It’s hard to overstate the significance of Bletchley Park to Britain. Home to some of the UK’s finest minds during World War II, they routinely cracked German intelligence codes, giving the UK vital information that, according to official historians, shortened the war by as much as four years and heavily swung the balance in Britain’s favour.
Key to the operation was Bletchley’s location on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, with the Bletchley Park train station on the direct line between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, allowing some of the UK’s brightest minds to be shipped in.
The site was turned into a visitor attraction in 1993 and includes several dedicated museums. During your visit, you can discover everything from information on Alan Turing, one of the leading engineers on the program and Enigma, the German cipher machine that, through dedicated encryption work by hundreds of personnel, allegedly contributed to the shortening of the war. You can also visit recreated sets of how people lived during World War II, visit the Imitation Game exhibition which details the Hollywood film on the subject and discover the role pigeons played in the war effort.
The site is also home to the National Museum of Computing, which collects and restores computer systems through the ages, including very early models like the Colossus computer that helped crack the German Lorenz cipher. Everything from the rise of computers in the 60s and 70s to today’s reliance on PCs and laptops is covered in this fascinating museum open every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with guided tours taking place in the morning. And, just near the entrance to the park, is the National Radio Centre which includes a library, radio station, museum and bookshop. A fascinating museum, it recounts the history of radio transmissions from the original eureka moment through to their modern-day use.
The park is open daily from 9am to 4pm during winter and until 5pm in the summer months and attracts over 250,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most popular visitor attractions around Milton Keynes and it’s only three miles away from our Furzton Lake hotel. There is a lot to see and do at Bletchley Park, so arrive early and take your time – your ticket is valid for the full year, so you can always break your visit up into chunks and come back to finish the tour another time.