Bletchley’s been on my bucket list since we arrived. I saw the movie Enigma years ago and FINALLY got around to watching The Imitation Game on Friday night. Such a sad and amazing story. Definitely leaves you with mixed emotions.

Bletchley “was the central site of the UK’s Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which during the Second World War regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers.”

The Mansion House at Bletchley Park.

The Mansion House at Bletchley Park.

One of the rooms in the mansion.

One of the beautiful rooms in the mansion.

And Alan Turing was one of the main figures at Bletchley. He was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis and pioneered modern computers. “Turing’s pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic; it has been estimated that the work at Bletchley Park shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years.” (Wikipedia)

The embassy CLO had organized a trip to Bletchley for Saturday with a nice little twist to it. It was going to be led by Sir Dermot Turing, Alan Turing’s nephew and one of the Bletchley Park trustees. It was neat to see him, but in the end it was a little underwhelming as we didn’t really get a chance to meet or talk to him.

He addressed our group for about 10 minutes with a bit of Bletchley history and his recommendations for what to see. But it was difficult to hear him as we were all outside, and the wind was quite loud in the trees. Then we were released to explore on our own.

Sir Dermot Turing, Alan Turing's nephew and Bletchley Trust trustee.

Sir Dermot Turing, Alan Turing’s nephew and Bletchley Park trustee.

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Sir Dermot.

But Bletchley in itself was a beautiful campus with very interesting buildings. The Mansion House was well organized with a lot of the film sets still up for visitors to view. And the huts were decorated the way they had been during WWII and were fun to wander through. We didn’t pause for too long in any one space with the four-year-old, but they also had a café and a lovely playground with an oversized chess set that happily distracted him.

So I would highly recommend it for a family day out from London. The train ride from Euston Station is less than an hour. And Bletchley is currently running a two-for-one admission special if you show your train ticket.

Part of the film set for "The Imitation Game."

Part of the film set for “The Imitation Game.”

An Enigma machine on display in the museum.

An Enigma machine on display in the museum.

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