I'm 22 years old and have lived in Milton Keynes for most of my life. A majority of the reviews I have read on this website, must be based on what they have heard.. Either that or they have only driven through Milton Keynes but not actually visited as such. There are lots of horror stories about MK around, and I have no idea why to be honest. I love living in MK and will never move away. My social life as a 22 year old, is very important to me and the opportunities to socialise with friends and family in MK are amazing. There are alot of restaurants, alot of bars and clubs and daytime activities are great too.. We have an indoors ski dome, two cinemas, bowling alleys, arcades and much more! I don't think anyone can really review Milton Keynes until they have visited and spent at least a weekend here! Its true what they say, MK is a growing town and the ever increasing population must be a sign that things here arn't that bad and worth sticking around for!!
Milton Keynes is a fantastic place to live! I know there are a lot of people who slate it, but I've lived here for 26 years and I have to say I love it. I've watched it grow from a 'new town' with small trees and bright new brickwork to a proper 'city' that's thriving and bustling with people and businesses, has mature trees and buildings, and is all grown up. Actually technically Milton Keynes isn't a city at all, we've never been granted City status so we're still only a town, even though we've as many people as most Cities do, and as much to do here if not more than many cities have.
The place IS quite different to what people expect from a City (or even very large town), the area is laid out in a grid pattern with H roads (horizontal roads), and V roads (vertical roads). In each grid square is an estate, some of which are purely residential and others are purely business, with some being a mixture of both. The grid road system makes it much easier to navigate the town than most places, and we rarely get bad traffic jams as at each intersection you can opt to take a slightly different route and avoid the worst of any traffic that may be there. All the intersections (well most of them), have roundabouts which means that the flow of traffic is much easier than if we had loads of traffic lights everywhere.
MK is a very green city too, When you travel the grid roads you don't see a lot of houses as there are wide grass verges with trees and bushes between you and each estate. We also have a good amount of countryside that creeps and meanders around the edges and even into the middle in places which again goes to make it feel less like a city and more like a series of small towns and villages all joined together, which in turn makes it feel much friendlier than most cities.
The central area of the town has a major shopping centre at its heart, in terms of it's size and what shops we have, it rivals anything that Bluewater or Thurrock Lakeside can offer, and it's much easier to get to as it's in a town rather than out in the middle of nowhere all the big names in shops are here, and the place is popular for shopping particularly at Christmas time. We've got a theatre district in the town centre too, where there's a big national theatre, an art gallery, a couple of cinemas, and loads of bar's and restaurants. Just down the other end of the town centre is another area for eateries which has become quite trendy and hip since it opened. Most of the big bar and restaurant chains can be found there, and it's a pretty fab place to meet friends as there's so much choice.
There is so much to do here in MK, which I think is why many people like to come here to visit, as well as everything I've mentioned above we've got ice-skating, bowling, a football team with a pretty decent brand new stadium, a national hockey stadium, waterskiing, one of the best lakes in this part of the country for seeing water birds, a vast expanse of open spaces and parklands, a nationally renowned open air concert stadium (The Milton Keynes Bowl), and even a snow dome with a real snow slope.
I know a lot of people hear 'Milton Keynes' and think 'Concrete Cows' but they're just stuck in a field off to the edge of town and aren't really that impressive. What is much more impressive is some of the sculptures that are dotted throughout the city from the statue of two whispering girls outside the library to a giant book with a ball and chain attached to it which forms a bench in Midsummer Place outside (aptly enough) a bookshop.
Yes the place has it's areas that are a bit less pleasant or pretty, but what town or city doesn't have those, and to be honest, the estates that are considered 'rough' here are nothing like as bad as some of the reasonable areas of London in my book.
MK is really friendly too, it's not like London where no one talks to each other, here you know your neighbours and have a local pub you go to. People chat with each other in the post office queues, and we don't have the aggression problems that many cities seem to have. I love this place and I'm proud to call it home. To me it shows what a city can really be if it's given a bit of tlc and encouragement to grow in the right direction, instead of being neglected and left to grow old and dowdy.
Milton Keynes generally gets a bad press and does tend to be the punchline to a lot of jokes but when you actually experience life in Milton keynes you tend to see it in a different light.
Ok we have all heard about the concrete cows but they are just a tiny part of what Milton keynes is. The facilities available are fantastic - I'm sure there aren't many places in the country where you can do all the things below in such a small area:
1. See West end shows at the Theatre
2. Visit a purpose built art gallery
3. Go ice skating
4. Go bowling
5. Go to see a league One football team
6. Go to a multi screen cinema
7. Go Skiing or snow boarding
8. See an Ice Hockey Team
9. See a basket ball Team
10. Go shopping in one of Europe largest shopping centres
11. Go water skiing or wakeboarding
12 Go for walks in vast expanses of parks
13. See outdoor music concerts
14. Numerous swimming pools and other leisure facilities.
15. Numerous places to eat out - from Nando's to Loch Fyne
16. Indoor Sky-diving
All of these are available within the "city" of Milton Keynes. Ok its not all great - as with any large urban area there are some places which are not great and as the town is new from a classical architechture point of view there probably isn't a great deal to interest you, but all that aside the opportunities which are available in the city is fantastic. The transport links are also great with a good train service to London, Northanmpton and further North and the M1 is just on the edge.
