What to see at Bletchley Park
Please always check before travelling (call 01908 640404) as some exhibitions are not always available.
Bombe Rebuild Project
A faithful reconstruction of the machine that made made breaking large numbers of Enigma messages possible on a regular basis. Click here for the Bombe Rebuild Project Website. Part of Block B exhibition centre. Below, Bombe Veteran Jean Valentine officially switches on the machine for the WRN'S Switch-On and Bombe Veteran Ruth Bourne receives Honourary Membership of the Bombe Rebuild Team from John Harper, leader of the Project Team - Enigma Reunion September 2007. Also, HRH The Duke of Kent, alongside the Rebuild Team, officially Switches-on the Bombe Rebuild - July 2007.
Colossus Rebuild Project
An authentic rebuild of the world's first semi-programmable computer.
Now viewable in Block H. Please call 01908 640404 before travelling for availabi
Bletchley Park - Block-B Exhibition Centre
Officially opened in June 2004 by HRH The Duke of Kent this new exhibition centre, housed within one of the original wartime buildings, tells the 'Complete Bletchley Park Story'. The museum depicts the incredibly complex processes of interception, decryption, translation, interpretation and analysis that were needed to produce the vital intelligence that proved so important in ending the war. Open daily.
It also houses some private displays and collections, details of which are shown below.
The Churchill Collection
This truly fascinating collection of Churchill memorablia captures the spirit of the great man. Churchill had significant links with Bletchley Park and famously said of the workers at the Park 'The geese that laid the golden eggs - but never cackled'. This privately-owned collection has many rare and interesting pieces and is definitely not to be missed.
Open every weekend and during the week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - 12pm- 4pm.
The Computer Museum
The Computer Museum at Bletchley Park is the UK's only hands on exhibition of computing hardware and software technology. It traces the development of the computer from its origins with the Colossus, invented during the Second World War to break Lorenz codes through the mainframes of the 1960's, mini computers, homebuilt micros to the PC's of today. The vast majority of our exhibits are fully operational and you can come and play with the computers you remember from years ago or discover something new. Access to the Computer Museum is free to paying Bletchley Park visitors. This exhibition is in Block H and open on Thursday & Saturday afternoons from 1.00pm.
The Projected Picture Trust
The magic of the cinema has been with us for the last 100 years but from the 1960's onwards, the whole genre went into decline and this led to the formation of the Projected Picture Trust with a permanent exhibition of vintage cinema equipment at Bletchley Park. The small 1940's Enigma cinema shows old wartime show reels and is widely appreciated by the many visitors to the Park. The PPT archive currently has a databank of some 2000 headings which evaluate into something like 3000 records and covers everything from instruction manuals, technical drawings of projectors and installations to sales leaflets, newspaper clippings and photographs. There are many opportunities for old and new members to help even if they are without engineering skills - experts are always on hand to assist. Open weekends only. (will be closed 18th April 2009)
Bletchley Park Garage
There are two 1930's Austins on show from the film The Eagle Has Landed featuring John Standing, a direct descendant of the Leon family. The Talbot and the 1938 Ambulance (now owned by the Trust) were both used in the film Enigma. A 1940's garage forecourt shows the cost of fuel, etc, and tools used during this period. Some post-war cars are displayed to compare design styles and are of much interest to visitors. Open daily.
The Toys and Memorabilia Collection
A large varied collection of playthings and domestic artefacts related to everyday life in the 1930's to the immediate post-war period. There are toy soldiers, model trains, model vehicles, Wm. Britain's lead farm and garden, and make-do-and-mend toys, dolls and teddies.
Those who are studying or are interested in the National Curriculum 'Britain since the 1930's' will find this collection of much interest.
The Toys and Memorabilia display is temporarily housed in two areas, Block B where the display is open every day, and in rooms at the rear of the Mansion where the displays are open weekends only. There is also a display of vintage toys in the the Mansion library.
Bletchley Park Post Office
Bletchley Park Post Office is famous for its “little pieces of art and history”. These tell the story of Bletchley Park using postage stamps and original artwork. The “Post Office” is an essential part of every visitor’s itinerary. From the wartime sub-post office recreation to the stunning display of first day covers the once secret mailroom delights everyone. Like so much of Bletchley Park its origins are shrouded in secrecy. But it is believed that during World War 2 it was an undercover mailroom with the secret address of PO Box 111 Bletchley.
It has examples of undercover mail sent using that address. In 1947 the GPO opened it as a small sub-post office for what was now a Post Office training centre. In 1994 it became Bletchley Park’s first “gift shop”. The first day and commemorative covers it issues have become very collectable. Early ones are fetching very high prices at auction. Visit the web site to browse the extensive gallery and learn more about the art and history of “Britain’s secret little post office”.
