It had never occurred to us to visit Bletchley Park until good friends told us about their interesting day trip last month. We’ve watched the film ‘The Imitation Game’ a couple of times, but it had never dawned on us that we could go and see the codebreaking machine for ourselves.
Before long we had booked our tickets and off we set. It’s about an hour’s drive from HP10, but it’s a lovely country drive which took us past many villages we had never even heard of. Wing, one of these Aylesbury Vale villages, had knitted things just about everywhere – any ideas anyone?
Bletchley Park was the top-secret location of the WW11 code breakers, who cracked the codes of the German Enigma machines. These code breakers worked in terrible conditions, sat inside huts with the windows blacked out and very little fresh air (remember everyone smoked inside in those days). The winters were freezing, the summers were boiling, but they just got on with the job. Their work was tireless and frustrating, as every day new codes were set so the job started all over again.
Everything was top secret – nobody was to tell anybody what they were doing, even for years after. The results of their hard work shortened the war and saved thousands of lives; we owe them. We took a guided tour, which was both informative and entertaining. Michael Saunders, our guide, has been a Bletchley volunteer for over 9 years. He was full of interesting stories as, over the years, he has met several descendants of the code breakers who regaled their stories to him.
People travel from all over the world to visit Bletchley Park and we can understand why. Whilst some of the information about Alan Turing in The Imitation Game needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, there is no denying Bletchley Park played a very important role in our history.
Just by chance we visited during a vintage themed weekend. It was lovely to see so many people dressed up to look the part. It’s worth checking their website to see what events they have on.
An added bonus is that the admission ticket gives you an annual pass for unlimited free returns for a year. The grounds are lovely, perfect for family gatherings, picnics, and chilled afternoons out. It’s a shame the weather was a bit of a damp squib when we went.
Adults – £17.75
Concessions* – £15.75
Children 12 to 17 – £10.50
Children under 12 – FREE
*Over 60s and students with valid ID
1st March – 31st October
9.30 am to 5 pm
Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Bucks, MK3 6EB