Following recent government announcements, all of IWM’s branches are now closed, including: IWM London, Churchill War Rooms, IWM Duxford and IWM North.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out more. 

This FAQ was updated on 23 December 2020

Are you open?

All of IWM’s branches including IWM London, IWM North, IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms are currently closed due to the government tier 4 restrictions.

HMS Belfast is closed for refurbishment until late summer 2021.

Is IWM’s Refugees season cancelled?

We have not cancelled our Refugees season which opened at IWM London on 24 September and at IWM North on 2 October. The Refugees exhibitions and programming will reopen to the public when our sites reopen.

What are the economic implications for IWM?

IWM is a charity. As well as our government funding, we rely on the income we receive from ticket purchases for our branches and major events to continue to tell the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Without the income generated from ticket purchases, it is inevitable that we will become more reliant on philanthropic support and charitable donations.

We are also dependant on financial and moral support from our members. If you would like to join IWM as a member and support us, please visit or contact us at

How will the closure affect IWM staff? Will there be staff redundancies?

IWM will protect staff contracts as far as possible and will be making use of the extended Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Will IWM be cancelling its upcoming exhibitions and public programming and commercial activities?

All activities including programming and tours planned to take place across IWM sites during this period of closure will not take place.

Will IWM be providing additional online content for visitors during site closure?

IWM will continue to tell the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War through our website and social media platforms.

If you become a member, you will receive regular eNews and get to see many of these stories and content first.

Booking a Visit
Do I need to book in advance, or can people just turn up at the museums when they reopen?

IWM are advising all visitors to book a time slot in advance to help us ensure that we enable social distancing across our different museums. This includes IWM Members who can book a free time slot.

If you arrive on the day without an advanced online booking, there may be a waiting period before you are allowed into the museum. If all the time slots have been booked online, it may not be possible for you to access the museum. We would therefore advise booking online in advance to ensure that you gain entry to the museum.

Do children require an advanced admission ticket?

Yes. All children of all ages require a ticket. This is to help us manage social distancing. This includes children aged under 5 who can enter our museums for free.

Will the IWM archive and research room be open?

We are pleased to announce that the Research Room will open to the public again from Wednesday 6 January. The arrangements for the re-opening will be Covid secure in line with Government guidelines. Initially we will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays 10-3pm to a reduced number of researchers. Find out more here.

Can I book a school visit?

We will be welcoming schools back from September 2021.  

Keeping you Safe during your visit
Will I need to wear a mask?

Yes. Visitors are required to wear masks in line with government guidelines unless there is a legitimate reason not to do so.

How will you ensure people are kept a safe distance from one another?

Visitors to the museum should adhere to the government recommendations on physical distancing and numbers within groups. This means that you should, where possible, keep 2m apart from other visitors who are not in your household or support bubble. It may also require limiting the number of people you visit us with.

We will be limiting the number of visitors to each of our museums so that physical distancing can be observed. We recommend that visitors book a time slot in advance for entry and it is possible that queuing will be required to enter the busier parts of our museums.

Some parts of our museums have very narrow areas. We would be grateful if visitors could take special care in these areas, give way to others who are already moving through, and use a face covering where appropriate.

We will be very grateful for your patience and understanding where this is required.

Will there be facilities for handwashing and sanitisation throughout the museum?

Hand washing/hand sanitising will be encouraged, and hand sanitiser points will be set up throughout the different sites in key areas to ensure visitors can wash and sanitise their hands regularly.

We have increased the amount of cleaning that we do, especially in busy visitor areas. We will pay special attention to stair handrails, doors, lifts, toilets areas, and any interactive gallery points.

What if I have had coronavirus symptoms?

You must not visit the museums if you have had any symptoms of coronavirus within the last 7 days.

This also applies if any member of your household has had symptoms within the past 14 days, or if you have had contact during that time with anybody who has subsequently developed symptoms of coronavirus. In these cases, you should stay at home and self-isolate as per government guidelines.

If you have booked tickets for our museums but have developed symptoms of coronavirus, or if you need to self-isolate for any other reason, please let us know by contacting us via our online form and we will be able to assist further with your enquiry. 

Will I be able to talk to IWM staff?

Yes. All of our staff have had special training to ensure they are fully aware of all of the guidance and will be available to safely support your experience. Please feel free to engage with them at any point during your visit.

People over the age of 70 have been deemed as high risk and have been asked to self-isolate. How is IWM looking out for the welfare of veterans and eyewitnesses that support its public programming?

IWM will continue to be in close contact with the many veterans and eyewitnesses of the Second World War, Korean War and other conflicts that support our public programming activities. The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers, including veterans and eyewitnesses, always comes first.

Will IWM be supporting the NHS Test and Trace tracking system?

Yes, IWM is working with the Government to ensure that we can support the NHS Test and Trace tracking system. Your contact details, group size and time of visit will be collected when you book or attend one of our branches.

