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Milton Keynes - what are the must areas to see?

(71 Posts)
Rollinghills30 Sun 20-Nov-16 20:47:06

Thanks to the wonderful responses to my previous post, we have decided to look at Milton Keynes - with a view to moving there in the nearish future. It seems to tick most of our boxes -

Good commute
Access to walking countryside (ideally within 10-15 minute drive of house)
Schools and clubs

We would like to visit for the weekend soon so any suggestions as to where to stay overnight would be most appreciated. We stayed in a Premier Inn there once and it was the worst we had been too - really old and run down (which surprised us, given his 'new' most of MK is!) It was a few years ago so perhaps it has been updated?

We didn't look around MK, other than to go to the John Lewis so please could I ask for 'must see' places to add to my list. They don't have to be scenic - but places that will give us a well rounded view of every day life in MK. Things like nice housing estates, surrounding villages, supermarket, swimming pool, primary/secondary schools, hospital, things for children etc I know I won't have time for everything but some starting points would be great. Not decided on central or outskirts as it would depend on commute time so would look at both.

If anyone can suggest a place in the countryside outside of MK for a round walk then I'd be really grateful as getting out for walks is really important to us as a family. Stiles and cows, rather than man made parks/lakes (although this is also good for everyday life of course!)

Thank you!

Rollinghills30 Mon 21-Nov-16 12:22:34

Hopefully bumping grin My other question is - are there any hills around Milton Keynes - it looks really flat! Thank you!

Moraelin Mon 21-Nov-16 16:12:29

Dunstable downs are hilly, it's not far from MK. Also there's Ivinghoe Beacon, about 40 mins away I think. MK itself is pretty flat!

MsRinky Mon 21-Nov-16 16:59:01

Loads of walks on and

I think the main public pools are in Bletchley, Stantonbury and Wolverton. There is a Waitrose at Oakgrove and multiple branches of Sainsbury/Tesco/Asda/Morrisons/Aldi - I've no idea how it supports so many supermarkets. Not a clue about schools or hotels I'm afraid.

Estates - the vast majority are mixed so will have everything from huge 6 bedroom executive homes to tiny flats. They mostly have a local centre - so a parade of shops hairdressers, takeaways etc and maybe a pub. Where you will want to be will depend on schools and where you're commuting to. The prices will give you a very clear indication of the desirability or otherwise of the area.

Loughton is the classic estate for rail commuters from MK, but I prefer Bradwell Common. The newer estates are considerably more high density than the older ones.

The thing about MK is that as long as you drive, on the grid roads you can go anywhere within the town limits in 15 minutes at the absolute outside. I was in Cambridge at the weekend and it took about 40 minutes to drive a couple of miles.

Fourbyfour Mon 21-Nov-16 23:35:05

There really is not much in MK that's not development built on a grid system of roads. Depends on where you need to commute to but if that's the area you want there is always Bicester not too far down the road? Great links to London, Birmingham etc.

Fourbyfour Mon 21-Nov-16 23:36:06

Also, mk is much more man made parks than stiles and Cows!

SpaceDinosaur Mon 21-Nov-16 23:39:57

The roundabouts! You simply must count how many roundabouts you come across on 30 minutes!!!

The exit. (Sorry, I don't like MK)

FizzBombBathTime Mon 21-Nov-16 23:42:36

To the pp that said about Dunstable downs... I live in Dunstable; it's 20 minutes (at least) away from Milton Keynes confused

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 21-Nov-16 23:42:43

Willen Lake.


Other than that it's shit. Sorry.

Imissmy0ldusername Tue 22-Nov-16 00:03:18

I lived there for a couple of years and got lost coming back from the big Sainsbos more times than I will ever admit. It had its plus points, but you really have to drive to all of them. Walking is really difficult because you have to use the underpass system and believe the signposts which regularly got kicked into the wrong direction. I loved the little villages which were desperate to keep their identity, but the rest of the city was grim, boring, and impossible to navigate.

Imissmy0ldusername Tue 22-Nov-16 00:07:03

With regards to stopping over in MK, there's a good bunch of hotels in the city centre, I believe there's a Jury's Inn, which would be nice to stay in, but it will be busy on week days.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 22-Nov-16 00:25:53

Yeah the Jury's Inn is ok. Close to the station.

It has "swimming pool floor" in the bathrooms though. Sparkly kind so not the nicest. I think there's a Holiday Inn nearby?? I've stayed in the Radisson too. That was the nicest of the lot.

Rollinghills30 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:45:20

Thanks for all your replies, both positive and negative. Thank you MsRinky for the links and detailed info. I guess I'll just have to see how we feel when we visit. I live in a little village in Hampshire now and, whilst it is full of character, the people are incredibly insular, the facilities are dreadful and, despite being in 'the countryside', so much land is privately owned that its hard to find decent round walks. I would definitely consider living outside of Milton Keynes to be near countryside but have convenience of shops etc

Like the look of Olney, Castlethorpe and Hanslope too so will look at those.

