Bletchley Park enigma machine
Europe,  highlights,  UK

Bletchley Park in photos

As a bit of an armchair historian, one place that’s always been on my ‘to visit’ list is Bletchley Park, famous for being the home of some of the World War II’s best cryptographers.

So when Patrick and I had to go to a family wedding in Essex a few months back, we decided to set off a day earlier so we could visit one of the UK’s most secret of stately homes.

Bletchley Park photos enigma

Bletchley Park top secretBletchley park huts and blocksThe village of Bletchley, just outside Milton Keynes, was home to the UK’s code breaking activities and is regarded as the birthplace of computing. Kept secret during and for many years after the war, the efforts of the men and woman of Bletchley saved thousands of lives and shaved years off the length of hostilities.

Bletchley Park enigma machineBletchley Park enigmaPerhaps the most iconic items from the collections at Bletchley are the Enigma machines. These were used by the German armed forces to scramble their messages. The three-rotor machines could be set to any of 159,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations and the settings were changed every day.

Bletchley Park bombe machinebletchley park bombe replicaAlan turing memorial bletchleyAlan Turing and Gordon Welchman developed Bombe machines to help speed up decryption. Sadly, these machines were destroyed after the war but you can now see the replica at the museum.

Bletchley Park mansionThe main mansion was built in the 1870s and held headquarters and recreational facilities during the war.

Bletchley Park hutsWhen the number of code-breakers at the site outgrew the main mansion, a number of huts and blocks were built to accommodate the extra people. Some of these have now been restored and a fantastic mix of real and replica props and multimedia installations give a real, atmospheric sense of how they would have looked at the time.

Bletchley Park rusted enigmaSome of the blocks are still derelict – I would have loved to have a look inside, but alas, they are off-limits to the public and I had to make do with the photos in the guidebook.
bletchley park radio equipment

Bletchley Park tapecar bletchley parkBletchley 1940s ephemeraBletchley Park exhibitsThe new visitor centre in Block C houses loads of fascinating artifacts – everything from maps to filing cabinets that all give an intriguing peek into the code breaking operations at the site.

Bletchley Park cryptographyBletchley Park memorialWe only had half a day for our visit and although we managed to see most of site during that time, there were a few areas that we unfortunately didn’t get to. Luckily, tickets (which cost £16.75 for standard adult admission) last a year – and we’ve another family wedding in the same place next month, so I’ll hopefully get to check out the parts I missed first time around!

Co-editor Emma is LWT's resident history lover and fact nerd. She loves travelling overland - especially by train. Her trips tend to be planned around good food and a little bit of adventure.

7 Comments

    • Emma

      Hi Sam. It’s a really great film, isn’t it! And yes, it was so interesting to see everything for real. They’ve done a great job of combining reconstruction with real exhibits to give a sense of what life was like there during the war.

  • Barrie

    Amazing. I used to pass this place all the time and never even thought to visit. Next visit back home I have to go based on this posting. Great photos btw.

  • kelly

    I need to visit Bletchley Park again; we visited a few years ago and it wasn’t really up to standard but I know they have spent quite a bit of money on doing it up recently so you have definitely inspired me to visit again! xx

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