Milton Keynes is celebrating its 50th birthday today so I thought I’d share some of the reasons why this New City is a place I love!
I have lived here for most of my life (bar 2/3 years somewhere in the middle where I lived just outside) and even though it’s been the butt of people’s jokes, I still firmly believe it’s an awesome place to live. Here’s why:
- Milton Keynes was built a New City, with the environment, industry and lifestyle in mind. It has excellent links to London (be there on the train in less than an hour), redways (paths that run alongside or under the main roads, tarmacked in red) that allow you to travel through the town on bike or by foot almost completely without having to brave dangerous dual carriageways.
- The buses have always and probably still are unashamedly always late. You might as well burn the timetables, and more often than not if your bus stop actually has one of those new fangled digital displays tracking the buses on it, your bus will get 5 minutes away and then disappear – see MK is magical! I don’t use the buses anymore, so I see this as charming……
- Despite it often being a punchline (the bit in Love Actually, where someone is learning English and they say “Milton Keynes has many roundabouts”, for one) it’s also famous for a few very cool things. It’s home to Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine which cracked the code and won the war in the 40s. Part of Superman 4 was filmed here, outside our train station, which was thought to look futuristic at the time. It still looks the same now, so make up your own mind next time you’re here! Cliff Richard filmed his ‘Wired for Sound’ music video here, roller skating through our shopping centre.
- And on the subject of our shopping centre, the old bit (because we call tend to refer to the two sections of mall by saying ‘the old bit’ and ‘new bit’, even though the new bit is really old now….) was Europe’s largest shopping mall when it opened. I worked in the shopping centre on and off for the majority of my working life, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s not the fanciest but I like it 🙂
- We also had the UK’s first multiplex cinema in The Point, which was a huge pyramid-shaped building with red neon lights outlining it. It was an exciting thing to see as a child, in its prime. Go give it a google! The smell of the popcorn as you walked in, and the sound of the kids playing the arcade was incredibly exciting, and something I’ll never forget.
- I love how you can drive a few miles and be out of the cityscape and in the countryside. We have loads of old villages, pubs, markets, forests and trail walks. There are farms and fields, but also on the flip side of that we have high-rise apartment buildings, bustling businesses, a theatre, ski dome – pretty much everything you’d want. Oh and about 5 Nandos within the space of 5 miles…
- Even though we’re mocked for our roundabouts, I honestly believe MK was set out really well. It’s one way grid-system roads were based on the layout of New York City!
- This also makes it really awesome for running – Milton Keynes has become a mecca for runners and cyclists with events all throughout the year. The paths and roads are relatively flat and it’s easy to run for miles without having to worry about cars.
- The Bowl, Milton Keynes’ open air concert venue, has been home to artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Queen, Bon Jovi, REM, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Radiohead to name a very few. Over the years there has been talk of its purpose changing but thankfully it hasn’t happened yet. I love seeing live music events there!
I have loads of great memories of Milton Keynes and I hope to have many more! Children’s Day at The Bowl was always great fun. I remember having a red balloon with a tag tied to it which had an address and my name on. The idea was that if someone somewhere far away found your balloon they’d contact the address and the organisers could see how far it flew. All the balloons were put together and released in one big magical swathe of red! I think I’ll always remember that!
Milton Keynes continues to grow and develop. It’s always been that way, and I’m often surprised at where they find the space to build what they build, but it’s never too much. With all the greenery mixing in with the industrial landscape, it’s the best of both worlds. And I really don’t think I’ll be moving away any time soon.
Happy Birthday Milton Keynes, and here’s to many more!