Recently, I’ve been inundated with questions about where is good to go for a date night that won’t completely break the bank and will provide a great backdrop for an evening of either getting to know someone new or spending quality time with a certain someone. One of the places that kept cropping up in these conversations was The Bletchley and so I set out to see whether it could become one of the recommendations I give!
The Bletchley can be found to the rear of the Chelsea Funhouse on Kings Road where you enter via a back door (or you can walk through the funhouse to leave your coats in the cloakroom). You then head down some stairs where you are transported into what seems like a WW2 detective’s secret bunker. With writing and diagrams on the walls, boards of clues and riddles and a big contraption in the centre of the room, what this is for will become apparent later.
You’ll be greeted by some fantastic hosts that are so completely and utterly immersed in their characters that they’re a little bit scary to start with all whilst being fun and attentive at the same time…and also very helpful. Let’s just say, we weren’t the sharpest tools in the box throughout our missions and we were so grateful to have a *few* handy hints throughout our two-hour slot.
You’ll have to come up with your own agent name as you sip your fruity welcome drink and get dressed up as agents with your uniform… this was the first challenge that we struggled with, so say hello to Agent Jazzhands and Agent Twinkletoes! And shortly after this, a member of the team will be over to explain how the enigma machine works. (It’s very important that you listen to this as it can be a little confusing and the majority of tasks will include the use of the enigma machine.)
To really crack the case you have to think like a spy and follow in the footsteps of Alan Turing and his team of cryptographers who managed to figure out the Enigma code belonging to the Nazis during WW2 at Bletchley park. There are many ways you’ll have a chance to do this and you can only move onto the next code when you’ve managed the previous one and fed it back to the staff at the call-centre (I’m not sure what the real word for it was).
There are 3 different task routes that you can choose from, each of them comprises of 4 different missions and a grand total of 4 drinks (including the welcome drink), 2 of which are personalised to your tastes depending on how you complete the tasks. I really enjoyed both of my personalised cocktails, the first of which seemed to be a gin-based cocktail with a hint of fruit, and the second was a really fruity/berry short cocktail which I absolutely loved. Although, one thing that would’ve been handy would have been to be told what the cocktail actually was or have a little note with what was in it – just so you could know what to order next time you fancy one similar.
My friend however wasn’t too sure on her cocktails which was a bit of a bummer as you don’t get to choose what goes in it, so I wouldn’t suggest this if you’re a really fussy cocktail drinker or only like one sort of drink as you very well may end up with a drink that you’re not crazy about. The trick is to be open minded to trying new things and if you like the cocktail in the end then it’s a huge plus!
We had such a great evening and it really got our brains ticking. Some things we found particularly hard (such as opening a simple box which wasn’t even meant to be the hard bit). And sometimes we struggled to figure out what to do next but we were helped along and finally managed to win at our mission and left feeling very accomplished. One thing I did find a little annoying was that even though there are three different tasks routes that you can choose from, other people in the venue may very well be working on the same one as you and sometimes they can be quite loud and this could give you the answer that you were looking for and kind of make all your thought processes redundant. So I would say try and stick to your own mission and not to listen to what other groups are doing!
As far as for a date idea, I would definitely recommend but personally I wouldn’t pick it for a first date as I think I would feel a little bit stupid if I couldn’t work things out or made mistakes, but I think that just depends on how confident you are! The tables are quite cosy and you do get a little bit of time to chat but mostly it’s all about the tasks at hand, so it depends what you’re after. If it was a first date I would suggest going somewhere beforehand so that you can chat there and then use The Bletchley to then get to know them more and how competitive they are! However if you think you’re going to run out of conversation then this is definitely a way to keep talking! I think it’s more of a second and onwards date but you can still have a fab evening. Also, you don’t have to do all of the tasks. The Bletchley is also open for you to just go for a drink from their inventive drinks menu!
Thanks so much to The Bletchley for having us, we had a fab time!