Arts & Culture

Inside Bletchley Park

Situated in the verdant Buckinghamshire countryside, Bletchley Park is a grand Victorian estate surrounded by sweeping green lawns. But it’s the unique history of this site that makes it quite so interesting. The home of British code-breaking during WWII, Bletchley was once Britain’s best-kept secret.

Now a unique heritage site, Bletchley Park inspires writers and filmmakers with its stories of secret intelligence and entices visitors to uncover the history within its walls. We go inside to learn all about its absorbing history.

It was only in 1974 that the stories behind Bletchley Park were revealed with the publication of The Ultra Secret, an account of the Codebreakers there. Written by FW Winterbotham, this insightful book made the world aware of Bletchley’s secret intelligence’s impact on the war’s outcome.

For years, these newly revealed secrets were still relatively unknown, but filmmakers and TV producers soon took hold of the fascinating story.

Of those filmed on location, the BBC2 documentary Bletchley Park: Code-Breaking’s Forgotten Genius and ITV drama The Bletchley Circle drew the largest audiences across the UK and beyond.

But the Oscar-nominated movie, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, inspired the most international intrigue.

As the site for such a dramatic breakthrough in information technology, Bletchley Park not only recounts the historical events but also relates the story that unfolded here to the advancement of modern technology in the present day.

Visitors can wander through the rooms of the manor house and its surrounding Codebreaker Huts to lose themselves in the tales woven through each exhibit.

After visiting the multimedia visitor centre, you can go to the restored huts, where messages were once decrypted, translated, and analysed. Here, projections and recordings of the Codebreakers themselves bring the historic events to life.

While exploring the huts’ interactive exhibits, gain an insight into the code-breaking methods they used, and see a recreation of Alan Turing’s office in the very place where it would have been.

Elsewhere, step into the Wartime Garages, where WWII vehicles are on display, and stop by The National Radio Centre, which looks back at how radio has evolved over the years.

For an immersion into a pocket of history so full of mystery and intrigue yet so relevant to the modern day, there truly aren’t many experiences more fitting than stepping inside Bletchley Park.