Code Breaking at Bletchley Park

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Today we paid our second visit to Bletchley Park. We first visited last December when a friend was visiting who was keen to go.

Last night we finally got around to watching The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, a film we've had on our wish-list for a long time (highly recommended - well worth a watch). Therefore as we wanted a day out today, we thought it would be great to revisit Bletchley Park whilst the subject was fresh in our mind.

Both times we've had a really brilliant day out. Before our visit in December, I think I expected just a few huts that you can walk around but there's so much more!

On arrival it is suggested that you watch a brief film that gives you sense of what it was like at Bletchley Park. The introduction continues with a section that has some informational boards along with a few interactive elements. Little Miss A enjoyed being a radio controller and trying to break the radio signal.

Before you head out of the main building you can pick up the headphones for the audio tour (included in the price). We got these in December but I must admit I didn't get the chance to listen to much on that occasion. This time around we didn't get them.

In December as we were there with our friend, we decided that we'd like to go on a live guided tour so set off to find the Chauffeurs Hut for the start of a tour. The tour guide was brilliant. Really informative. It is much better being able to ask questions and he was certainly very knowledgeable about Bletchley. You need a dry day for this tour as it's all outdoors. Luckily we had a dry day but it was very very cold! We definitely needed a hot chocolate in the Cafe afterwards to warm up! Little Miss A was really good on the tour. It obviously wasn't that interesting for her but she sat in her pushchair and ate snacks, then walked some of it herself.

On both visits we have made sure that we visited Block B which is where there are Enigma machines and a reconstructed Turing-Welchman Bombe that is demonstrated regularly. In December, Mr MoaB watched the demonstration whilst I occupied Little Miss A. Today, it was my turn to see the demonstration of the Bombe in operation - it's a really incredible machine.

Here's Little Miss A trying to work out some controls!

Having just seen the film, we had to pay a visit to The Imitation Game exhibit in the Mansion. Those who've seen the film might recognise this bar!

Back in Decmber, there was actually a Toy Museum on site. It did seem a bit random to find this museum at Bletchley Park but it was a great place to take Little Miss A when she was starting to get a bit bored and wanted to run around a bit too much. There was an amazing collection of toys and items from the past. Most of the items were in glass cases for obvious reasons but there were 2 areas with toys that children could play with including a lovely old ride-on horse. Unfortunately, this museum has now closed.

Instead today we spent time in the outdoor playground next to the Cafe and also took our time wandering around the Lake as it was such a warm day. Little Miss A was happy as there were ducks! You can definitely tell the difference from these photos between our cold December visit and our sunny visit today!

Initially we baulked a bit at the entrance price which is currently £16.75 per adult (we paid £15 back in December). Kids under 12 are free! However, then we were informed that the ticket is valid for unlimited visits for a year. Not so good if you're not local but pretty good for us as Bletchley is only half an hour away from Aylesbury and we've now been twice with at least one more visit planned.

Each time we've only managed to see a fraction of what there is so it's definitely somewhere you can visit again and again.

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