We haven’t been to Bletchley Park since, well, I don’t know when!
It was certainly before I started blogging regularly – a rough guess was back in the early 90s!
We set-off just before 9.30, picked up Conor C (our treat for getting himself into the Army), and headed-off to see what had changed there.
Since that first visit, a lot of money has been spent on preserving and improving this iconic location – a location so important in the 2nd World War timeline. It received a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant back in 2011, as well as various other donations – and now looks all the better for it 😍
Initial impressions were
good excellent! First of all, there’s now a reasonable-size car-park (I think we parked in a side-road back in the 90s!). Additionally, there’s a proper Admissions/Ticket area (a converted Hut) leading to a short, but powerful audio-visual introduction of the significance of Bletchley Park – a great start!
It’s not difficult to appreciate the significance of the great work done here. Home to almost 9000 staff at its height, history has recorded that the efforts of Bletchley’s staff, shortened the War by almost two years.
The next thing we noticed was whereas, during our 90s visit (where the Mansion was the focal point) now, all the main attractions were housed in the numerous Huts.
Still, the Mansion is most definitely worth a look! It’s beautifully restored and it’s now a place for various code-busting-related exhibitions and an outlet for their Bletchley Park Gin launched just yesterday. Luckily, for Gin-lovers, there were free samples today too! 🥴
After a thorough look round the Mansion, we headed for the famous Huts. There was plenty to see here. The Lottery Grant and donations from big names such as BT, Google and even Steven Spielberg, has, IMHO, been spent wisely and appropriately, So-much-so, I think it’s one of those attractions that’s worth a second (or even third) visit to take it all in.
And if authentically re-created code-cracking rooms from the 40s aren’t your thing, there’s probably the most comprehensive exhibition of various code-breaking machines that I think I’ve ever seen! 👍
…and a general history of super-computing from the perspective of code-breaking too, using a wide variety of static displays, AV presentations and touch-screen interactive screens…
In fact, there was an awful lot to take in, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be returning before too long (helpfully, tickets are valid for a year!) 😁😁
To complement the machines, perhaps, as expected, there’s a very comprehensive set of displays outlining the genius of Alan Turing.
“The Geese that laid the Golden Eggs and never cackled” – Winston Churchill
So many Huts, so little time! 😉. We’d now all ODed on those, and after about an hour-and-a-half, we headed for our penultimate stop – the National Radio Centre – a brilliant showcase for radio communication technology…
…from valves to 5G, it had it all !
Our final stop was their new D-Day Exhibition. Perhaps a little smaller than we had imagined, but there was still plenty to see!
To finish, it was the obligatory look round their Gift Shop. It sported a good range of the normal tat, plus plenty more far more intelligent choices! 🤔
1.45pm: We headed home and dropped Conor off at his. Reflecting on the day, we concluded it had been a very enjoyable experience. It’s fair to say Bletchley Park has been completely transformed since our first visit, 25+ years ago – and what an experience!
All of today’s photos but none of my chat HERE 😁👍