Cold War, nuclear winter that is.
I wanted to visit the recently revamped York Art Gallery and ceramic arts centre, but whenever we plan to visit York we never seem to quite get there. So to sweeten the deal and make sure we didn't end up somewhere more exciting instead I suggested we visit the York Cold War Bunker. For anyone familiar with York but not the bunker, it's in Holgate, just off Acomb Road, really easy to find and right on a great bus route, but it's also walkable from the train station and city centre if you're reasonably agile.
At just before 10am the gate slid open and we were allowed inside.
The bunker was operational, on a voluntary basis, from the 1960's until 1991 but only in active service, thankfully, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
All tours are guided, and it's a good thing, our guide Emily was so knowledgeable and made it far easier to understand the what, how and why of the situation. The York bunker is the only bunker remaining in this state, although others are still used for other purposes. Smaller, three person bunkers are dotted all over the country, this larger 60 person bunker existed to collect all the information from these smaller sites and report on them.
There was enough food, water and power for 30 days, after that the volunteers would have to leave the bunker and face whatever was left of the world!
I don't want to give too much else away in case anyone chooses to visit.
We were on the first tour of the day at 10am, there were four other people which made it a really nice group size and easy to see everything in the bunker, when we left at around 11.15 there were well over 20 people for the next tour, so it may be worth bearing in mind. Including Gift Aid the bunker is £7.90 to tour, but is an English Heritage property so if you're a member it will be free entry, well worth the money, I can imagine we'll visit again.
We walked into the centre after that to the gallery, which although I enjoyed it and the space is now a vast improvement on what was there before, I would have been a little disappointed to have to pay the full admission price of £7.50 (it's free with the Art Pass), although I am probably being a little hash there as they have done a brilliant job and there are some great pieces in their collection. The current exhibition Flesh is excellent, if not always pleasant viewing! It has made me very excited to see the Ron Mueck Artists Rooms at Ferrens Art Gallery, Hull as part of Hull 2017 Capital of Culture.
To top off an excellent day we stopped in Harrogate on the way home for provisions, thanks to a heads up from Pensive Pensioner we swiped our loyalty card as spends over £10 are rewarded this weekend with bonus points. We struck lucky and "won" 5000 points which I think is worth £25! I could be wrong but I think 500 points is £2.50. What a bonus!