Bletchley Park is embracing the change of season this Autumn with something for everyone to help make the most of this colourful time of year. The former top-secret home of Britain’s World War Two Codebreakers, now a vibrant museum, has a packed calendar of interactive exhibitions and events that tell the story of this historic site.
This time of year sees not only a change of weather, but also marks the 80th anniversary since the beginning of World War Two and the point that the Government Code and Cypher School (GC & CS) occupied Bletchley Park permanently. Follow in the footsteps of the 10,000 people who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations and visit the unique Bletchley Park mansion. Set in former parkland, enjoy the 166 trees as they change colour over the coming weeks and the picturesque lake in the 25-acre site.
Not just for adults, Bletchley Park is free for the under-12s and half term sees popular artist Emily Tracy hosting drop-in sessions for children. Activities include creating 1940’s origami uniforms, secret sketching, flip books, patterns, coded messages and invisible ink; all part of the Big Draw 2019 – Drawn to Life.*
The workshops will take place in the new temporary exhibition – The Illustration Game: Sketches from the Archives, located in Hut 12, 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.
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.**
As the nights draw in, it’s also an opportunity to learn something new. Venture behind the scenes of secret messaging and sign up for our popular one-day course – Past, Present, Future: Codes and Ciphers. Learn how a selection of codes and ciphers work, from those used in ancient fields of battle to important cryptographic algorithms that form the basis of many of today’s secure communications systems. You can also get to grips with a WW2 Enigma machine before dipping a toe into what might happen in the future.***
Recently named as one of the UK’s top travel experiences, in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist, Rebecca Foy, Director of Public Engagement at Bletchley Park said: “Our programme of exhibitions and events is always changing meaning there is lots to see and do here throughout the year. We were thrilled to be ranked 145th out of 500 of the most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences to be had across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, and we pride ourselves on offering a visitor attraction that’s both fun and informative.”
New for this year is also a permanent exhibition coinciding with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, ‘D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion’, presenting the vital impact intelligence produced at Bletchley Park had on the invasion plans.
Bletchley Park’s popular 1940s vintage weekend will be taking place on the 28-29 September and join us once again for the annual Remembrance Parade on Sunday 10 November.
Residents living within 10-mile radius of Bletchley Park can also take advantage of 50% off tickets until 31 December 2019. All 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.
* These drop-in activities are included with admission and are suitable for children aged 5-14, accompanied by an adult. Sessions will be running on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 11am and 3.30pm, with last admission at 3pm.
**This is a full-day course that is designed for adults with confidence in maths up to GCSE level and an interest in delving a little deeper. It will be accessible to older children who want to find out more about secret communication but must be accompanied by a paying adult.
***Family Tours are only available on Monday 28 October and Friday 1 November. 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.
Christmas at Hatfield Park trail opens with amazing fire garden
A beautiful Fire Garden has been revealed as one of the spectacular works in the new Christmas light trail at Hatfield Park, Hertfordshire, between 25 November and 31 December 2022.
The installation will be part of a spectacular collection of illuminations which will transform the 42 acres of gardens and parkland where Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood.
Designed by Culture Creative, the Fire Garden at Hatfield Park is made up of hundreds of flame heads interspersed with Lantern Trees by Mandylights, which echo the timeless beauty of old Victorian-style street lamps. The brass-effect shades shimmer in bright gold, with electric flames inside the lanterns to inspire a feeling of warm firelight.
Matthew Findlay, Head of UK Trails for Sony Music/Raymond Gubbay Ltd, said: “We are hugely excited by the plans for this fantastic new trail, with artists creating beautiful installations which will cast an entirely different light on a beautiful, historic property.”
Visitors to Hatfield Park can look forward to some precious time with friends and family as they discover sparkling tunnels of light and walk beneath glistening trees drenched in jewel-like colour.
Hatfield Park lights are choreographed to a soundtrack of much-loved seasonal music, transforming Hatfield’s majestic park into an instant winter wonderland.
Independent street food vendors bring a delicious twist with tasty treats on offer. Complete your walk under the stars with a *spiced winter warmer or *hot chocolate shared with friends and family. Everyone loves toasting a marshmallow over an open fire and the artisan *marshmallow stall gives visitors the chance to warm their hands and enjoy this sweet outdoor tradition.
*separate charges apply
Christmas at Hatfield Park is brought to you by Sony Music. The trail is created by Culture Creative.
What is happen at Hatfield Park?
Christmas at Hatfield Park – The after-dark illuminated trail through festive gardens. Discover a Christmas illuminated trail for all the family set within the beautiful landscape of Hatfield Park
When is Christmas at Hatfield Park?
