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Bletchley Park

Is Bletchley Park worth visiting? We've been to London a number of times, so have seen most of the traditional sites in London. Having watched a few documentaries about the WWII codebreakers, we're considering BP. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Posted by
3984 posts

We too have been to London many times and finally made the easy trip out to Bletchley Park in August, Euston station to Bletchley then a 5 minute walk. We spent hours exploring the buildings and museum exhibits. We signed up for a free walking tour near the exit of the ticketing area. There weren’t a lot of food options late in the afternoon as we spent at least 5 hours non stop just exploring. We are so glad we finally went.

Posted by
579 posts

Definitely worth visiting. The exhibits and displays are very well done and interesting. We spent a fascinating day there.

Posted by
8824 posts

Absolutely. Went last year. Spent 3 hours there. Fascinating. Very well done.

Other “ non traditional “ sites:

Shoreditch Wall Murals
Crystal Park Dinosaurs
Roof garden at the Post Building
Climb the Millennium Dome
Tower Bridge Experience
Paddle Boats in Regents Park
Outdoor Theatre in Regents Park
Jewelry Collection at the V & A museum
Walk along the Canal Path in Little Venice
Spot the fallow deer in Richmond Park
Walk the Art Line Path

Been visiting London since the 70’s. Never fails to impress.

Posted by
470 posts

For out of the usual check out 575 Wandsworth Road, a National Trust property and the West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs

Posted by
1997 posts

Definitely! It is a fascinating place to visit and so much history. It is worth reading up before visiting to begin to understand what happened there.

Posted by
579 posts

Bletchley Park has a podcast if you want to check it out ahead if time. I particularly enjoyed the archived interviews with people who worked there during the war. Their stories about the work they did, the secrecy involved, how proud they are of the role they played. Like all WWII veterans their numbers are dwindling and I’m glad their stories were captured for future generations.

Posted by
311 posts

You can't see it all in one day. We've been twice this year and plan to go again.

The exhibits are so well done. And the docents are helpful and full of information. One of the women we spoke with said her father had worked there but was never allowed to talk about what he had done. Her mother was annoyed b/c he was always 'on call' during the war.

Posted by
4063 posts

Bletchley's codebreakers helped win the war in Europe, far more so than Chuchill's over-celebrated bunker. Many of the Bletchley staff were women who may not have known exactly what they were working for but knew it was important. They were sworn to secrecy for 50 years, and kept it. My friend was in his 60s before he knew his mom had been a "spy". The strange mix of professors and scientists and crossword puzzle aces were encouraged to mingle in very unmilitary fashion. The mammoth codebreaking machine has drawn Silicon Valley corporate donors who consider it a forerunner of modern computing.
One hint: Try to check the timing of tours so you can see a demonstration of a reconstructed model in all its clanking glory. And with luck the attached short-wave radio station will be operating with its staff of volunteers.

Posted by
457 posts

Bletchley is on my list to visit ... will get there before it opens and stay at least 4 hours before returning to London, then a quick stroll over to the British Library until it closes at 5pm, then to St Pancras and Kings Cross.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your great responses!! Bletchley Park is on our list -- and we also liked hearing about other "non-traditional" things to do in and around London. Any other ideas are welcome.

Posted by
739 posts

Any celebration of Alan Turing is incredibly important to me. I'd like to see Stephen Kettle's 2007 slate sculpture in Block B.

Posted by
8546 posts

other idea: I did the following two trips as day trips from London. Arundel Castle and Historic Dockyards at Portsmouth . I enjoyed both and train connections were easy.

Edited to correct location. Thanks Roger

Posted by
3984 posts

We were told to keep our tickets and they could be used anytime within the year from the date of our original visit for a return visit. That would be nice for people needing more time or who frequently travel to the UK.

Posted by
33 posts

Just visited Bletchley Park today. We arrived at opening, stayed until close and still didn’t get to see everything. We loved our visit!

Posted by
32247 posts

Bletchley Park is absolutely worth a visit. It's one of the most interesting WW2 sites (IMHO), and it's been estimated that the code breaking may have shortened the war by two years. The exhibits are extremely well done and very interesting and touring through each of the huts provides some idea of how the code breaking was done. Most of the equipment such as the Bombe computer was systematically destroyed at the end of the war, but they have recreated working models of some of the devices.

There were so many different aspects and people which contributed to the success of the code breaking operation. In addition to Turing there were many others involved including Gordon Welchman and Dilly Knox, and of course the Nazi traitor and his French contact who provided much of the top secret information on the Enigma machines.

I was very pleased to see that there was a monument at Bletchley Park commemorating the efforts of the brilliant Polish mathematicians and code breakers, who had been working on the Enigma codes since the 1930's. The Polish code breakers had actually recreated working models of the three rotor Enigma machine.

As I recall, the National Museum of Computing is right next door, but you'd probably need two days to visit both sites.

Posted by
471 posts

I really liked Portsmouth. It was a fast trip from London and a cute town. The boatyard is really interesting and boardwalk area fun. You can do the Lord Admiral Nelson tour. You can visit the HMS Victory where he died and see where he was buried at St. Pauls.