It may come as a shock for those of us who just go into our towns for a spot of shopping that, towns have more to offer than stores, food chains and the odd busker. Take any English town, remove all the consumer shop fronts and you’ll be surprised with how much history, culture and how many interesting buildings are leftover. Unlike many UK towns and cities Milton Keynes doesn’t have a long history. It would be more accurate to say, in the case of this south Midlands city, “histories”.
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes / Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by Draco2008
New English Town
In the 1960s government priorities focussed on alleviating housing over-crowding in London by establishing new towns in England, within easy reach of the capital. The small towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton, in north Buckinghamshire, were marked out as a potential site for one of these cities. Prior to this, in the 1950s Bletchley had already been the site for new construction for housing designed to take the strain parts of London. New Towns have long been controversial, and Milton Keynes was no exception. The newly built city, featuring excellent road networks and built on “Garden City” ideals, was considered by some to be a soulless place. But new towns on the block grow up – and MK as it is fondly known by its residents – is no exception.
The Attractive Plan
The cunning plan behind the location of Milton Keynes was that it would eventually grow into a regional centre. The city is located at an equal distance, roughly, between London, Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester. Today, that plan has come to fruition as Milton Keynes is a city that has become a centre of business, technology, culture and sport. Unlike many older cities it is also an attractive city in which to work, rest and play.
- With 4,500 acres of parks, woodlands and waterways incorporated into the design, you don’t have to go far to get away from it all. Walking and cycling around the city are pleasurable experiences, compared to most cities. The waterways and lakes that form part of this countryside in the city theme were designed to mitigate flood risks from the Trent, something that today’s town planners are going green with envy over.
- Shopping in Milton Keynes offers something for everybody. The city hosts a range of shopping malls, some of the first to be established in the UK. Today these contain well over 400 shops, including high fashion and high street names. Not far from Milton Keynes itself, the surrounding villages have proved popular locations for boutique shops and the area’s rural roots have not disappeared and can be found at a of farmer’s markets.
- Leisure was a key part of the design when Milton Keynes was still largely located on a drawing board. As the city has grown so have the opportunities. Sports facilities include water-sports centres and a skiing centre. The skiing centre is of the indoor type, although it does boast real snow. Close to the city you will also find Silverstone Formula One race track and Towcester’s more traditional horse racing track.
- The construction of Milton Keynes did not mean that the historic attractions of the area were bulldozed. Far from it. Bletchley Park was home to the wartime code-breakers who helped to defeat the Nazi’s and the site is now open to the public. Buckinghamshire’s typically English countryside is also home to a range of stately homes and ancient abbeys. Always an important location in English history, the county has plenty to offer for fans of historic sites.
High Standards for Visitors
When it comes to accommodation, Milton Keynes does not suffer from many old, poor quality lodging houses. In fact the majority of the accommodation to be found – whether for business travellers or tourists – is of the highest quality. Boutique hotels, apartments or guesthouses, all are characterised by excellent standards, modern fixtures, fittings and services. Milton Keynes is a new city and it has consistently set new standards for work, leisure and play.
Finding a serviced apartment Milton Keynes style is not difficult, the previously maligned New Town is now a vibrant regional centre with opportunities for leisure and entertainment to suit all tastes.
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