From 25 November and 31 December 2022. Open from 4.30pm, last entry 8pm and closes at 10pm. Trail closed on 28, 29, 30 Nov; 5, 6, 24, 25 Dec.
Admission: Limited capacity with timed entry, early booking advised
Advanced From: Adult £24, Child £17, Family £78 (2 adults & 2 children).
Free entry for carers and children aged 2 & under.
Parking £7 per car.
Hatfield Park Address: Great North Rd., Hatfield AL9 5HX
Milton Keynes Theatre announce its summer season of entertainment
Milton Keynes Theatre is delighted to announce its summer season of sensational entertainment!
Returning to the venue after a sell-out run in 2019 is the phenomenal Les Misérables, the musical often regarded as the most popular in the world. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production arrives in Milton Keynes on Tue 26 Apr for four weeks.
Northern Ballet share their take on the beloved literary classic The Great Gatsby from Tue 24 May, promising the most glamourous party in town.
From Mon 30 May, a whodunnit everyone can enjoy arrives fresh out the boardgame box and onto the stage. Cluedo is the new comedy thriller directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong, which will also be arriving in Milton Keynes on Mon 25 Jul.
Brining life and energy to the immortal songs of the late Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf is the rocking musical, Bat Out of Hell, from 14 June. With all the anthems you know and love, this show is set to be a crowd-pleaser for those inclined to rock ‘n’ roll.
From best-selling author David Walliams comes the Olivier nominated Billionaire Boy from Thu 30 Jun, a winner for the whole family!
Fancy yourself a decoder? Try to decipher the secrets, clues and riddles in The Da Vinci Code from Tue 12 Jul. The world premiere tour of the brand-new stage production stars Coronation Street’s Christopher Harper and Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf, Death in Paradise).
Take a chance on the ultimate feel-good musical MAMMA MIA! as it returns to Milton Keynes on Tue 2 Aug. Set on a Greek island paradise, this musical is a story of love, friendship and identity, cleverly told through the timeless songs of ABBA. And from one musical legend to another, The Cher Show joins Milton Keynes Theatre from Tue 9 Aug. Get ready to Turn Back Time in this outrageous new musical directed by Arlene Phillips (Grease, Starlight Express) and choreographed by Strictly’s Oti Mabuse.
Willy Russell’s moving Liverpudlian tale, Blood Brothers, then takes to the stage from Tue 30 Aug. Few musicals have been received with such acclaim as this multi-award-winning production which surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End.
Milton Keynes will be screaming Go, Go, Go Joseph this September when the sensational new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes to the Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks. The family musical which opens on Mon 12 Sep stars Alexandra Burke as the Narrator and Jac Yarrowas Joseph.
Milton Keynes Theatre continues its outstanding programme of one night entertainment this season. The hilarious Menopause the Musical 2 comes to the theatre on Sat 11 Jun. Enjoy an evening with world famous football manager Harry Redknapp on Tue 28 Jun. Strictly professionals Anton & Giovanni team up for an evening of song and dance with their show, Him and Me. And the tribute shows are back! For Rod Stewart fans there’s Some Guys Have All The Luck on Sun 31 Jul, and celebrating the music of Tina Turner is What’s Love Got To Do With It on Sun 4 Sep.
Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory line up has been confirmed
After a two year break, Rock in the Priory 2022 is back and will be at its usual location on the Priory Island on Sunday, 17th July.
Showcase auditions were held at Southern Maltings on the April 10th and helped determine the line-up for the main event. The organisers are grateful to all the musicians who came along to perform.
The high standard of performances made the selection process difficult. The seven bands and three acoustic acts who will be entertaining the crowds on July 17th are listed below.
Quivering Lip are a two-piece originals and cover band playing rock and brit pop anthems. Quivering Lip wrote and recorded their first 5 track album Generation Panic in 2018, following it up with a new release “Ashes” in April 2019.
Uptown Punk are a high energy, 5-piece pop/punk band, covering fan favourites from 90s to present. Their set is full of well known pop/punk tunes, with a bit of Rock thrown in. Artists covered include; Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Sum 41 and many more.
Grace is a singer, pianist and songwriter based in Hertfordshire specialising in acoustic pop, golden oldies, jazz and much more. Take a moment to listen/watch her Thinking Out Loud cover.
Other artists performing at Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory include Adam Fearn, Mr No Face, Back to the 50s, George Croucher, Junkyard Dolls, Second Bite, The Routine.
Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory
The last Rock in the Priory was held in 2019. This annual event is known for its excellent atmosphere and energy. It takes place in the unique setting of the Island bandstand, nestled within seven acres of picturesque riverside gardens of the 14th century Ware Priory building. Tickets in advance are £5 entry or a family ticket at £15 for two adults and up to four children. Further details about Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory can be found on rockinthepriory.co.uk