Will look at Jury Inn, thanks - I see there are three Premier Inns but of course I can't recall which one we stayed in now.

Thanks x

namechangedtoday15 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:49:25

What about the villages around Towcester - Pattishall / Astcote / Eastcote / Duncote / Greens Norton? Lots of countryside around.

And Daventry Country Park for a walk?

IvyWall Tue 22-Nov-16 11:32:19

If you like walking up hills and in the woods, take a look at the area round Bow Brickhill and Ashley Heath, which is just outside the MK city boundary.

Rollinghills30 Tue 22-Nov-16 11:58:44

Thanks - I'll take a look at those other areas. Commute time for DH is important though so I'd have to see how long that would take if we lived further out.

Do like rolling hills and open countryside - not necessarily into walking in woods (where we are there are a lot and I find them a bit creepy - prefer to have a view!) But I'll check out those places, thank you so much x

MsRinky Tue 22-Nov-16 13:24:35

Just been out for my lunchtime run in the rain through the linear park adjacent to my office. There were stiles (2) and cows (lots). Plus sheep. I buy beef and lamb from the Parks Trust, so I like to keep an eye on them before I eat them.

MK is definitely a bit of a marmite place. I came here 12 years ago on sufferance, but now really like it. I find it incredibly easy to navigate both on bike/foot and by car, and I love all the trees and expanses of green space. Lots of it is very cookie-cutter in terms of housing, but there are plenty of interesting places, people and projects, they just take a bit of finding.

Rollinghills30 Wed 23-Nov-16 14:46:06

MovingonupMovingonout - is MK really that bad? Thinking about Olney/Castlethorpe etc - would you think it a good place to live if living outside of MK in terms of having facilities there?

FizzBombBathTime Wed 23-Nov-16 14:52:28

Op it's not that bad and it's close to loads of stuff. That comment was just rude when they know you are moving there

Godotsarrived Wed 23-Nov-16 15:00:43

Emberton park, Great Linford Manor park, ouzel valley walk, the linear parks from New Bradwell to Castlethorpe. Mk is not all man made parks, some of the area of mk dates back as far as the doomsday book! The mk parks trust will give you loads of information and a lot of the parkland is grazed on by local farmers.

Check out Aspley Guise, Stony Stratford and Newport.

Its a great town.


ireneadler101 Wed 23-Nov-16 15:26:10

Willen and Middleton are both nice parts of MK.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 23-Nov-16 17:54:26

Well I'm not sure I should answer that without checking with FizzBomb first, lest having an opinion causes her further offence hmm wink

Quite simply it's not my kind of place op. Like others have said it's a bit marmite and I'm not a lover... I'm also not a driver which is fairly necessary in MK.

I agree it is fabulously well connected and you can get into both London and Birmingham quickly (and I really like both!) but it is just a bit soulless imho. I hate the shopping centre because it's just so bland and i don't like the identi-kit homes because I like quirk and character in much vaster quantities.

I've met a few big MK lovers and listening to them enthuse about the grid system leaves me cold. I honestly don't get it.

I do like Willen, Apsley Guise and Woburn. Newport also nice.

We looked at moving to MK but decided against for those reasons above and we were priced out of some of the areas we did like nearby. You don't have to live there to get the benefit of the facilities and I think that's worth bearing in mind. There used to be an indoor ski slope but not sure if there still is! Theatre's good smile

CoperCabana Wed 23-Nov-16 18:19:18

Willen, Aspley Guise, Woburn and Newport are all in MK and lovely. As is Stony Stratford. Nice little high street, loads of character.

If you like hills, then look at the Brickhills on the outskirts. But expensive!

Older parts, but more central, include Middleton, Woolstone, Woughton, Loughton all with livestock, farmland, character etc.

The estates on the west side back onto the countryside - can't remember them all but they are literally beside the North Bucks Way.

People who think MK is all about grid roads and a shopping centre aren't really opening their eyes.

Rollinghills30 Wed 23-Nov-16 18:46:49

Thanks for further replies. I appreciate the honesty - whether it's positive or less so! I can understand why it's a marmite place. I am looking forward to looking around and seeing the different areas anyway. I like the look of Olney but know DH would rather be able to cycle to station so we will see. All I do know is the prices are so much better than where we are now and the commute for DH would be much shorter. Really appreciate all the info x

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 23-Nov-16 18:52:59

Try Leighton Buzzard. Ten minutes down the road from Milton Keynes but much nicer imo - it's a proper market town with its own waitrose and on the direct line to London. Nearby Rushmere country park is lovely, or take a stroll down the Grand Union Canal. LB is also closer to Dunstable downs.

The schools are generally better than MK too.

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