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Bletchley Park in 360: See inside Britain's Enigma-breaking HQ

CNET takes you on an immersive VR tour of Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing and his colleagues smashed Nazi encryptions in World War II.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In a special video production, CNET takes you inside the hallowed halls of Bletchley Park, the stately home in Buckinghamshire, England where the Enigma code was broken in World War II. Our 360-degree tour, embedded below, will take you into the huts, libraries and work rooms of Bletchley, putting you in the office of Alan Turing, and revealing how German wartime encryptions were broken.

The story of Bletchley Park has been told before -- in books, documentaries and in Hollywood dramatisations such as 2014's "The Imitation Game" -- but never before have its secrets been exposed in such an immersive medium. Whether it's at your desktop with a set of headphones, through Google Cardboard, Samsung's Gear VR or any other virtual reality headgear, we hope you enjoy this exclusive glimpse at one of history's most significant sites. (Embedded video not playing correctly? Watch it on YouTube or Facebook.)

Breaking Enigma began with Polish intelligence -- who figured out how to read encrypted messages before the war began -- and shared their knowledge with Britain and France in 1939, mere months before the Nazi invasion of Poland triggered global conflict. The German military soon enhanced its Enigma encryptions, however, making Bletchley's task infinitely more complex.

Historians credit the groundbreaking work performed at Bletchley during World War II with shortening the war by several years. But the efforts of Turing, Joan Clarke, Gordon Welchman and their many colleagues had ramifications that are still felt decades later. The wartime necessities of crunching through many millions of potential Enigma settings on a daily basis saw computer science leap forwards, with Turing and Welchman's Bombe machine paving the way for many more technological breakthroughs to come.

  • Thanks to Bletchley Park Trust for its help and assistance during the production of this project. Thanks to the Bombe Rebuild Project too, for their invaluable help.