OK it will always be a part of the british joke - but who is having the final laugh?
Milton Keynes, is one of those new modern towns, styled after the straight rows and broad sidewalks of America. Everything is boxed and horizontal or vertical to something else, and its hard to get lost, even though the houses all look very similar...
But it has its good sides, a lovely equestrian center is located in the center of this suburban paradise, with bridle paths that wind in and out of the parks and houses. There are large parks and serene ponds and even a forest, all within walking distance from your home. Not to mention one of the biggest car-boots on Sunday that I have ever seen!
This is a new, but surprisingly cozy neighborhood, and even though they don''t have a local pub that has been around for over 200 years, the massive shopping complex more then makes up for it. I have been in danger of never finding my way out of its sprawling domain, thankfully with a map and compass I made it out, but not before many hours and even more purchases later.
If you are looking for quaint, rustic living then this isn''t the place for you. But if the modern town appeals to you then come along and join the MK club!
Personally I found the town too modern for my tastes, but there was something to it, that appealed to my organized side. Only four stars for its lack of individuality. But other then that, it is a well laid out and modern neighborhood.
My sister and I love going to CMK together as the shopping centre is fab! Everything you could think of in the way of shops and more besides.
I love all the out of town shopping places too - Milton Keynes definitely seems to have the biggest and best of all the stores - B&Q, Tescos, Ikea and so on. I have noticed that roundabouts are a whole new ball game in Milton Keynes though - apparently you don''t have to stop even if there are cars coming from your right!
I personally wouldn''t want to live right in Milton Keynes as to me it all looks the same and I never know where I am from one road to the next however I know there are some nice areas and I assume there are great benefits to living in such a modern area. Certainly the amenities are fabulous.
Have been to a concert at Milton Keynes Bowl too which was a fab place to see such a thing so thats a great thing to have. The dry ski slope is also cool and lots of fun. There are so many places to go, things to do and places to eat in MK you are spoilt for choice.
There are also lots of lovely English villages in the surrounding areas if you venture out a little way. Its not exactly a holiday destination but has its own charm.
Fancy a go at snowboarding, you can do that here. Shops and restaurants here as well at the x scape centre.
The train station offers great connections all over the UK. As you'd expect, they have a bus station to match the variety of desinations that the trains offer. Want a flight, Luton is 15-20 minutes away.
There are a handful of interesting clubs here if that is what you need. They have a Chiquitos here for half decent Mexican food too.
If you've never been to Milton Keynes by car, it is a different adventure as it is build more like an American roads system with it build like a grid.
Ok so i dont think my review about Milton keynes is going to be quite so detailed as others but here goes.... this is mainly about other peoples view of mk and my reasons why its not so bad.
i moved to mk from london when i was 6 am now 22 so ive been living here for 16years.
What i cant understand is:
1: why we are known for concrete cows i mean ok there have been a lot more appearing recently but up untill a few years ago i knew nothing about these concrete cows!
2: people complain about the grid system and roundabouts yet if you take a wrong turn ect or miss your exit on a roundabout then you go straight to the next roundabout and turn straight back round, simple! there are more and more traffic lights appearing on roundabouts now which isnt great as will slow traffic causing more jams in my eyes.
3. people who live here (mainly young) complain there is nothing to do, when theres anything from shopping, cinema, ski slope,clubbing, resturants, sky dive, theatre, swimming/leisure centres, parks and lakes to walk around ect
When i was younger i always thought i wanted to go and live back in london but that is soooo not the case any more oh no no! i worked in london for a year last year and it was horrible! everyone is rude to eachother, always in a rush, everyone walks into you and the roads are sooo congested and even at traffic lights if its green for you to walk across theres still vans ect driving through the lights!!! i definately appriciate mk so much more and there are a lot more green areas than people think its not all concrete and grey!
I have family that moved down there (from london), ist time i went over to vist, i didnt undestand the structure the town etc.. but the more i kept going the more i fell in love with the quite,peacfull,fresh city.its all about MK and i am even planning on moving over there next year.....yeeeeeeepy
What I am reviewing is Milton Keynes in general.
I moved to Milton Keynes three years ago for my job relocation for NatWest bank, I didn't know anything about Milton Keynes and I had never been here before in my life. The company was offering me a good deal to put me up for six months in a flat for me to think about staying so I thought why not.
