Code Cracking Fun and Cocktails at The Bletchley
By Tom Wilkinson
Agent, your mission is clear. First make your way to Chelsea and locate the World’s End Market. This unique restaurant and bar hides a secret that you must uncover. You may wish to rest awhile in the upstairs bar and enjoy their hospitality while you steel yourself for the mission ahead (I would recommend the Sazerac).
Suitably refreshed, mention your mission to the staff and you will be led to a top-secret location. Once inside, you will be presented with your uniforms and your first mission. Suffice to say I cannot give you exact details, but all will become clear when you are met by our local agents. You will also be presented with your tools:
- A pen
- A working enigma machine
- A communication relay
Once you have been presented with your first mission and welcome beverages you have an hour and 45 minutes to complete your missions and receive your cocktail rewards. There are three missions in total and you will need to use your wits, code cracking skills and your surroundings to solve each task and send a coded message to headquarters.
Music from the 1940s, low lighting, and the occasional air raid siren help transport you back to the era of code cracking and subterfuge. Newspaper clippings, pictures, propaganda posters, and clues adorn the walls to further add to the atmosphere and, in some cases, to help you with your missions. Remember to turn your investigations towards them, agent!
Sip – Code Cracking Cocktails
Your coded transmission will generate a unique cocktail recipe for your enjoyment. I’m afraid I can’t know exactly what was in my cocktails but I can give an overview of the kind of concoctions you may get to try.
Your welcome drink will be served in a mess mug and is a pleasant, light drink that is reminiscent of a lightly alcoholic iced, cinnamon tea. It is refreshing and not too sweet. The perfect accompaniment while you startle to puzzle out your missions.
Without giving too much away, the first mission involved some sensory choices that were reflected in the cocktails we received. My companion received a drink that tasted light and fruity with a slight tang while I had a citrusy variation on a Sazerac topped with Chantilly.
My second mission cocktail was topped with a lollipop while my companion’s came in a tall glass. Both fruity and tropical, they served as a refreshing break before our final challenge. Our fast progress was rewarded with another mission requiring we contacted HQ for two final cocktails. Mine was a delightfully fruity, pink grapefruit flavoured cocktail with an extravagant decoration and my companion received a delightfully creamy coffee cocktail with hints of chocolate.
Impressively, despite the large array of code words that can be combined into a staggering number of distinct radio messages, every one of the cocktails we received were delicious and different – a testament to the skills of the excellent bar agents.
I can honestly say that the experience at The Bletchley is one of the most unique and fun that I have had the joy to partake in. I would heartily recommend it to anyone.
Stay vigilant agent, keep calm and carry on.
To learn more about The Bletchley Experience, visit their website at https://www.thebletchley.co.uk
Contributor Tom Wilkinson is a software developer by day and podcaster by night. He hosts and edits podcasts at Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sponge Productions: https://tinkertailorsoldiersponge.com/