During WWII, the very existence of Bletchley Park was England’s best-kept secret. By breaking German and Japanese codes, as dramatised in the 2014 film The Imitation Game, Bletchley’s team of almost 8500 scientists and technicians made a huge contribution to winning the war itself. Up to 20,000 enemy messages were intercepted each day, then decrypted, translated and interpreted. Inside Hut 11A, you can see the Bombe machine itself, crucial to cracking the famous Enigma code; volunteers explain its inner workings.
Entry includes an optional hour-long guided tour of the grounds – dress warm – and a multimedia guide. Both provide a real insight into the complex, frustrating and ultimately rewarding code-breaking process. The machines built here, by pioneers including Alan Turing, are now regarded as major steps in development of programmable computers.
Bletchley is just south of Milton Keynes, off the B4034. Regular trains connect Bletchley station, close to the park, with London Euston (£16, 40 minutes).