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Bletchley Park Visit

#1
Has anyone here visited Bletchley Park? My reason for asking is that I suggested a team visit there followed by beers in a local.

Ideally I would like to get a whole day signed off for this but doubt that would pass muster, so what seems to make sense is to get a sense check on the minimum time needed there to make the visit worthwhile and suggesting we start the clock ticking to end up the tour at 17:00 (on a Friday) and then head off to the pub.

Getting there and back is no problem so I think this suggestion might get the nod if maybe two/three hours is going to work.
 
#3
Yes. Went a couple of years ago.
TBH, can't recommend it unless you are an uber-geek.
I am a degree qualified engineer and pretty computer literate but even I didn't understand half of what they were on about.
The huts are .... well huts. With dim lighting, some tables and some paper and pencils plus the odd posed dummy.
This is the hut where..... this is the hut where ....
There are no more than 4 - 5 exhibits of any interest. One of the museum volunteers tried to explain some of the stuff to me and I managed the first couple of minutes and then got confused & bored.

Go elsewhere.
 
#4
Yes. Went a couple of years ago.
TBH, can't recommend it unless you are an uber-geek.
I am a degree qualified engineer and pretty computer literate but even I didn't understand half of what they were on about.
The huts are .... well huts. With dim lighting, some tables and some paper and pencils plus the odd posed dummy.
This is the hut where..... this is the hut where ....
There are no more than 4 - 5 exhibits of any interest. One of the museum volunteers tried to explain some of the stuff to me and I managed the first couple of minutes and then got confused & bored.

Go elsewhere.
Ok, did you also tack on the Computer Museum? I was thinking of tacking that onto the visit.

We are an IT dept. so geek is good, anything more arty or sporty would probably make us feel out of our depth or otherwise inadeqaute.
 
#5
The Computer Museum is great everything from the early codebreakers, through to mainframes and about every 80s home computer laid out to play around on

For the nerds, they have stuff like BBC model B's loaded up with the original Elite if that floats your boat...

Just budget in that it is not included in the price of going into Bletchley, it's literally a few quid but best be warned that it adds up if there's a big group of you
 
#6
The Computer Museum is great everything from the early codebreakers, through to mainframes and about every 80s home computer laid out to play around on


Just budget in that it is not included in the price of going into Bletchley, it's literally a few quid but best be warned that it adds up if there's a big group of you
Well this would be on the company anyway but yes, the permutations on pricing, group, concession, guided tour options etc. would make this a challenge for Alan Turing himself to come up with an easy definitive total cost.

The guided tour looks useful (two hours long) and tack on a bit more for Bletchley Park codebreakers stuff and I think we have a magic number of three hours, that might fly.

I'll put this to the boss and say a top admission price of £26.00 each will cover both areas plus some for the tour, coffee etc. If this gets a positive response I'll chat to the good folks at the place to get a definitive figure which might then come in a bit cheaper than my ballpark figure.
 
#7
Went last Saturday funnily enough. You need about 5 hours do do it thoroughly. A lot of development since @Dark_Nit was last there and more opening up. You get a ticket that lets you in for the season so can go back.

We got some great dits but we’re lucky enough to get a personal tour. Locals used to think it was a mental asylum - Alan Turing used to cycle in from his billet wearing a gas mask because of his hay fever. Another academic used to walk around in his dressing gown and slippers. Turing ended up doing the Navy as no one was touching it and he thought it looked like an interesting challenge.

6DB1769F-0851-44E1-92B1-4C74F9C63CFB.jpeg


That’s a TypeX - really clever cypher machine. The visit was stunning - we will go back. The place was going to be demolished and was only saved when the cat was let out of the bag in 1974 about what was really done there, otherwise it would be 1970s flats now.

Train station directly opposite and you can get a beer there. Needsless to say - Spitfire!!

Enjoy it. Bril day
 
#8
Went last Saturday funnily enough. You need about 5 hours do do it thoroughly. A lot of development since @Dark_Nit was last there and more opening up. You get a ticket that lets you in for the season so can go back.