My first impression after leaving the motorway was "my god there are a lot of roundabouts !" I noticed that all the roads are labelled H (horizontal) or V (vertical) with their numbers next to them (e.g V7) I found this totally confusing and luckily I had a map.
Milton Keynes is made up of different estates, and when you get used to it the H and V roads do make life easier as they go through Milton Keynes to lead to various estates in the north, east, central, west and south.
With these grid roads are a lot of roundabouts, there are about 200ish and not many traffic lights, it makes the traffic more free flowing though.
There are plenty of things to do around Milton Keynes and I shall try to go through a few of them for you
If you like your shopping there is a huge shopping centre in the city centre with around 240 shops. These are the main high street shops you will normally find such as Boots, Woolworths, HMV, and other that are not in the mainstream line like paperchase, topaz (furniture), Sunglass Hut, and too many more to mention.
There is ample parking but quite expensive if you want to park right outside it's about £1 per hour. If you park further away you can get around four hours for that much and just have five minutes walk to the centre.
Just over the road from the centre is the Xscape building. This consists of pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, bowling, cinema, and a ski slope.
You get the main pubs like weatherspoons, but the majority are clubs. The favourite clubs there are Oceanas which has different themed dance floors such as the 70's and 80's, the Japanese bar, and many more. The other clubs are Mood which has a mainly R&B theme most nights, and Revolution which main drinks are the different flavoured vodkas.
Most of these are quite expensive after 9pm for drinks and can cost up to £3 per pint, entry is free before 9.
There is also the theatre district in the town centre which has a theatre with productions like Chicago, High Society, Peter Pan, and not too bad a price of around £20 per ticket.
There is also pubs like Yates, Hogshead, and places to eat including Pizza Hut, Fatty Arbuckles, Frankie and Bennies, TGI Fridays and many more.
Also there is the national Hockey stadium and of course the MK Dons ! These have gone down very well in Milton Keynes with a huge following.
Moving away from the city centre every estate has it's own pub, little Tesco express with post office, and normally a Chinese take away. All depending on the area and what it's vasinity to the centre it is.
All of these local estates are very easy to find, and also I have found when I have been lost and looking for a certain pub or road the people have been friendly and have helped me without question.
True you do get crime in Milton Keynes and that generally happens around the city centre estates. The main crime being car theft. If you live out of the city centre districts then the chance of crime goes down a lot.
I am in the South in Walnut Tree which has very nice surroundings of fields and streams and not too overbuilt so you can see wildlife and familys can go onto the playing fields.
There is also a hungry horse pub just a short walk away from me, the hungry horse chain offer great value on food and I would highly recommend it. You can get a huge meal for £4.99.
Just down the road is Caldecotte lake which has the only Windmill in Milton Keynes, this has some lovely walks around the lakes and a very nice restaurant inside the refurbished windmill. This is a good location for families to visit. Another is Willen lake, this has another huge lake with rides for the kids, and water sports. There is also a chance to go on a speedboat (I am doing this in September !!)
Some places have a lot more walks than others, and there is always a lot of walkways, streams, and fields to walk around.
There are some nice estates and some bad estates, I shall not name them but I guess all places have them. The nearer south you get, the greener the area.
Milton Keynes is generally known for the concrete cows. I have never seen these all the time I have lived here and I have a feeling they have now been knocked down as it gives the city a bad image of a "Concrete City"
Very near Milton Keynes is Bletchley which is a lot smaller but directly joined rather than going on a main road or motorway to join it.
Most buisiness people now have relocated here as this is where quite a few jobs have gone to. The companies have found it cheaper here than in London and have a far better chance of getting local people for the work rather than pay out for commuters.
There are plenty of places to stay if you are a visitor with about 30 hotels scattered around Milton Keynes. They are normally around £50 per night, however sometimes they do weekend deals for around £30 a night. If you are thinking of staying try the Travellodge, this is where the main offers are.
The other attractions to look out for are :
Bletchley park, this is the home of the enigma and Britains secret wartime code breaking centre. It holds a big collection of Churchill memorabilia, has walks, and lots more
Gullivers land, this is more for the kids with rides and attractions. I have spoke to some friends who have taken their kids here and said they absolutely loved it. This is very popular in Milton Keynes, and often packed at weekends.
Woburn sands safari park, This is a great day out with over 30 species of animals to look at. It is quite cheap for the kids but could be a little cheaper for adults. I think it's around £4.50 for kids and £7.50 for adults. It's worth it when you see the animals though.
Another attraction that is not on all the time is Collectormania. This is based in the shopping centre and is where the film and TV stars get together and sign autographs for you and have pictures done. I have been to a few and met actors from Star Wars, Blakes's 7, and some of the horror films.
