A Day Out at Bletchley Park

The sunshine over the bank holiday weekend was absolutely stunning, and I’m so glad my family made the most of it on our day trip to Milton Keynes to visit Bletchley Park.
   Early in the morning, my dad, my boyfriend, and I all hopped into my dad’s van to pick up my Grandpop and then my cousin George, who is visiting from California for 6 months, and began the two hour drive to Milton Keynes.

Of course, we couldn’t take a little roadtrip without stopping at McDonald’s to get breakfast on the way, so with pancakes on my lap, and a breakfast wrap for Toby, we were on our way again.

If you don’t know, Bletchley Park was once Britain’s best-kept secret, and is now a historical attraction made up of a mansion and estate which was used in the Second World War to house the Government Code and Cypher School.
It was here that secret operations took place to listen in on (most importantly) the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers in order to “crack” the codes and help fight the war.

   The movie “The Imitation Game” focuses on Alan Turing, one of the codebreakers, and the Colossus computer, and how this work impacted our position in the war – so it gives some great context before a trip to Bletchley Park. 
   We had all watched this movie a while ago, so we had some basic understanding of what it was all about – and it was surreal to be, not only standing where the movie was filmed, standing where the original codebreakers stood and seeing where their work took place.

At Bletchley Park, you can visit the mansion itself which is a beautiful building with gardens and a lake, the huts in which the codebreakers and other staff members worked, Alan Turing’s office, the garages which house old cars, and more.
   There are many different exhibits explaining how exactly they cracked the enigma codes, and how the codes were encoded and decoded, showing you the enigma machines themselves, and housing many different artefacts which were saved.

It was so interesting to try and understand how they managed to break the codes and how they invented the first ever computer to do so, and it was definitely slightly out of our depth of understanding (my brain is definitely not at the same capacity as these mathematicians, scientists, and cryptanalysts).

We spent a good few hours here exploring the grounds, eating (extortionately priced) ice creams, and trying to wrap our heads around the codebreaking process, before heading off to the nearby IKEA for a spot of lunch and shopping.

By eight in the evening we were home, and after a drink at our local pub, I was tucked up in bed and absolutely exhausted from such a long, hot day – but it was a brilliant day out, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re interested in history like I am!

What days out have you been on this Summer?

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