Friends' Spring Visit
The Friends are organising a group visit to the home of the ‘Codebreakers’ at Bletchley Park described by Trip Advisor as an “historical gem”. You are invited to join us.
About Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park made a critical contribution to breaking Nazi codes and to intelligence in WW2 as well as to the birth of computing and electronic security and employed a staff of 6,000. Once Britain's Best-Kept Secret, today Bletchley Park is a unique heritage site and vibrant tourist attraction. Visitors can explore and experience the top-secret world of iconic WW2 Codebreaking Huts and Blocks set within an atmospheric Victorian estate nestled in peaceful parkland with soundscape. This secret world is now revealed.
Those who worked at Bletchley Park included members of MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), a secret team of individuals including a number of scholars turned Codebreakers, one of which was Alan Turing, subject of the 2015 blockbuster ‘The Imitation Game’. The GC&CS mission was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers. The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma. There were also a large number of lower-level German systems to break as well as those of Hitler's allies.
Bletchley Park also contains an independent National Museum of Computing, a visit to which is an optional extra (and paid for separately on the day).
Today’s visitor experience: A visit for all ages and a variety of interests
Bletchley Park is set up to interest both adults and children of all ages.
The visitor experience is now vastly different from what it was prior to 2014 when the Bletchley Park Trust began work on the long-awaited £8 million Heritage Lottery Funded, first-phase restoration programme. This exciting project has seen the transformation of the formerly derelict wartime Codebreaking building, Block C, into a vibrant Visitor Centre opened for the enjoyment of visitors in June 2014. The iconic, but once derelict, Codebreaking Huts 3 and 6 were also sympathetically restored and fitted with light-touch interpretation for visitors to experience how it was to work in wartime Bletchley Park. Highly atmospheric soundscapes play snatches of conversation, music, laughter and even a hint of romance, as well as the noises of bicycle bells and steam trains to conjure up how it would have sounded during wartime Bletchley Park.
Finally, the landscape was returned to its 1940s appearance enabling visitors to step back in time to the scenery the Codebreakers would have seen. A day at Bletchley Park includes an exciting, complimentary new Multimedia Guide in order to explore the site at your own pace and in your own time. A family version of the Multimedia Guide is also available to help children learn about WW2 Codebreaking whilst having fun with puzzles and challenges. A one-hour, outdoor, walking guided tour is also available, again arranged on the day. Exhibitions include The Life and Works of Alan Turing, the only reconstructed Bombe machine and the largest display of Enigma machines on public display in the world.
You are also likely to find the Mansion and the parklands interesting and enjoyable.
Visitors can enjoy a full day at Bletchley Park with a tasty hot and cold menu available in Hut 4 café, a sandwich or cake at the Costa Coffee Shop in the Visitor Centre and a playground where children can let off steam. Newly opened in 2014 by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, the Visitor Centre in Block C offers a welcoming entry into Bletchley Park with a coffee shop, gift shop and an engaging multimedia, interactive introductory exhibition.
The Group Booking package which The Friends plan to arrange offers a reduced admission rate of £14 per Adult and £8.50 per child (12 to 17 years) with such additional benefits as a 12-month season ticket.
These rates include:
- Discount on normal admission price (e.g. normal admission charges are £17.25 for an adult and £10.25 for children
- Free use of the Multimedia Guide
- Discount on official Guidebook, on the day of visit (must be pre-booked)
- Access to all facilities open to the public
- Annual Season Ticket
Participating as a member of the Friends Group will cost you the above Group admission rate which you will need to pay to the Friends, in advance of the visit and by Friday 21st April. In addition we are inviting all members of the group to make a gift-aided donation to the Friends on the day of the visit. Non-members of the Friends are also welcome at the same rate as long as they are accompanied by a named member.
Lunch and refreshments
Bletchley Park does not offer any special catering arrangements for Groups. However, we intend to rendezvous in order take lunch together at 12.30pm in the Hut 4 café which is quite large. You will be expected to pay for your own lunch. Throughout the day, refreshments can be purchased here or at the coffee shop in the new Visitor Centre where there is also an interesting Codebreakers shop to browse.
Bletchley Park is open from 09.30 to 17.00 hrs. We will not need to meet as a group to gain entry as long as we have pre-booked tickets and we allow time for them to be sent to us and then for us to get your ticket to you in advance.
Please be aware that a visit to Bletchley Park involves both indoor and outdoor activities. Please wear outdoor clothing and footwear to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
Bletchley Park has full disabled access throughout the site. A number of wheelchairs are available for visitors to use, although Bletchley Park cannot provide people to push the wheelchairs.
Travel between St Albans and Bletchley Park
We intend to use private transport (i.e. taking your own car) to travel to and from Bletchley Park and are asking those who wish to join the Friends Group for a pre-booking if they are able to take any of those who would like to participate but do not have the benefit of their own car.
The Friends Committee has considered hiring a coach but our previous experiences indicate that unless a coach can be filled to maximum capacity or close to it, doing so can lead to a financial loss. In any case those who are able are likely to avoid paying the added amount necessary to hire a coach making it a less financially viable proposition for those who cannot do so.
The following travel instructions are provided by the Bletchley park website https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/visit/findus/byroad/a5.rhtm
More detailed directions will be issued nearer the date.
The gates will open at the times stated, above and free parking is available on-site.
What to do next?
If you wish to join our visit please do not hesitate to contact Robin firstname.lastname@example.org 01727 832621 and send a cheque for the required amount payable to The Friends of St Peters to
Robin Farrar, 8 Palfrey Close, St Albans, AL3 5RE.