Getting a property here is slightly easier, as I am single there is no way I could afford a huge mortgage so that's where Midsummers housing association steps in. This is a part rent part buy system and you can often buy 35% and rent the rest. It is a lot better in the long run, there is the option to buy more of your property every year if you like.
The train station is quite big and has eight tracks, four to go south and four for north. I have found that the price is quite dearer than what I was used to on Canvey Island but if you do the odd journey it's not that bad.
Travel around Milton Keynes can be very tricky if you haven't got a car, there are bus services but I would not really rely on them and you can get to where you want to with a car very easy. The other option is push bike, there are not that many people generally who I do see out on bikes. The main reason is that the cars are very fast moving and apart from the local estates the rest of the H and V roads speed limit is 60 MPH.
You can visit and get information of Milton Keynes on the internet. Just go to Mkweb.co.uk. This is a good site and can tell you all what you want to know or want to find out about the new city.
Milton Keynes is near to the A5, and two M1 exits which makes it very easy to get around to other places. A short trip to the South of the A5 you will find Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable, if you go north there is Stony Stratford and Towcester to name a few.
You also have the 421 that can get you to Bedford very easy.
Since I moved here three years ago I have found a nice estate with good neighbours, and there are plenty of things to do around the area.
The only drawback is that I do not have any family here and only a handful of friends outside work.
If you are a family wishing to come and live here then do check out some of the areas and it is a great place to settle down, however if you are on your own do think about it as it can be very hard at first if you are on your own.
A few things that I have mentioned in this review like clubs, places to get to, and nearby attractions I shall try and mention at a later date, this just gives you a bit of information on Milton Keynes.
Well, I have mentioned quite a few places, things to do.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this...
I moved from Milton Keynes back to Canvey Island last November and seeing as I wrote this review when I was living there I felt it was good to leave it how it was when I wrote it rather than changing any of the details.
Since moving from Milton Keynes I do still visit some friends that I made there and will always go back to visit.
It always surprises me how many people criticise Milton Keynes, without having ever visited the place, their sole source of information; a misplaced Noel Edmonds campaign that ridiculed the city in order to grab ratings.
I have lived in London, Leicester and Bristol, but have moved to Milton Keynes, why have I done this? Am I mad? Am I just stupid? No, it was a well reasoned move, based on research and actual experience.
Having family living in Milton Keynes I had visited the place a number of times. Yes, the buildings are new, and many aren't particularly striking or aesthetically pleasing. People compare it to their home towns and think 'I live in a much nicer place than this' and so immediately dismiss Milton Keynes. One thing that should be noted is: MILTON KEYNES IS NOT A TOURIST HOTSPOT, there arent many museums, old churches, or old buildings to gorp so try not to base your opinion on a shopping trip.
But what is the place really like though? Besides the lack of culture and history, what does the place have to offer?
1) Milton Keynes is not ugly, infact its won the Britain in bloom award a number of times, because of the amount of lush green areas that frequent it. It has bird sanctuaries, Buddhist monasteries situated in sprawling tranquil fields (Willen Village), it has the first Peace Pagoda to be built in the Western Hemisphere. Theres probably a lot more to this place than you think.
2) Roundabouts Yes there are a lot, but why is this bad? I find that people that cite this as a criticism often forget that the alternative is traffic lights and massive traffic problems. Milton Keynes is a pleasure to drive in, in fact I never even have to consider traffic as an issue, because there is nothing to consider. Go for a drive at rush hour, theres more cars about, but no traffic jams. Can you really boast this about your home town? I never certainly could.
3) Its planned a planned city! How ghastly! What a nightmare it is to have parking spaces, and lots of shops, and lots of facilities, and nice houses! It had one of the largest shopping centres in the world until a few years ago, it built Britains first multiplex cinema, the first Real Snow indoor ski slope in Europe, the longest tow line and best facilities to water-ski/learn water sports in Britain, recognised as one of the premier skateboarding centres in Europe, one of Europes first indoor skydiving centres, good schools, parking for all, lots of sports pitches, ice skating rinks, loads of cinemas, bowling venues, bars, clubs, restaurants, the list goes on.
4) Its the fastest growing town in Britain Does this matter? Yes, if youre a businessman or developer. There is low unemployment, and as Milton Keynes turns into a major new city, house prices will rise. It will be bigger than Manchester/Liverpool (I forget which one) in a decade or so. I would also note that Milton Keynes has low crime rates also, and I never worry about walking home from a night out.
5) Good links to London Get to the capital in 40 minutes.
If I build a city, I would probably build it like Milton Keynes (perhaps with a different name though). Yes it lacks history and culture, you cant manufacture these things, but Id perhaps rather have the things that make a real difference to my life: a decent job, an abundance of facilities, some half decent schools, and a decent location rather than living in a more established city than in all reality, has many more disadvantages than Milton Keynes.
