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Milton Keynes

Living in Milton Keynes

Dynamic, eclectic and surprising would be three words to describe the new city of Milton Keynes. MK as it is affectionately known by both residents and non-residents has grown since its founding in 1963, into a vibrant and cosmopolitan town with a huge amount to do, see and be involved in. From the historic streets of Stony Stratford, wartime heritage of Bletchley Park, to the clean lines of the city centre and the green spaces of the specially designated parks, the environment of Milton Keynes reflects its exciting variety and vitality.

As the fastest growing town in the UK, with a 2011 population figure of 249,000, Milton Keynes' offerings are rapidly changing and expanding. There is never a time when there isn't a new shop or restaurant to experience and development in Central Milton Keynes has resisted the recent economic turmoil and continues to move forward. Employment opportunities in the city have also resisted the economic slowdown, as recognised by the "Centre for Cities1" think tank who labelled Milton Keynes as one of the five cities to watch during the recovery. This is supported by the relocations of large companies into Milton Keynes, such as Network Rail, Dominos Pizza Europe, Santander UK and Red Bull Racing.

Shopping

Of course Milton Keynes is known for its outstanding shopping and speaks for itself. Central Milton Keynes is the focus of retail in the new town, with the huge centre:mk dominating, with more than 250 shops and countless restaurants (including favourites Yo! Sushi, Nandos and Jamie's Italian). Parking is cheap, accessible and plentiful to ensure a long day out; making sure your wallet is thoroughly worn. Midsummer Place, adjoining the centre:mk offers high end fashion retailing including Karen Millen, Superdry and Hugo Boss. Xscape, the famous complex hosting a multiplex cinema as well Europe's largest indoor ski slope, offers shopping geared toward extreme sports such as Quicksilver, Billabong, North Face and Animal.

If you've exhausted the huge amount to offer in Central Milton Keynes, then venturing out to the old towns which make up MK gives you a different type of shopping. The high streets of Newport Pagnell and Stony Stratford offer a quintessentially English market town shopping experience with a host of eclectic, independent boutiques and restaurants. Kingston, Westcroft, Bletchley and other various local shopping centres allow easy access and convenience for a quick bite or to grab and go.

Sports

For sports fans, Milton Keynes couldn't offer better facilities or opportunities to get involved in sport. From professional clubs and teams at the National Badminton Centre or stadium:mk to local teams for local people such as at Stony Stratford Town football club. Fans with an appetite for the extreme end of the sporting spectrum will be pleased to know that Milton Keynes hosts some of the best places to indulge.. The lakes of Caldecotte and Willen are great for water skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and canoeing. Xscape, as well as being a leisure and retail complex, also hosts Europe's largest, real indoor ski slope. Ice Hockey is also a major sporting presence in city, with Milton Keynes Lightning as one of the UK's most active ice hockey teams. In addition, equestrian activities are supported throughout the city by off-road bridleways, allowing peaceful and safe horse riding through the parklands within Milton Keynes. A large equestrian centre is also in the city giving horse riding lessons, equestrian services and support.

Leisure and Recreation

There is a huge offering of leisure and recreational opportunities in Milton Keynes, other than shopping of course. The lakes at Willen and Caldecotte offer more than just extreme sports, pleasant lakeside walk and cycle ways provide the chance to take in some fresh air and get some exercise, but without leaving the city. Lakeside pubs and restaurants also dot the sides of the lakes, which also host fairs and events in the summer time right on the waters edge.

In Central Milton Keynes a brand new development, The Hub, hosts up-market restaurants, bars and hotels, ensuring a classy dinner or night out. Fortnightly markets are also hosted within the square at The Hub, adding a continental air to the area. The Theatre District hosts, as it name suggests, the UK's most popular Theatre outside London as well as a wide choice of clubs, bars and restaurants.

If you're looking for some high end culture, then Milton Keynes offers the best in up and coming art, performance art and music at The Stables, Milton Keynes Gallery and the bi-annual International Festival Fringe : Milton Keynes.

Kids

For kids Milton Keynes couldn't offer a wider range of fun filled pursuits, activities or places to visit. Gulliver's Land, one of three theme parks nationwide aimed towards children, ensures a that an entire day of excitement is had by all with its multitude of rides, shows and play areas for kids of all age ranges. Another fun park, Wicksteed Park, is only a 40 minute drive away which comprises of a more traditional day out with all the family.

Kids who love animals are spoilt for choice as well, with Woburn Safari Park just on the edge of town and ZSL Whipsnade a half hour drive away.

When the weather is a bit less appealing, which it often is, then Play 360 can provide indoor fun with huge play areas suited for kids of all ages. And when the weather is occasionally better, then the outside spaces within Milton Keynes, such as around Willen & Caldecotte Lake, can offer outdoor fun with funfairs and water sports held all year long, rain or shine!

Attractions and neighbouring places to see

Bletchley Park is arguably Milton Keynes most prized heritage site. Home to Churchill's code breaking centre and the Enigma machine, Bletchley Park is claimed to have shaved years off the length of the war. Only minutes walk from Bletchley Train Station visitors can learn about the efforts of those who worked to break German transmission codes, including mathematics genius Alan Turing as well as wondering around the beautiful gardens, which echo the aristocratic past of the Park.

Milton Keynes is positioned perfectly between the Midlands, East Anglia and the South East, allowing you easy to access to some of the UK's most famous and visited attractions. Silverstone Race Circuit, home of the British Grand Prix, is a 20 minute drive, offering easy access to the high adrenalin experience of F1. Romantic country houses and palaces are numerous around Milton Keynes, including Blenheim Palace, Woburn Abbey, Waddesdon Manor and Claydon House.

Good transport links bring the county towns of Buckingham, Bedford and Northampton within easy reach, offering a more traditional town experience and a bit of a change to the hubbub of Milton Keynes. But for those with a taste for the big city, London is only 25mins way and Britain's 2nd city, Birmingham, is only 45mins away. The University towns of Cambridge and Oxford are also within easy reach, with good road links and an excellent bus service, the X5, which runs every 15 minutes between the cities via Milton Keynes, Bicester & Bedford.