(Image: Diliff. Rumours of a Buckingham Palace tunnel persist despite lack of evidence)
Rumours of top secret tunnels are common to all cities across the United Kingdom, not just London, but tales of one or more escape tunnels from Buckingham Palace are among the most enduring – and unsubstantiated. Some claim the Buckingham Palace tunnels run under Green Park to the Piccadilly Tube line or the nearby Victoria Line, and were supposedly intended to allow royals to escape to Heathrow in times of crisis. Another version says a tunnel runs to Wellington Barracks across the road.
There is, however, no evidence for such tunnels beyond hearsay and, as IanVisits rightly asks, “if you needed to escape from Buckingham Palace in a hurry, would you take a slow train to Heathrow, or take a helicopter to a designated military airfield?” Like Fictional Cities, IanVisits goes on to mention another secret tunnel, Q-Whitehall, which actually does exist.
(Image: J Woods)
But where, assuming the tales are indeed completely unfounded, did the rumours of escape tunnels under Buckingham Palace spring from? Well, who knows… But such tales are hardly unique across the UK.
Some have suggested that such rumours are a modern retelling of centuries-old urban legends concerning secret passages and buried treasure. But even without such fantastical elements as hidden riches, rumoured escape tunnels have endured in the oral tradition for hundreds of years.
Tales of tunnels linking medieval castles to nearby manor houses and passageways carved through sold rock to help monks escape persecution during the Reformation seem to have given way to Cold War nuclear bunkers not yet revealed, escape tunnels connecting royals and VIPs to transport hubs, and any other hidden subterranean that may or may not have any basis in fact.
Tales of tunnels and secret passages are fun (we’re huge fans of them at Urban Ghosts!), at times compelling. And there’s no doubt that some do exist, and others may well be revealed in the future. But the Buckingham Palace tunnels will most likely remain firmly in the annals of urban legend.