Operation Squirrel

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The Learning team at Bletchley Park has created another unique day especially for Potential Plus UK. This is a fundraising event for Potential Plus UK.

Once you have booked we suggest you print THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION about the structure of the day, what to bring, parking, arrival, timings and lunch.

Places are limited. Booking closes at 11.55pm on Sunday 4th August or earlier if places are all taken.

Date, venue and age range

Operation Squirrel will take place on Saturday 10 August 2019 at Bletchley Park. This is a family activity. Bletchley Park has advised that it will be suitable for HLP children aged 7+ years (up to 16 and beyond!).

Please note: if families choose to bring a child younger than 7 the same price applies (as a space is being taken) but the Learning team cannot guarantee that the child will be able to fully access the activities. 

Description of the context: Operation Squirrel

A spy has infiltrated Bletchley Park and is sending messages to their handler via a secret wireless access point somewhere in the grounds. We need your help to find the access point and identify the spy! In order to do this we’ll teach you how to break wartime Germany’s top-level cipher, Lorenz, so that you can read location information sent to the spy. Then you’ll be decoding, plotting and reading grid references and bearings.

Question: Will it be different to last year's event at Bletchley Park? 

Response: The day is being planned with the assumption that some of the participants may have attended last year. However, the activities and storyline will be a completely new experience.

Structure of the day

On arrival, participants will pick up their packs from Block B. During the morning, everyone will take part in a workshop about breaking the Lorenz cipher, learning skills that will come in useful later in the day!

In the afternoon, recruits will receive their briefing for Operation Squirrel. This includes a little more training on bearings and grid references, followed by completing the challenge outside around the site.

When not in a session, participants are encouraged to explore the site. We would particularly recommend the new D-Day immersive film (age recommendation is 8+), the new temporary exhibition in Hut 12 – The Illustration Game, and the interactive activities in Hut 8, Hut 11A and Block C. 

What to bring

It would be really helpful if you could come armed with a pencil, ruler, protractor and either a smartphone or tablet. You will not need to download anything, only to access a webpage via Wi-Fi. You may also find a compass or a digital compass app useful, but this is not essential. We will have a small number of spares.

Some of the day will take place outside so please come prepared for the British weather conditions!

Skills development

This activity provides a wonderful opportunity for participants to practise some of the Skills Builder skills.


Venue and parking

Operation Squirrel is being held at Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB.

Parking is available on site and the venue is approximately 5 minutes' walk from Bletchley train station, which is on the London Northwestern line.

Provisional timings and arrival

Bletchley Park opens at 9.30am and registration will be from 9.45am – 10.15am in Block B. Please approach the side gate marked on the map below, where our team will be ready to greet you – NOT through admissions in Block C (the main visitor centre). If you arrive after 10.15am and no one is at the gate to let you in, you may need to enter through general admissions.

Activities will start at 10.30am.

Activities will end between 3.00pm and 3.30pm

Participants are free to continue to explore Bletchley Park until it closes at 5pm 

Lunch time

There are a variety of food options at Bletchley Park.

Hut 4, formerly a WW2 Naval Intelligence Codebreaking Hut, now houses the café. Open daily, there is a range of delicious hot and cold food to choose from including freshly cooked meals made on-site with locally sourced ingredients and children’s lunch boxes.

There is a Coffee Shop in the Visitor Centre, serving cold and hot drinks, sandwiches, light snacks and treats.

The Snack Kiosk in the Pump Room is open in the summer serving drinks and ice creams.

Alternatively, families can bring a picnic lunch, but please be aware that there is nowhere to store baskets/bags so you would have to leave them in your car or carry them with you. Assuming good weather, there are a number of picnic tables, benches and deckchairs around the site, and plenty of grassy space to lay down a blanket. If the weather is bad, the Bletchley Park team will open up the schools' lunch areas (but space might be tight if everyone tries to go in at once!).

Tickets and prices

Child/young adult ticket (ages 7+) £30 (members £25)

Parent/carer ticket £25 (members £20)

Potential Plus UK members discount

Members of Potential Plus UK receive a discount of £5 off the child/young adult and parent/carer tickets. Please apply the discount code when booking.

The code is available:

  • On the member notice board on your account
  • In June and July's Focus on Potential
  • From head office on 01908 646433 or amazingchildren@potentialplusuk.org 

Scholarship Fund to aid attendance at this event

Potential Plus UK members can apply to our Scholarship Fund for financial assistance to further reduce the cost of the tickets. Financial assistance does not cover travel or accommodation. The Scholarship Fund is available to all Family Members of Potential Plus UK and bursaries are dependent on both financial need and the child's needs. Please email finance@potentialplusuk.org for the form to complete and return.

Fundraising for the Scholarship Fund

Operation Squirrel is a fundraising event. Families can choose to make an additional donation to the Scholarship Fund as you book your own tickets. Thank you for your support.

Cancellation and refunds

Refunds less up to 20% are available up to 14 days before the event (in this case by the end of Friday 26th July). After that places can be cancelled but refunds are no longer available as Potential Plus UK will have already confirmed the activities and engaged the providers. Please refer to full details of Potential Plus UK's Refund Policy.

Other things to do in and around Milton Keynes

If you decide to spend the weekend in Milton Keynes, here are some local sites that might interest your family:

The National Museum of Computing Block H, Bletchley Park, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB

Milton Keynes Museum McConnell Drive, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5EL

Woburn Safari Park Woburn Park, Bedfordshire MK17 9QN

Big Rock Climbing Centre Mandeville Drive, Kingston, Milton Keynes MK10 0AG

The Parks Trust Parks and lakes around Milton Keynes

The Grand Union Canal Walks along the canal through Milton Keynes 


Milton Keynes has a good range of hotel accommodation, including Travelodge, PremierInn, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, Jury's Inn, Hilton.