If Milton Keynes were really that bad, then why are the house prices some of the highest in the country (excluding London of course) and still rising? Its not because it has nothing to offer
Milton Keynes my hometown of 17 years where do I start? Well firstly we have the grid system of Horizontal and vertical roads (eg H1 and V1)speed traffic effortlessly around the city with the odd exception. Houses and businesses are screened from these high speed route by dense planting and earth banks minimising disturbance. The redways provide an alternative in some cases to the car but only really for grid squares adjoining the centre. Redways are generaly intended to be leisure routes, which sadly seems a missed oppotunity however they are a fantastic recreational resource . Mant take in beautiful scenery for example North Willen Park with its lake the church and the Peace Pagoda. Which brings me on to another of our strengths space. Much of the open space was born out of necesity th lakes at Willen for example were to prevent flooding holding surface runoff. However the length to which MK's founders went to create a pleasant environment is breath taking. Campbell Park is a masterpiece. Milton Keynes is forever changing Xscape has realy injected life into the city along with the theatre and its bars / clubs we have nightlife now! These two buildings have also created real focal points Xscape can be seen for miles around. The people are friendly I have many great friends in MK. MK people stick together :).
Bad points alas the centre is looking a bit shabby these days mainly due to poor maintenence - streetlights broken, rusty railings, peeling paintwork, pieces of cladding missing from underpasses, graffiti etc. Much of this could be sorted out though it just lets down a great place to live. Yes the underpasses not one of MK's stronger points often poorly lit and uninviting although they do reduce RTA numbers. The buses oh dear what happened? MK used to have good buses back in the days of Roadcar and CityBus but no more. MK Metro seem to have no idea buses arrive at any time as long as its not on the timetable assuming that there is one at the bus stop often there isn't. The bus station is also a let down again it is poorly looked after but the bar above it called Shout! is ace although a bit cheeesy lol! Final rant The Point a lovely bulding just such as shame its future is uncertain i needs investment but it must stay its so much a part of the city a reminder of how MK rose to become great and our first landmark. Just get rid of Sleazy Cinema sorry easy cinema lol! demolish that shabby orange box and leave just the Point itself build a square in its place put the pPOint back at the heart of MK. All in all MK is a brilliant city I just hope it stays that way I will never forget my home. :)
It was February and it was only a couple of hours down the road from Norwich. But why would I have any reason to visit Milton Keynes. I had heard it was a dreary place and somewhere that wasn?t a great place to live. Well I ventured there to support the mighty champions of Division One, otherwise known as Norwich City FC. They were playing the London club Wimbledon who actually weren?t in London any longer. Instead Franchise FC decided to up sticks, ditch its fans and re-locate to Milton Keynes, a town without any real football club to speak of. Needless to say this move hasn?t done wonders for the club, they find themselves in their worst state for a long time, they have no money, all the best players have gone and they?ve been relegated after a very poor season. I?m not sure Milton Keynes are glad to have them. Anyway I come from Norwich where we have a bustling city centre with plenty of character and old architecture. I?m sorry to say but Milton Keynes is frankly very boring in it?s style and it?s buildings. It?s a giant sprawling concrete jungle full of buildings that all look the same and have no real character at all. The place is also full of roundabouts and long-stay car parks. We went to the National Hockey Stadium to watch the game that I assume is near the town centre. To be honest it?s hard to tell because it was like a ghost town. Everybody seems to venture to the indoor shopping centre where everything is literally under one roof. The only people who seemed to be enjoying themselves was the skateboarders, they had endless empty streets to fly down without fear of knocking over pedestrians. The only good things I will say about Milton Keynes is that despite the heavy traffic after the game this was still an easy place to get out in the car. The way the town is laid out means that the countless roundabouts filter out traffic incredibly easily. We were out of there in no time at all, a real blessing when you compare it the traffic comi
ng out of Carrow Road on match day. The car parks themselves were also staggering. We were amazed that we only had to fork out a couple of quid to park all day near the ground. It was almost like parking heaven. But then we saw the vast amount of Car Parks and realized why, there?s probably a price war for business! As for the National Hickey Stadium, well frankly it was a disgrace to first division football. It was very hard to get any atmosphere going as the wind swirled around the ground, which is very open. There is one nice stand but the rest of it is pretty poor and in need of development if Wimbledon hope to one day get back into the Premier League. I hate to put any place down but you ultimately have to compare another town to the place where you live and know. Sadly Milton Keynes really does live up to it?s dingy reputation.
