Over a third of this beautiful county is covered by the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty and the Metropolitan Greenbelt. Nevertheless, because routes between Birmingham and London pass through Buckinghamshire, it is well-connected by rail to major towns within the county and to London Marylebone. The Metropolitan Line of the Underground also runs to Chalfont & Latimer, Amersham, and Chesham. There are also excellent road connections, served by bus to minimise car traffic. It has a rich history, many notable attractions, and was rated the fifth best place to live in the UK by Halifax’s 2014 Quality of Life survey. There are good schools, shopping, and leisure offerings, and a wide range of property types from 17th century cottages to modern detached houses.
Milton Keynes – or MK, as it is known locally – is a utopian New Town in Buckinghamshire that was built to contain London overspill. Though it is often referred to as a city, and signs will point you to the ‘city centre,’ it is in fact a town – and one that feels like a giant suburb. This is just one of the many quirks of Milton Keynes.
The centre of Milton Keynes can be derided as characterless, or praised for its convenience. A gargantuan shopping centre is filled with an array of major chains that can meet most of residents’ needs.
MK is generally known for its concrete cows and roundabouts – and it certainly has roundabouts in spades. However, it is a surprisingly green place, at least to those visitors who envisioned a grey grid over years of hearing MK used as the punchline to a joke. Shrubs and trees line the pathways for cyclists, pedestrians, and horses, shielding them from even seeing cars in many cases, and where there are fences or concrete walls, ivy tumbles over them. These Redways can be slightly disorientating, because it’s often hard to see where in the town you are from these low pathways. But there are many parks and waterways, too, for true nature walking.
Transport links in Milton Keynes are fairly good, with buses serving the various parts of town, and trains from Milton Keynes Central to the rest of the country – including direct trains to London Euston that can take as little as 35 minutes. There is plenty of parking around, and the ubiquitous roundabouts mitigate traffic.
Eight out of every ten MK residents are satisfied with their life, according to council research.