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        Milton Keynes Area Guide

        Milton Keynes is a large town in northern Buckinghamshire. It is roughly 45 miles north-west of London, and situated about halfway between London, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge.

        Milton Keynes was formally designated as a new town on 23 January 1967, and incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between.

        The town took its name from the existing small village; Milton Keynes Village now renamed Middleton, enclosed within the boundaries of the new town, a few miles east of the planned city centre. The name Milton derives from the old English middel + tun meaning ‘middle farm’. The affix of Keynes is believed to derive from the family of Cahaignes, or, Cayenes who had connections with the village in the 13th century. Over time, Milton Cahaignes became Milton Keynes.

        Today, the total administrative area of Milton Keynes is a massive 119 square miles. However, the original new town area is just 34 square miles, or the land equivalent of 22,000 football pitches.

        The roads in Milton Keynes are laid out on a grid system of horizontal (H) and vertical (V) roads. Each road has a sign informing drivers of the V or H number and the ‘real name’ of the road. They all have regular names but are often referred to simply by their H and V numbers. For example: “go up the V10, turn right onto the H6, then go straight on”. This route would actually take you from The Open University to Milton Keynes Coachway.

        If you’re new to MK and need to get around by car, the simplest thing to do is to work out in advance which sections of the grid roads you need to follow and stick to this as a way to get around. The H and V system is probably your best means of navigation and the grid system makes it possible to zip across the city at most times of the day or night. Pedestrians and cyclists are encouraged to use the red routes.

        Local Attractions

        Campbell Park

        At the very heart of the city of Milton Keynes, Campbell Park is well known as the site of the city’s big annual festivals – the City Spectacular and Fireworks Display. But year round its mix of formal gardens, woodland, open countryside and special features make it a fascinating place to visit. Named in honour of the first chairman of Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Lord Campbell of Eskan.

        The National Bowl

        A massive outdoor venue which can hold 65,000 people. 1992 saw the addition of a huge sound stage which enabled it to attract some major stars. The National Bowl has seen the appearance of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Metallica, Bon Jovi and in 2006 Robbie Williams staged five sell out concerts.

        Xscape – A $64 million Idea

        A totally unique centre, combining Europe’s largest indoor ‘real snow’ ski slope, indoor rock climbing wall, 16 screen cinema multiplex, family entertainment centre which includes ten pin bowling, health and fitness centre, bars, restaurants, cafes and lifestyle and fashion retail outlets – under one roof.

        The Point – Paving the way for Multi-screen cinemas across the UK

        In 1985, a leisure centre opened in the new town of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and included a ten-screen ‘multiplex’ cinema that was designed and operated by an American company on exactly the same lines as its highly successful movie theatres in the United States, even to banning film advertising and opening on Christmas Day. Attracting more than one million admissions within the first year, its immediate success paved the way for further multiplexes.

        Midsummer Place

        Architecturally exciting, the £170 million development mixes the old with the new – housing one of Milton Keynes oldest residents – a majestic 150-year-old oak tree which has been carefully preserved and takes pride of place at the heart of the centre. Covering 450,000 square feet – also features a chill-out area for shoppers to take a break in comfort and style. With street side cafés, high fashion boutiques plus a variety of other stores the centre has something for everybody.

        Anchored by a 135,000 sq feet Debenhams department store it makes it an extremely attractive shopping destination. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit or you want to browse the latest chart music, you’ll find it all at Midsummer Place.

        The Concrete Cows

        Milton Keynes’ most famous inhabitants, constructed in 1978 by community artist Liz Leyh with the help of local school children using scrap materials.

        The cows have an interesting history: In 1979 one of the calves was kidnapped by students and a ransom demanded – No one knows if it was paid or not but the calf was never seen again. In 1986 the cows were all repainted as zebras and in 1988 ‘Millie Moo’ was stolen. This time she was recovered.

        Places to Eat, Drink & Stay


        Frankie & Bennys – Xscape, Avebury Boulevard MK9 3NX (01908 694800)
        Marcellos – Midsummer Boulevard, CBX2 Building MK9 2EA (01908 608787)
        Taipan – 5 Savoy Crescent, Theatre District MK9 3PU (01908 331883)
        Chiquitos – Midsummer Boulevard, Central MK MK91EA (01908 670456)


        Bistro Live – Avebury Boulevard, Central MK MK9 3BD (01908 231313)
        Metro’s Champagne Bar – Midsummer Boulevard, Central MK MK93QA (01908 231323)
        First Base Sports Bar – Xscape, Central MK MK9 3XS (01908 295200)
        All Bar One – Midsummer Boulevard, Central MK MK9 2AE (01908 397216)


        Jury’s Inn – Midsummer Boulevard , Central MK MK9 2HP ( 0800 011 1193)
        Holiday Inn – 500 Saxon Gate West, Central MK MK9 2HQ (0870 400 9057)
        Premiere Inn – Secklow Gate East, Central Milton Keynes MK9 3BZ (08701 977 184)

        Interesting Facts

        • Milton Keynes, designated as a new town on 23 January 1967, is the largest new town in Southern England.
        • Milton Keynes has a relatively young population profile with 46 per cent under 30 compared to a national average of 38 per cent.
        • 50 per cent of local commuters travel less than 3 miles to work. 82% of people in Milton Keynes said they love working here.
        • 30 million people shop at the centre:mk each year.
        • The Shopping Centre has become one of Europe’s largest with the opening of the new £180 million Midsummer Place extension in September 2000
        • A £30 million theatre and gallery opened in October 1999. Built with £20.1 million of National Lottery funding, the theatre can seat 1,400.
        • Milton Keynes is home to the UK’s National Hockey Stadium. In August 2000, a £57 million sports and leisure complex, Xscape, opened containing one of Europe’s longest indoor real snow ski slopes, a multiplex cinema, bowling alley and shops.
        • The population of Milton Keynes is approximately 350,000.
        • The train station and its plaza was used in the movie Superman IV as a substitute for the United Nations building. Other scenes were shot in the Central Milton Keynes area.

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