++BRIEF UPDATE++ I would like to point out that I quote Milton Keynes as 'Britains Biggest Shopping Centre' and this quote was taken directly from a leaflet I collected from the MK council offices. I have telephoned them to enquire if the centre is indeed the biggest and the response I received was exactly this "Milton Keynes is Britains biggest shopping destination" after pointing out that I had it on good word that both Bluewater and The Metro Centre are larger, with the Metro Centre being publised on the web as 'the largest in Europe' she simply repeated "Milton Keynes is Briatins biggest shopping destination" so I can only assume that either she didn't understand me or she didn't really care. ++UPDATE OVER++ When you say the words ‘Milton Keynes’ to most people it conjures up images of shopping and concrete cows, now this is a fair enough thing to think of after all we do have Britain’s biggest one here, no not the biggest concrete cow, but the biggest shopping centre. The Centre MK, alongside it is a newer, shinier building that goes by the name of Midsummer Place which is also a rather large shopping centre, but this is not all Milton Keynes has to offer. As well as good shopping facilities I am proud to say that I live in one of the ‘greenest’ (in more ways than one) cities in the country. For those of you more interested in liberating yourself of a few pennies, I’ll include some more info about the shopping later on LOL I’ll bet you didn’t know that as well as these great places to spend your cash Milton Keynes (now on in referred to as MK) is rather a unique landscaped place with over 20 million trees and shrubs, 400 acres worth of rivers, lakes and canals and a pedestrian and cycle system (called the ‘redways’ locally because the tarmac they’re made from is a lovely reddish colour.) This redway system covers a
distance of over 320km and is spread quite literally all over the city. Many a (cheap) day out can be had by cycling over to one of the many beautiful lakes, most of which have a pub next to them – so double bonus! +++MK JOKE+++ A piece of motorway walks into a bar “Gimme A pint of bitter! Grrrrrr” it says, A piece of dual carriageway walks into the bar and the motorway growls at him – the duel carriage way makes his way over to the second bar as far away from the motorway as possible and orders a pint of lager. Then, a piece of red tarmac walks into the bar and the motorway dives under a table. It’s a tiny piece of red tarmac and everyone’s a bit confused now. The tarmac orders his drink and sits in the corner the bartender getting a bit curious wanders over to the motorway to see what’s wrong with him as he’s still hiding under a table cowering. “Be careful of him” said the motorway, “He’s a psycho-path” (Cycle-path) In it’s defence, it’s probably only funny to locals, but if you know anyone from MK tell them that joke! ++++++++++++++ MK has nearly a dozen recycling banks dotted around the city, but if it doesn’t take your fancy loading up your empty bottles in your car and dropping them off then why not ring up for your free recycling boxes? MK was one of the first places in the country to set up a door to door recycling scheme, you’re given two plastic boxes, one of which you put out on your regular rubbish collection day and then the alternative the following week. The red box is for papers and paper products and the blue for plastics / tins etc. Simple stuff really. We also have a ‘garden waste’ collection on the same day, the only difference for this scheme is that you have to purchase special green plastic bags for a price of 30p from the council and pop them out with your normal rubbish.
Back to the actual city! For those of you who didn’t know, MK was built on a ‘grid system’ (based on the same planning as Cincinnati) this means that we have several roads running west to east called H roads (for Horizontal) and north to south roads called V roads, for yep, you’ve guessed it vertical. These roads are all numbered H1, H2, H3, V1, V2, V3 etc. SO to get anywhere in MK all you need to know is the grid reference and it’s fairly simple to work out. If that wasn’t simple enough for you, the roundabouts are all now named so you can (should you choose to) use the roundabouts as points of reference. An ideal place to learn how to drive – I can tell ya! It’s also worth noting that the V4 Watling Street is one of the oldest Roman roads in Britain, and as such we have a few sites around the city with Roman ruins. Bancroft would be the best place to visit as there is the remains of a roman home set in the centre of a field near a stream – a lovely walk, I can tell you (and only a minute away from the famous concrete cows) MK comprises over 100 estates (108 I think, but don’t quote me on that because there are new ones popping up all the time) so that’s a fairly broad choice of areas to live in in just one city. We have our fair share of ‘lego’ estates as I like to call them, the best example I can think of is an estate called ‘Netherfield’ which comprises 6 streets running north to south with houses on them and two running east to west for travelling purposes. The houses on Netherfield look like, well, to put it nicely, the look like those little silver tubs you get takeaways in. Terraced houses with flat roofs and corrugated iron fronts. Like living in a giant ‘Blue Peter’ project really. Netherfield was originally built some 20 something years ago as temporary housing for the people that were building the MK hospital. After the hospital
