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Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes

4.6
#1 of 111 in Things to do in Milton Keynes
Must see · Historic Site · Tourist Spot
Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Bletchley, Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. The mansion was constructed during the years following 1883 for the financier and politician Sir Herbert Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles, on the site of older buildings of the same name.

During World War II the estate housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. The GC&CS team of codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander, Bill Tutte, and Stuart Milner-Barry. The nature of the work at Bletchley remained secret until many years after the war.

According to the official historian of British Intelligence, the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The team at Bletchley Park devised automatic machinery to help with decryption, culminating in the development of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. Codebreaking operations at Bletchley Park came to an end in 1946 and all information about the wartime operations was classified until the mid-1970s.

After the war, the Post Office took over the site and used it as a management school, but by 1990 the huts in which the codebreakers worked were being considered for demolition and redevelopment. The Bletchley Park Trust was formed in February 1992 to save large portions of the site from development.

More recently, Bletchley Park has been open to the public, featuring interpretive exhibits and huts that have been rebuilt to appear as they did during their wartime operations. It receives hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The separate National Museum of Computing, which includes a working replica Bombe machine and a rebuilt Colossus computer, is housed in Block H on the site.

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Bletchley Park reviews

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  • We were told this was a great place to visit and so it was! We spent 4 hours there and only covered the primary elements. The exhibits are well laid out and explained, giving you a feel for what it...  more »
  • The staff and particularly the "guide" werw all so very good and friendly. The information there was up to date and well presented. I had a cheese and beef tomato sandwich and coffee that was...  more »
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  • Wonderful day out for all ages! I would recommend giving yourself half a day to explore as there are so many interesting things to see! The free audio guides gave quick and interesting information, and the entrance ticket is valid for a whole year! We will definitely be returning for another brilliant day at Bletchley Park!
  • The original building and grounds of Bletchley Park where enigma was cracked. It's a great day our, although half a day is sufficient. Plenty to read as you go around, a restaurant and cafe. Lots to learn but there isn't an awful lot there. Obviously after the war it was all cleared out so mainly just buildings and empty rooms. Lovely grounds. Also your ticket once bought is valid for as many entries as you want for a year. Worth a visit. Take drinks and food though as they are expensive. But I'd recommend having an ice cream.

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