We got some great dits but we’re lucky enough to get a personal tour. Locals used to think it was a mental asylum - Alan Turing used to cycle in from his billet wearing a gas mask because of his hay fever. Another academic used to walk around in his dressing gown and slippers. Turing ended up doing the Navy as no one was touching it and he thought it looked like an interesting challenge.

View attachment 341778

That’s a TypeX - really clever cypher machine. The visit was stunning - we will go back. The place was going to be demolished and was only saved when the cat was let out of the bag in 1974 about what was really done there, otherwise it would be 1970s flats now.

Train station directly opposite and you can get a beer there. Needsless to say - Spitfire!!

Enjoy it. Bril day
Sounds good. One problem with the museum seems to be that group options, guided tours and whole museum open times don't neatly fit in with my hoped for visit day/time. I'll have to work on this and chat to the museum admissions to get the best option together.
 
#9
Excellent day out, in order to see the highlight of the tour (Colossus) you have to purchase the Computer Museum tickets. I have been many times and was lucky enough, on a number of visits to be able to chat to Tony Sale (his wife sometimes sells tickets at the Computer Museum) who was the rebuilder of Colossus.
 
#10
Go there, and go to the Computer Museum. If you're into computers you'll get lost there for hours.

If you aren't into computers, it's a lot of boring electronics in some fairly stuffy huts.
 
#11
Went with a bunch of mates for the early start quiet bit of my stag do. About 4 years ago now. Superb place then & with more being added to it (huts were being spruced up for expansion) it will be even better.
 
#12
The 'pooter museum next door is way better than most of the "official" Bletchley Park - no crappy "heritage" stuffed dummies and empty sheds with placards, much more actual working kit and whip smart volunteers who know how it all works. IIRC they are trying to rebuild an example of the complete processing chain from the Y-service intercept station, which they've got, through Colossus and all the input-output gear, out to distribution through Rockex.

The distinction between the two is artificial - the computer museum's building is part of the historical site and in fact was the very first building in the world put up specifically to house computers - and comes down to a daft cap-badge politics row between the Bletchley Trust and the NMOC board of governors. I get the impression the Trust very much wants to make it more stuffed-dummyish and sell more fudge and the NMOC couldn't care less.

That said, the main exhibit with the Bombe in the central huts is excellent, the machinery works and they will demonstrate it in as much detail as you can handle.
 
#15
I went last year. See report on the Arrse trip advisor.

Bletchley Park

Home of the code breakers.

View attachment 301361

Utterly fascinating. We went thinking that we'd be out after a couple of hours. Stayed the whole day and it wasn't enough. A lot of what went on still hasn't been released. The museum is slowly recreating the park as it was during the war. Excellent exhibits and a knowledgable staff milling around able to answer all sorts of questions. A group of men in sheds have rebuilt part if the Turing Bombe. Its ability to decode enigma has been cross checked with a check machine held at GCHQ. Its places like this that really bring the idea of an entire nation being at war to life.

The tickets we bought in July were also valid for further visits for the the rest of the year.

Arrse rating: 9/10. It will get a 10 once they have rebuilt more of the park.
Didn't go to the computer museum as we ran out of time. Its not just about Enigma either but covers the Government Code and Cypher School so quite a bit of other stuff. One I found interesting was the Lorenz Cypher machine which was a sort of early Enigma before the Jerries started getting crafty. Britain knew nothing about it, had never seen it but one guy at Bletchley managed to build one just from the messages that were intercepted! There are dozens of other similar stories. It is a collection of old huts and that does add to the sense of what it was like to work there during the war. Well worth the visit.
 
#16
I went last year. See report on the Arrse trip advisor.



Didn't go to the computer museum as we ran out of time. Its not just about Enigma either but covers the Government Code and Cypher School so quite a bit of other stuff. One I found interesting was the Lorenz Cypher machine which was a sort of early Enigma before the Jerries started getting crafty. Britain knew nothing about it, had never seen it but one guy at Bletchley managed to build one just from the messages that were intercepted! There are dozens of other similar stories. It is a collection of old huts and that does add to the sense of what it was like to work there during the war. Well worth the visit.
Just to enlarge upon your post I came across the following video on YouTube by someone who I find absolutely engrossing in his enthusiasm for all things numeric and it also explains how they were able to break the Lorenz cypher without ever seeing the machine.

 

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