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.
Milton Keynes’s neighbourhoods can feel self-contained, hemmed in by major roads and hedges. However, some residents say that because people tend to go from their home to their car to their work, you may not have that community feel that you get from talking to one another in the street. On the other hand, MK residents are passionate about the town, and will extol the virtues of Milton Keynes to those outsiders who have made it a punchline.
Milton Keynes is a safe place to live, with a total crime rating of 1.9 per 1,000 residents compared to a national rate of 2.5 – or 25% better than average. However, the more common crimes in the period from March 2016 to February 2017 included violent crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as criminal damage and arson and various kinds of theft.
Milton Keynes is a paradise for drivers, with its wide dual carriageways, roundabouts to mitigate traffic, and endless car parks. In fact, there are over 20,000 parking spaces in central MK. It also is easy to navigate, being laid out on a grid to emulate American cities.
Milton Keynes is somewhat lacking in nightlife. It has some chain restaurants and pubs, but little of the independent variety. There is also the Stables music venue, a theatre, and a cinema. This is not, however, a place with much of a bar and club scene.
Milton Keyes is a good place to look for a family home, with a wide range of modern and relatively affordable family houses available. Surrounding towns and villages have period homes, if you’re so inclined, but MK itself is a postmodern town – all concrete and grids – and much of the property around the new town dates to the 1960s or later. There are many large, detached homes with gardens available, and property here is generally affordable.
MK is incredibly green, despite being famous for its concrete cows and roundabouts. Paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders are tree-lined, and roads obscured from view by hedges. There are over 5,000 acres of green and open spaces in MK, taking up a quarter of the town’s space, which are managed by a charity. Milton Keynes also has several lakes and many miles of canals.
State schools in this area vary by district, with some ‘outstanding’ primary schools to be found, and a couple of comprehensive schools that get good results. However, many children commute by bus to grammar schools in Buckingham or Bedford, or Buckinghamshire private schools. Milton Keynes is home to the Open University.
The 0-15 age group has a bigger population percentage in Milton Keynes than England overall.
Property in Milton Keynes includes a wide variety of houses that would be suitable for pets, including many large detached homes with gardens. MK is incredibly green, despite being famous for its concrete cows and roundabouts. Paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders are tree-lined, and roads obscured from view by hedges. There are over 5,000 acres of green and open spaces in MK, taking up a quarter of the town’s space, which are managed by a charity. Milton Keynes also has several lakes and many miles of canals.
Milton Keynes is well-connected by rail to London and other parts of the UK, with trains from Milton Keynes Central to Euston taking an average of 35 minutes, and many direct trains. There are also trains from Fenny Stratford, Bletchley, and Wolverton stations.
Traveling around MK itself is easy for car owners – the grid system is easy to navigate, and there are roundabouts to mitigate traffic. There are also segregated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, many very green and pleasant in the daytime. There are local buses, too – however, residents complain that the bus services are inadequate, and that this can be a difficult place to live if you do not own a car.