was completed, a lot of the houses were utilised by the hospital for their staff. (When I was very little, we used to live there and all the hospital houses had regulation ‘mint green’ curtains LOL) Most estates have a primary / combined school, so the walk is never more than a few minutes away – ideal if you don’t have a car. Most also have a local shop and many also come with a pub, most of which should probably be avoided! But on the other side of the coin, we have some of the most beautiful houses in MK, along with lots of new large ‘American style’ houses, MK incorporates into it’s borough the villages of Wolverton, Stony Stratford, and Linford Village. I’ll use Linford village as an example as that is where I got married last Sep 1st. Leaving the modern day roads and driving into the village, you start to notice that instead of a standard ‘type’ of house all the houses are different, with thatched roofs and more traditional styles. A lot of people at this side of the city, not only ride, but own horses, kept on their land here – it is truly breathtaking. Worth the visit alone to look at the Norman church which is near enough 1000 years old. If you do go, I cannot recommend the pub The Nags Head enough for a quick bite and a nice friendly drink. So with this mixture of history and modern day culture, what do we do for fun? Well, MK has it’s fair share of chain pubs / restaurants, like McD’s, Hogshead, Pizza Hut, TGI’s. We also have some wonderful family run restaurants, like The Kam Tong Gardens a beautiful Chinese restaurant situated just outside CMK, overlooking a beautiful lake. According to the MK council, MK’s newly built theatre (opened in October 1999) is ‘Britain’s most popular theatre’ with everything from Lee Evans, to the ballet, to Panto at Christmas there’s something for everyone. We also have
a rather nice art gallery too situated next to the theatre. Xscape (http://www.xscape.co.uk) is one of the newer attractions in MK housing Europe’s ‘largest indoor ski-slope’ with real snow, so perhaps a little snowboarding on a sunny August afternoon. Too adventurous for you? How about bowling? Shoot some pool on proper American pool tables? Go see a film? Maybe some shopping or a coffee? You can do that all in the Xscape, it’s right next to the shopping centres too so maybe a wander across to see what’s going on over in the shopping centre. The main shopping centre ‘The Centre MK’ (http://www.thecentremk.com) houses over 260 shops ranging from John Lewis to tiny boutiques, there are also several ‘barrows’ situated about with knick-knacks on – always worth a look. A point to add is our Boots store has a whole floor dedicated to the Health and Beauty experience, so if your feet are aching from a day wandering about, pop in and see if you can’t get yourself a pedicure and foot massage…oooohh… Regularly we have events in the shopping centre ranging from job fares to arts and crafts, recently we had a comic book and collectable fare with guest appearances made from Robert England (Freddy Cruger) and Tom Baker (Dr Who) we always have a Christmas display (which goes up earlier and earlier every year) it’s usually opened by some C list celebrity but the display itself has won awards – as have the toilets for being the cleanest in the country! LOL Next to the Centre MK is the newer shopping centre Midsummer Place (http://www.midsummerplace.co.uk) It’s run by a different company but almost linked to the old building. I believe that the plan is for the owners of the Centre MK to purchase the new bit in the future – watch this space. Midsummer Place has for it’s emblem an Oak Tree. When the centre was being built turns out that there w
as this huge oak tree in the way – luckily for the tree and for us, they decided to build the centre around it, making it a feature – again linking old & new! Midsummer Place only comprises about 50 shops including a huge Debenhams. We have three local papers, The Citizen, Milton Keynes on Sunday and the Sunday Citizen. The Citizen contains all the local news; newborn babies that sort of thing. It comes on a Thursday, is free and delivered to your house along with several supplements including a Motoring Citizen, a Property Citizen and a ‘Go’ which is local events, TV listings etc. You can also purchase a copy of this in WHSmiths and some local newsagent or even directly from the Citizen office (situated in CMK) My parents moved us here way back in the 80’s as they deemed it a safe and clean place to raise a family and in as much as no one wants to agree with their parents - they were right. Although it can be fairly expensive to socialise in MK, you have such a choice in what to do and where to go it can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. The same as housing though, you can purchase a lovely little house in MK for next to nothing or you can have a custom built house on one of the new estates or buy one of the new apartments in Campbell Park for anything up to about £200,000 or even more should you choose. On the whole, the city is safe and clean, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t have bad parts too, but tell me somewhere that doesn’t (and Disneyland doesn’t count). I think MK is a clean city that is growing at such a rate it’s hard to keep up with all the new places to go to and visit. Although Mr Fishbulb and myself haven’t been blessed with the pitter-patter of tiny feet yet (give us a chance, we’re only just coming up to our first anniversary got lots more practicing to do first) we are both happy to bring up a family here in MK. After all, we’re
situated smack bang in the middle of the country, a train journey into London takes around an hour and £10 and even less time to get to Birmingham. We have all the luxuries of living in a large city, yet 5 minutes away from some of the most beautiful countryside – what more could you ask for? I could have rambled for another half a dozen pages in this op telling you about ‘ActivityWorld’ and go carting, but where would I stop? There are literally thousands of things to do here, live music, brilliant comedy nights, nightclubs and beautiful places to visit. Come to MK and see for yourself what a wonderful place it is – I’m proud to say that I live here – I truly am. And if you do come to MK, then look me up! Fishbulb. >><>?™ ++MK fact for those of you fact freaks out there++ Noel Edmonds of ‘Noels House Party’ fame publicly killed one of us Milton Keynes bods by staging a bungee jump that went horribly wrong!! So if your name is Noel Edmonds I’d probably not bother coming back here! LOL (Unless of course if you are a different Noel Edmonds and you will be made very welcome!
