Stockport Air Raid Shelters
Up to 6,500 people per night were accommodated in this network of sandstone tunnels during the Second World War, making them the largest purpose-built air raid shelters in the country.
And accommodate is the right word – the shelters were not as basic as you might think. During the Blitz, they had the nickname “The Chestergate Hotel” because of their facilities which included electric lights, wooden benches, bunk beds, a sick bay and first-aid post, and even flushing toilets.
They also had a reputation for being a good night out for the families who gathered there. Audio recordings dotted around the shelters include memories of the Stockport residents who stayed there in their youth. Listening to their stories while standing in the low-lit tunnels gives you some sense of what life must have been like in the Blitz.
There’s a small shop selling retro postcards, toys and souvenirs. All in all, it’s a fascinating place to spend an hour or so, and ideal for learning about everyday life during the Second World War.
Advance booking is recommended. A limited number of walk-up tickets are reserved each day. Fully-guided evening explorer tours are available, including children’s tours with access to hidden areas of the tunnels. Private tours are also available.