With the summer holidays looming, where can you take children that’s fun, educational and free? Why not visit Bletchley Park: a unique museum that brings World War Two codebreaking to life, and so much more.
Free for the under-12s, the former top-secret home of Britain’s Codebreakers, now a vibrant museum, has a packed calendar of interactive exhibitions and events that tell the story of this historic site.
Engineering challenges, codebreaking games and immersive displays are just some of the fun summer activities on offer this summer with autism friendly sessions available too.
Youngsters can discover more about the large number of machines that were used in the run up to D-Day including the Enigma cypher machine, teleprinters and the Bombe machine at the park’s family workshops.
Enquiring minds can also try out a range of activities and themed games – try their hand at deciphering teleprinter code, create messages of their own and even build their own model Mulberry Harbour, the portable harbours used by the Allies during June 1944.*
Unique family tours are also available to discover more about the people behind the machines that helped break the Enigma cipher at Bletchley Park during WW2. In this interactive tour guests will learn some surprising new facts, explore everyday life at Bletchley Park in 1941 and might even take part in some secret war work.**
Catherine Holden, Learning Manager at Bletchley Park said: ‘We provide hands-on activities that encourage families to interact with each other, and to engage on a deeper level in different ways with the Bletchley Park story. It is great to see different generations enjoying a puzzle, game or craft together, sparking conversation and curiosity. Our main objective is for our visitors of all ages to have lots of fun and experience something memorable and interesting whilst learning along the way!’
There is plenty for a full free day out including exploring the grounds, restored wartime buildings and park with an interactive kids’ multimedia guide and a top-secret mission pack. The open-air heritage site offers plenty of space for picnics, free deckchairs for sunbathers, as well as on-site catering offering hot and cold food and drink.
Head over to the recently opened D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion experience and discover the top-secret role Bletchley Park played in the planning and implementation of D-Day. In Hut 12 The Illustration Game: Sketches from the Archives is a fun exhibition with interactive games to play. The display also showcases some rarely seen sketches and cartoons created by signals intelligence staff and Veterans.
Dakota flypasts every Sunday from 14 July will also give visitors the chance to see this iconic WW2 airplane in flight, whetting appetites for the popular autumn 1940s vintage weekend taking place on 28-29 September.
Visitors only need to pay for entry once to enjoy a free annual pass allowing them to return again and again to enjoy free on-site activities, one-day events and changing displays.
For a full list of What’s On visit the Bletchley Park website: bletchleypark.org.uk/whats-on.
July, August and September highlights include:
- 13 July – Family tours: Amazing people, amazing machines
- 21 July-25 August – Summer Jazz Concert series (every Sunday)
- 25 July – Past, Present, Future: Codes and Ciphers course
- 28 July-25 August – Dakota flypasts (weather dependent every Sunday)
- 29 July-23 August – Family tours: Amazing people, amazing machines
- 30 July-22 August – D-Day: Machines. Family Activities
- 1 August – Autism friendly Summer activity session
- Open daily until 1 September – Off Duty: High Spirits in Low Times exhibition
- 13-22 September – Heritage Open Days 2019
- 28-29 September – Autumn 1940s vintage weekend
- Open daily until 3 November – The Illustration Game: Sketches from the Archives
- Open daily until 2029 – D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion
* These drop-in activities are included with admission and will be, running every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 23 August. Suitable for children aged 5-14, accompanied by an adult. Drop in to Block B any time between 11am and 3.30pm, last admission 3pm.
**Please note Family Tours are only available on the dates listed above. The tour is suitable for families with children aged 5-14, last approximately 45 minutes and takes place outside. Please visit the information desk on arrival for tour timings and to book your place.