Will the toilets be open?

Toilets will be available for use during your visit. Where necessary, toilets will have social distancing measures in place, and it may be necessary to queue for toilets. We strongly recommend wearing facemasks in the busier areas of our museums like toilets.

There will be enhanced cleaning in all our toilets

Will the cafes be open? How will you keep them safe?

The Armoury café at IWM Duxford, which is located next to the visitor centre will be open for take away snacks and refreshments. The Workshop Restaurant and the American Café at Duxford will remain closed until further notice.

Our catering outlets at all other branches remain closed until further notice. Please check the pages for each of our museums for the latest information specific to that branch.

We have been working very closely with our onsite caterers to ensure safety for both visitors and staff. Perspex screens will be in place at all till points and a queuing system will be in place which will allow for appropriate physical distancing. Our cleaning schedule will be increased to ensure all hard surfaces are regularly cleaned.

Will the shops be open? Can I touch the products?

Retail shops will be open in each of our museums except HMS Belfast which will remain closed for the immediate future.

Customers will be free to browse products as normal, but we ask that customers use a hand sanitisation station before and after doing so.

We will not be able to accept cash, but you can still pay by card. We will clean the chip and pin machines regularly for customers who wish to make purchases over the contactless limit. We will have a hand sanitiser positioned beside all chip and pin machines for visitors to use.

Can I use cash?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept cash in our museums when we reopen. All payments for tickets, cafes, shops, and any donations you may wish to make will need to be made by payment card.

Tickets for entry and tours might be available to buy on the day depending on how busy it is, but we strongly recommend booking in advance to guarantee your experience, and also to reduce the amount of contact required at our entry desks.

Will you have lockers available?

Unfortunately, we will be unable to provide lockers while the existing coronavirus measures are in place. We request that visitors do not bring large heavy bags or other difficult to carry objects.

Can I bring a children’s push chair?

You can still bring pushchairs to our museums as normal. We will have a buggy park near the locker area at the west entrance of IWM London.

Will I be able to use a water fountain?

Unfortunately, all water fountains will be closed. We recommend you bring bottles of water with you, and drinks will be available to buy from our shops, and our cafes where these are open.

Air Show and Events
Will you be having air shows and flying days in 2021?

IWM Duxford will host two thrilling Air Shows and ten Flying Days in 2021.

The Air Shows take place over the weekends of 24-25 July and 18-19 September. These will include entertaining ground content and of course, our signature air displays. 

Next year will see the introduction of ten Flying Days at IWM Duxford, which will run on various dates from April to October. From D-Day to commemorating the valiant efforts of RAF Duxford’s Squadron 19, each of these Flying Days will be themed and will allow visitors the chance to explore our museum and pop up displays and experiences, before enjoying hours of flying action in the skies.

Find out more and sign-up for ticket alerts here.

Are you still doing events and tours? Will they be safe?

For the latest information about our events, please go to the pages specific to the events for the latest information:

IWM London 

IWM North

IWM Duxford 

Churchill War Rooms

Guided tours and events in our museums will resume once our sites reopen, and we recommend that you book timed tickets on our website in advance.

New dates will be going live for events taking place in 2021 during this period, so make sure to keep an eye on our events pages and book early to avoid disappointment.

If you would like to book a guided tour on the day you visit, please go to our visitor information desk. To keep visitors safe, capacities for tours have been reduced, and additional cleaning has been introduced for tours that require headsets.

Accessibility Information
IWM London

The West entrance will still be open for visitors with access requirements. Wheelchairs will also be available to borrow. We will clean loan wheelchairs after use, and there will also be a self sanitisation point for loan wheelchairs should visitors wish to use it.

IWM North

There is no change to accessibility at IWM North. The lifts are open (we request that people only share lifts with members of their household), and wheelchairs are available on site on request. Accessible toilets and Baby changing facilities remain open on the ground floor of the museum.

IWM Duxford

There is no change to accessibility at IWM Duxford. Wheelchairs are available to borrow, and there is a small visitor bus that travels between the various parts of the site. Lifts are available to use alongside members of your household. Accessible toilets and baby changing facilities will be open as normal.

Churchill War Rooms

The lift at Churchill War Rooms remains open, and there is no change to our accessibility. Once on the lower floor, everything is on one level.

Site Specific Information
I would like to visit IWM London - what else do I need to know?

As with other IWM branches, we will not have any locker facilities available so please do not bring any large bags or suitcases. There will be limited space for storing pushchairs.


I would like to visit IWM North - what else do I need to know?

Our car park will be open, and you can pay by cash or card. Please ensure you have the exact change if you wish to pay by cash as no change will be available on site.

The car parking charge is:

0-4 hours £5.00

4-6 hours £7.00

6-8 hours £8.00

8-12 hours £10.00

12-24 hours £15.00

As with other IWM branches, we will not have any locker facilities available so please do not bring any large bags or suitcases.