Diplomatic Wireless Service
In Hut 1 you can see original wireless and landline communications equipment as used at Bletchley Park during World War II. The wireless stations received and transmitted secret Bletchey Park ULTRA and DIPLOMATIC messages to our overseas outposts and bases. Open weekends only.
Enigma & Friends
Enigma is perhaps the best known cipher machine of all time - but it was not alone.
From 1920 onwards, several companies and countries developed mechanical cipher systems for commercial, military and diplomatic use. Mechanical systems promised more complex ciphers, greater security and speed in use.
This extensive private collection, owned by John Alexander and David White, allows Bletchley Park to show many more machines that were contemporaries of the Enigma. Specifically, British cipher machines released by GCHQ, a Russian made, Enigma-like, machine from the Cold War era plus a range of Hagelin equipment from 1936 to the 1970’s. This exhibition displays machines representing Britain, Germany, USA, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland - Hagelins alone sold to 120 countries around the world.
Part of the Block-B exhibition centre
Home Front Display
The Home Front exhibition at Bletchley Park is very popular with school parties - displays include rationing, evacuation, the Blitz, war-time washday and "Make Do & Mend". Children in particular are fascinated by these exhibits and older visitors find their memories jogged by many of the items on display.
The 'Wash Day' display contains a 1937 fridge, oil stove and a hands-on school desk with books. All these pieces and many more are enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
Part of the Block-B exhibition centre
This is a display from Leighton Buzzard Model Boat Club which features many different models of both naval and commercial vessels. Visit www.lbmbc.org.uk for more information. Open Daily.
Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society
A working radio communications centre operated by members of the Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society. Amateur (Ham) Radio remains a popular scientific hobby, and this installation is comprised of modern technology as well as a working collection of vintage historical equipment. Contacts can be made all over the world via the aerial systems on the roof of B-block. There are regular demonstrations of radio communication using speech, morse code, video, and various forms of text messaging.
MKARS was one of the organisations that came together in 1994 to save BP from development. It is still based at Bletchley Park, where it holds regular meetings. Current members have a wide range of experience and expertise in radio and electronics including ex-military, diplomatic (government communications) service, ex-BBC, and manufacturing.
The society runs training courses for those interested in taking up the hobby - for course details see http://www.mkars.org.uk
Part of Block - B Exhibition
Always popular with all our visitors this display features a working model railway, complete with tunnels, miniature trees and junctions. Open weekends only but please check before travelling by calling 01908 640404.
Oxf. & Bucks L.I. at Pegasus Bridge (D-Day, June 6th 1944)
6th June 1944 - It was men from this local county regiment, the Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry, who were the guardians of Bletchley Park during the early days of the war until 1942. The Regiment's most famous action during WWII, its 'coup de main' assault and capture of Pegasus Bridge on D-Day, 6 June 1944 at 00.16 hours, is brought alive here by this thoroughly researched display of artefacts, documents, memorabilia, models and maps of this historic day. Now located in B Block. Click Here to view photographs of Pegasus Bridge Survivors.
Pigeons at War
This display tells the heroic role that pigeons played during periods of war. Open daily.
65th Nachrichten Abteilung
The 65th Nachrichten Abteilung are based at Bletchley Park. It is a German WWII Signals Group, depicting a receiving and transmitting station with many items of original equipment including an Enigma machine. This living history group is an integral part of understanding the story and unique history of the Enigma machine.
Part of the Block-B exhibition centre
The American Garden Trail
Opened in August 2004 by Minister David T Johnson of the American Embassy, the American Garden Trail celebrates the links between the UK and the USA which started at Bletchley Park during the war and still continues today. The Trail starts at the giant sequoia tree, the state emblem of California, directly in front of the Mansion, which was planted in Victorian times by the Leon family. During the war an aerial was placed at the top of the tree to transmit radio signals for Station X.
The Trail then continues through the grounds of the Park and features many other state emblems including a cactus, the state emblem for Arizona and the lilac tree for New Hampshire. The Royal Horticultural Society and the Garden History Society advised Bletchley Park on the composition of the Trail. Open Daily.
Around the Park many other attractions and displays may catch your eye. You can visit the Colossus Rebuild Project which is re-creating the world's first semi-programmable electronic computer.The stunning lake which is the home to our resident ducks and swans, and our Gift Shop which sells a large range of souvenirs, merchandise and books for you to purchase as a memento of your visit to Bletchley Park.