Milton Keynes? Thirty years ago if you had said that people would think what the f**k are you on about? Fifty years ago the place didn't even exist, now it's known nationwide as a damn good city with a damn lot to do. There's just so much to do, if you go to Milton Keynes with a hundred quid then at the end of it you could have spent that many times over. It's one of those places which will excite you for a week, and within a month you'll be bored as s**t. The main place to go if you want to spend time (and money) in MK is the shopping centre area.
The first word that springs to mind when considering Milton Keynes is CONCRETE. The roads are concrete, the walkways are concrete, the bridges are concrete, even the cows are concrete. Not surprising you might think, as a major building material, but just looking around you when you are in the town it is amazing of how much of the stuff there actually is around you. The town is advancing at an alarming rate - villages on the outskirts are being swallowed up very quickly. Many inhabitants of nearby villages are reluctant to cite Milton Keynes as a reference point when describing where they live, mainly due to the outsider's stereotypical view of the place. Despite numerous attempts to press for recognition as a city (especially since the construction of a rather beautiful multi-denominational cathedral), all have so far failed, and Milton Keynes retains the title of 'New Town'. The concrete cows are supposedly the main tourist attraction. Originally built in order to encourage people to settle in the first of the 'New towns' - the idea was that travellers on the passing railway would see the statues in the fields at a far away distance enough to be fooled into believing them to be real, and hence forever associate the place as a rural and therefore happy place to be. Now of course, the whole area has been developed, the statues are no longer visible from the railway due to the multi storey office blocks, and now they are to be found looking rather out of place in a small square of grass amongst all that concrete. One the Town's main disadvantages is that due to the way that it has developed, many of the amenities are located too far apart to reach on foot. The coach and railway stations are on the edge of the town, and both fairly run down. However external transport links are good, with trains running the roughly hour long journey to London almost every fifteen minutes during the day. Within the town, its America
n style of 'blocks' design ensure it is relatively easy to find your way around without getting too lost. In the last couple of years, much has been done to improve Milton Keynes' facilities. The new shopping area, Midsummer place is a triumph, as is the Ski Dome; 'Xscape' which contains cafes, sports shops and a multiplex cinema. The highlight of the new developments is the Theatre district complex with a large theatre, art gallery and several different restaurants including Chinese, Italian and Mediterranean. Although a greater number of bars might be beneficial, the complex provides a pleasant and safe environment for visitors to spend an evening in. This is particularly useful as many of the town's other bars are isolated. Another interesting point about the town is that despite its lack of a university, it is the home of the original OU.
Annoying things about living in Milton Keynes - 1) All the "jokes" about it on TV etc. Basically most jokes are made by people who have never been here (other than perhaps getting lost in the road system). 2) Every time you mention you live in Milton Keynes to someone who doesn't live here you have a better than odds chance they will say "Oh where they have concrete cows - Ha Ha". Hey - it's called ART. We have a lot of it in Milton Keynes. And for those of you living elsewhere in a different city we have something else you probably haven't - Green stuff (i.e. trees, grass, plants) - on a grand scale. (Milton Keynes is known as the City of trees). 3) Not having the "I got stuck in traffic" excuse for being late to work. Damn, grid system - just works too well. 4) Having to explain to visitors that H- and V- roads stand for Horizontal and Vertical roads (look at der map). Incidentally they have names too.... 5) Having people say - Ooh there's lots of roundabouts. Yes - with a grid system it was that or traffic lights. 6) People who say "it has no character or community". Hint - open door, go out, talk to neighbours. 7) The ongoing battle to be recognised as a city. I mean - some of the other places that got picked over Milton Keynes!!! 8) The Soil (sorry sheet clay) in the gardens. If Mr Titchmarsh says his soil is heavy one more time I'll show him what heavy soil is. 9) Skint Council. Having squandered all their funds, putting up council tax again and again (and trying to get the public to choose this themselves - "Would you like lots of tax, even more tax, or more than that tax?" by referrendum, and now extending pay and display. 10) Drivers who don't indicate at roundabouts. <
br> As you might guess - in a city with "just a few" roundabouts this is a major obstacle. 11) Having to replace your left hand tyres more often than the right (from all the roundabouts). Honest! Overall however it's a great place to live and work. To those who rubbish Milton Keynes, or don't fancy the idea of it - come and have a look for yourself - you might be surprised.