclear bomb shelter is pretty darn cool in my book. So take my advice and approach it with that attitude…you will be much happier. We had a great time and found it very fascinating.
It took us about an hour to explore all the rooms, I think there were about 28. There is a gift shop before you enter, and a very small cafe and toilets in the bunker below.
We would give this a thumbs up–meaning it’s worth a visit if you are in the area.
Location, Hours, Cost, etc.
Scotland’s Secret Bunker is actually not so secret, because there are signs everywhere! But remember it’s original intent was to be hidden so when you are traveling down the dirt road in a grass field, you’re not lost.
Hours – 10am to 5pm Daily
Before I leave you with my very crudely done vertical instagram video, I want to address the issue of claustrophobia. You know who you are, and I feel you and I am with you all the way.
I didn’t want to drag my poor husband all the way out to the bunker if it was like the size of a coffin and I got cold feet and changed my mind. I scoured the internet and all the reviews to see if anyone addressed it, and they didn’t.
So here’s my PSA for all you fellow claustrophobics. It actually wasn’t that bad–as you can see below.
Take care everyone and happy trails 👣!