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Bletchley Park

I will be in London with my son and his family in June. My grandson really wants to do a day trip to Bletchley Park. Does anyone have recommendations on how to get there from London and also how you enjoyed your visit there.

Diana

Posted by
51 posts

We went from London by train for the day. The train leaves from Euston and takes about 55 minutes - 20 pound return for an adult ticket. Some trains are nonstop and some require a change in Milton Keynes. We thought that this was a fabulous day out - but we are well read on the subject, and had grown up with family members who worked at Bletchley during the war.
Get your tickets from here
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Posted by
3299 posts

We enjoyed our visit there a few years ago. I’m sure there are more exhibits now than there were then. We had a car, so can’t add to what has already been said by colbe.

Posted by
3547 posts

You can plan your entire excursion on https://tfl.gov.uk/

The Bletchley estate is an easy couple of blocks walk from the train station, as Google Maps will show you. The business centre of town, with a few pubs and restaurants and a shopping plaza, is in the opposite direction.

Bletchley was developed relatively recently as a tourist site. The Bletchely story took a long time to become known, in part because the many women who worked there were sworn to 50 years of silence and wouldn't talk to anyone about their experiences. A friend of mine was in his 60s before he found out his mother had been a codebreaker.

Your grandson may enjoy seeing the short-wave station that is still functioning, operated by volunteers. But the big attraction is the monster replica of the codebreaking machine, called the Bombe. Sometimes it is in action and it might be worthwhile to e-mail in search of its schedule. A number of high-tech companies have made donations to Bletchley, recognizing the Bombe as a spirtual if not semi-conductor-based ancestor of the modern computer.

Lots of useful information for your young companion here:

https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

Posted by
3554 posts

I spent a day there in 2016. The train station is a short walk from Bletchley Park.

This was one of the highlights of my trip to GB that year. I saw everything except the National Radio Centre and the National Museum of Computing.

I was fascinated by all I saw and took my time doing it. There's lots to see and experience. Plan to have lunch there if you can. It makes a nice break.

This is the link to the Bletchley Park website in case you need it.

Posted by
2163 posts

I visited in early Sept last year, one of my most enjoyable day trips as I had long wanted to see Bletchley, and I spent perhaps 3 hours exploring the grounds, the Mansion, the various Huts and the displays in the visitor center. Excellent snack bar there, as well as a restaurant with hot food near the Mansion. I booked my ticket in advance but there was no line when I arrived around 11 am on a Friday. As others mention, it's an easy train ride from London, and do buy a ticket for that--not so much that it would sell out, but because there is often work that shuts down a train line; if I had just turned up wanting to go that Sat or Sun I would have been very disappointed as the train tracks were closed for work and I could see that when I booked my ticket for Friday.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all your replies. It sounds like an interesting place and I know my grandson will be excited.

Posted by
1237 posts

Also do a search on this forum. I remember there was another post within the past year concerning Bletchley Park. It had a good amount of information.

Posted by
19160 posts

Plan on an early start, because it's easy to spend just about a full day at Bletchley Park if you're really interested in the subject matter.

Posted by
14399 posts

A good pairing with Bletchley Park is a visit to the Churchill War Rooms in London.

Posted by
12343 posts

Your train tickets to Bletchley Park will qualify for the 2-4-1 offers for your family.

https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/bletchley-park

Print out the vouchers and bring them with you. Make sure you retain your tickets to show onsite. If there are turnstiles to exit the station, go through the manned exit and explain you need to retain the tickets.

Your tickets back to London will qualify for more 2-4-1 offers in London ( Churchill War Room, London Eye, etc.) the same day, but that would make for a very busy day.

Posted by
31303 posts

Diana,

You'll have to use the Tube or a Taxi from the area of your hotel to Euston Station. The trip from Euston to Bletchley will vary from about 36 - 55 minutes, depending on which train you use. When you arrive at Bletchley, walk across the street from the station and you'll see the entrance to the Bletchley Park historic site. Plan to spend a full day there, as there's a lot to see. You may be able to see a demonstration of the Bombe computer.

As I recall, there's a small restaurant next to the Bletchley Mansion, which offers cold items (sandwiches, etc.) as well as a hot buffet.

If you have time, the National Museum of Computing is also located there, and you may also find that interesting.

Depending on your level of interest, you may want to read one of the books about the Enigma codes prior to your Bletchley visit (I can suggest one if you're interested). The codes had been mostly broken by Polish mathematicians in the 1930's, and they had manufactured replica Enigma machines before Bletchely Park was ever involved.

Posted by
6663 posts

Ken, I'd be interested in your Enigma recommendation!

Posted by
31303 posts

Kim,

I've read a number of books on the Enigma codes, and one that I really enjoyed was - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/150727.Enigma . The author's family used to own the mansion at Bletchley Park, so he's well familiar with the story.

Another book that was written by one of the people who worked at Bletchley was - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/799498.The_Hut_Six_Story . There were some who didn't want the author to write this book, as code breaking was still top secret even many years after the war. He carried on with the book anyway, and suffered the consequences.

In order to tell the story of how the codes were broken, many of the books get into a lot of technical detail which most people (including myself) won't understand. Even after reading the first book several times, I still don't understand all of it. Even so, the books are an interesting read.

Posted by
2163 posts

If you're a fan of mysteries you might enjoy The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester, a fairly light & interesting read set during the war with plenty of well-researched details that made it even more enjoyable as I had just been there and could imagine everything being described.

Posted by
623 posts

Also do a search on this forum. I remember there was another post
within the past year concerning Bletchley Park. It had a good amount
of information.

I visited Bletchley Park last November. I joined in a discussion that christa had started by asking about the train from London to Bletchley. The discussion went beyond the train tickets and has some helpful information, although I think much of it has been addressed in this discussion. The post and discussion from late last year is here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/england/train-from-london-to-bletchley-park-guidance-please

Posted by
102 posts

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip there in October. It's definitely an all day trip. Make sure that the cheaper train tickets are valid for the time you want to go, I think that it's after 9am. Your ticket to Bletchley is actually good for a year, so you can go back! You'll save a bit of time when you go by buying in advance. I'd also add that a lot of there's a lot of walking between buildings so the weather could be a consideration for when you go. I certainly wouldn't want to go when it was pouring down rain. Although June rain isn't like late October rain. The grounds are lovely, and it was nice to wander around them.