Built in the 1960s, Milton Keynes may be a new town by British standards, but it offers plenty of cultural and architectural interest for visitors.
Where to stay in Milton Keynes
Where to stay in Milton Keynes
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In fact, the modern design is part of what makes it so fascinating – it’s an intriguing insight into what town planners and architects thought a 20th century British city should be like, effortlessly blending the history of the region with contemporary thinking around housing, culture and commerce.
50 years on, 21st century MK (as it’s known locally) is a vibrant and diverse Bedfordshire town with outstanding museums, theatres, art, architecture and sculpture, including the famous Milton Keynes concrete cows!
Food and drink
Milton Keynes has some of the best dining choices outside of London, with over 350 restaurants serving everything from international fast food to quality pub grub and high end contemporary cuisine.
The theatre district has some outstanding restaurants, cafes and bars, and you can pick up a great value pre-theatre set menu if you’re happy to eat a little earlier.
If you fancy splashing out, Paris House is Bedfordshire’s only Michelin starred restaurant, and well worth the short drive or taxi to beautiful Woburn Park.
Milton Keynes is definitely a place to shop ‘til you drop – shoppers travel from all over the region to browse the hundreds of stores at The Centre: MK and into Milton Keynes, which together make one of the largest covered shopping centres in Europe.
Combine this with the huge retail parks around the town and the French, German and Italian markets held regularly in the town centre, and MK is a thoroughly satisfying shopping experience.
If you’re looking for something a little more individual, it’s well worth travelling to one of the surrounding market towns and villages like Newport Pagnell, Olney and Woburn, which have a lovely selection of boutique shops selling designer clothes, crafts, antiques and gifts, as well as monthly farmers’ markets, perfect for picking up some delicious ingredients to prepare at home in your serviced apartment.
Milton Keynes’ central UK location and outstanding transport links make it a popular choice for companies looking for a national or international base, with business parks located throughout the town.
These include the UK headquarters of Home retail group (which owns Argos and Homebase), leisure company Deltic Group, formula one team Red Bull Racing, Domino's Pizza and car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki and Volkswagen.
Transport was carefully thought through when Milton Keynes was built, and it shows. It’s just a few miles from the M1 motorway, with great rail links to London, Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland, as well as regular rail connections to the surrounding towns. Luton Airport is just a short distance away, and there is also a direct rail connection to Birmingham International Airport.
The roads through the town are on a numbered grid system – it’s hugely efficient with very little congestion and ample parking everywhere. If you’re on two wheels, Milton Keynes is served by routes 6 and 51 on the National Cycle Network, or you can take advantage of the excellent bus service that covers the whole region.
Things to watch out for
The grid road system in Milton Keynes is unconventional for the UK, although if you’ve ever driven in the USA it will feel more familiar. However unlike the US, junctions in Milton Keynes are connected by roundabouts – 130 of them in total, more than anywhere else in the UK.