The special exhibition gallery is currently closed for the installation of our new exhibition Aid Workers: Ethics under Fire.

I would like to visit IWM Duxford – what else do I need to know?

The car park at Duxford remains free of charge and will be available as normal, including blue badge parking.

We strongly recommend that all visitors book tickets in advance.

I would like to visit Churchill War Rooms – what else do I need to know?

To ensure the safety of visitors, we will be changing the route slightly, but this will have no impact on accessibility, and the lift will still be in service.

We will be issuing audio guides as usual. These will be individually cleaned by our staff. Visitors wishing to clean them again will be supplied with a wipe. Visitors are encouraged to use their own earphones to plug into the standard 3.5mm jack rather than holding the audio guide to their ear. 

Unfortunately there are no cloakroom or locker facilities at Churchill War Rooms so we are unable to allow access to visitors with suitcases, pull along baggage, or large holdalls.

We strongly recommend that all visitors book tickets in advance.

I have a question about my membership, how do I contact the membership team?

We are very grateful to all of our members for their support during this challenging time, and we have been pleased to hear such positive feedback about your enjoyment of the Members’ eNews, digital content, and stories during lockdown.

IWM is a charity, and even in normal times the financial support from our members is important to ensure we can continue our vital work. During the last few months, when many sources of income have not been available to us, it has been more important than ever.

If you have any questions about your current membership, renewing your membership, or any other membership enquiry, please email and the team will be happy to help.

Will the fast track queues for members at IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms be available?

While we are operating advanced bookings we are having to pause the fast track queues at IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms. However, we are confident that your pre-booked member entry will still be smooth as numbers are being managed closely. Thank you for your understanding.

I would like to support Imperial War Museums at this time. How do I do that?

If you would like to support us by becoming a member, you can do this easily on our Membership page. This is the best way to support us and our work. If you would prefer to make a donation, this will still provide much needed help, and you can do this on our JustGiving page. You can also help us by taking advantage of our great experiences, buying from our online and museum shops, and using our museum cafes.

Online IWM Shop
Can I order from IWM online?

Yes – please do! We need your support now more than ever.

IWM premium members get a 15% discount from our online and museum shops.

Both our online shop and IWM Prints are continuing to process orders in line with the advice from Public Health England

Is it safe to receive an online delivery?

Public Health England has advised that there is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted from post, packages or parcels, therefore customers receiving goods are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).

What if I am self-isolating or do not wish to come into contact with a delivery driver?

Our couriers will be not be handing over their devices to capture electronic signatures. Drivers will instead log customer details on their behalf when delivered to act as proof of delivery. Customers therefore will be able to receive their deliveries without coming into contact with the driver.

Are deliveries of parcels running on time?

IWM will continue to send parcels to all areas. However, it is possible that attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus by our couriers could result in delivery delays for some of our services.

How do I return a product if I’m self-isolating?

IWM will extend our returns period for anyone self-isolating as long as the item meets the other terms and conditions of our returns policy.

Impact of Covid-19 on IWM
What are the economic implications for IWM?

IWM is a charity. As well as our government funding, we rely on the income we receive from ticket purchases for our branches and major events, as well as the financial support of our members and donors, to continue to tell the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Without the income generated from ticket purchases, it is inevitable that we will become more reliant on philanthropic support and charitable donations.

There are lots of ways that you can help IWM. We would love you to join as a member, which as well as helping us to continue, gives free access to all of our museums, and will allow priority booking when we first reopen. You can also help by donating in the museums or on our JustGiving page, by booking on one of our great experiences, or just from buying products, food and drinks in our shops and cafes. We are grateful for any help you can give.

Will IWM continue to provide additional online content even when sites reopen?

IWM has continued to tell the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War through our website and social media platforms during the period of lockdown. This content has proven to be very popular, will remain available, and we will continue to add to it in future.

IWM Members enjoy the online content we provide via members eNews, and we will continue to provide this to our members going forward, including priority access to online events and sneak peeks to inspirational stories. We recognise this will continue to be particularly important to all our international members and supporters over the coming monthsduring our closure period.

I have tried calling IWM but cannot get through. Why is that?

The current situation means that many of our frontline customer service staff are having to work remotely from home and do not have access to our phone system. If you have any questions please let us know using our Contact Us form and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for bearing with us during this challenging period.

What does this mean for Freedom of Information requests?

Although we are trying to answer all Data Protection and Freedom of Information requests within the statutory time frames responses may be delayed significantly as IWM staff are now working remotely with limited access to the IWM network. Further information on Data Protection and Covid-19 can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website

My question isn’t answered here. How can I find the answer to my question?

If you haven’t been able to find the answer to your question here, please submit your enquiry through our Contact Us form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.