Somewhere I have known about for several years however never had the opportunity to visit is Bletchley Park. I remedied this on Monday (26 October). The admission at £10 is worth the money – and when you realise that it actually gives you unlimited entry for 12 months is becomes excellent value.
For your entry you get the freedom of most of the site. However be aware if you visit during the week like we did then various exhibits and areas are shut, so a weekend trip is also recommended.
With your ticket you get a leaflet with a tour of the site recommended. A short walk from Block A (where tickets are bought) takes you around the lake to the mansion. This victorian building was an expansion of the earlier farmhouse. It remained on private hands until 1937 when it, and the whole estate, was put up for auction. The builder who bought it intended to demolish it, however Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair (Director of Naval Intelligence, head of MI6, and founder of the Government Code and Cypher School) bought the site with his own money (£7,500), having failed to persuade any government department to pay for it. The fact that Sinclair, and not the UK Government, owned the site was not widely known until 1991, when it was nearly sold for redevelopment. However the park was declared a conservation area and the Bletchley Park Trust was formed to maintain the site as a museum devoted to the codebreakers. The displays within the mansion give you an small insight into the history of the building and some biographries of people associated with the work of Station X as Bletchley Park was also known.
Leaving the mansion you reach the Bletchley Park post office which has many postal related artifacts from World War II as well as being a functioning post office. After passing through the stable yard the Polish Memorial – dedicated to the Poles who aided the work of Bletchley Park – is encountered.
In Hut 11 the rebuilt Bombe is on display with an associated Diagonal Board, which had been developed to improve the effectiveness of the Bombe.
Block H is where the National Museum of Computing is located. In it is located a Teleprinter Cipher and a replica of the Colossus computer. In front of the block is a Harrier jump jet (XV752).
Returning towards the entrance is Block A where there is the Enigma Cinema (open at weekends) and the an exhibition of Churchill memorabilia. Finally back to Block B where there is the obiligatory shop and several other displays.
In the time we had available we did not do it justice, however another trip (or more) will be on the cards to look at the exhibits in more detail.
If you wish to visit it, it is easy to reach by public transport being opposite Bletchley railway station which has a frequent service from London Euston.
Selected links about Bletchley Park: