If you’d asked me five years ago to make a list of the places I’d like to live it probably would have gone a bit like this: London, Brighton, Liverpool (I love Liverpool. Brilliant city). Short and to the point. Milton Keynes wouldn’t have been on that list, in fact when I was a teenager I remember categorically telling my mum I thought it was weird that people wanted to live here. I always saw it as an odd town, it had no discernible centre, no history. Why would someone want to live in a place like that? Fast-forward ten years and here I am. Not only am I actually living in Milton Keynes (though if you’re feeling posh you’re allowed to tell people you live in ‘North Bucks, darling’) but I’m a fully paid-up member of the MK Fan Club. Not that one exists. But I’d definitely be on the committee if it did. Let me explain. Milton Keynes is a big town made up of lots of new estates, old villages and smaller towns (Wolverton, Bletchley, Stony Stratford). 34 square miles to be exact. It was designated a ‘new town’ in 1967 and we are 45 miles north-west of London. The city centre consists of a shopping mall, entertainment district, complex with indoor ski slope/skydiving and theatre. It takes 30 minutes to get into London on the fast train which is comparable to places like St Albans and Chesham – but way cheaper! Our lovely little house is on one of the newer estates near the M1, a really quick 5 minute drive from the train station which is useful for travelling into London. We have an absolutely massive park a 10 minute walk down the road which is where we spent a blustery Saturday morning a couple of weekends ago watching my mum run her first ever 5k race. What you can see up there is an aerial wakeboarding set-up on the lake though you’ve got to be pretty mental to be doing that in March (nuff people are mental round here and they always look FREEZING). See? It’s lovely and green round here. Miles and miles of gorgeous Teletubby land-esque parkland to march the kids round. It’s all really pram and bike friendly; MK has 272kms of ‘redways’ which are designated walking/cycling paths so you don’t have to ride your bike on the busy roads (and all those bloody roundabouts). The shopping centre here is ace. You’ve got all the high street clothes shops you need (though I mostly spend all my time and money in Gap cos I’m getting OLD) and you can visit all the shops while staying undercover. Perfect for the winter; who has time to be taking their heavy cold weather coats on and off each time they step into a shop? Naaahh. One thing I love about the area that I live in is its approximation to the places I spend most time. Our house is five minutes from the city centre, three from our health club and five from Waitrose. Plus we’re a short stroll from loads of parks, one of which has a pirate shop which is insanely awesome. Unless you get sea sick, like me. Speaking of the health club, I bloody love that place. Indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steamroom, jacuzzi, gym, tennis courts, softplay, BAR. I’ve been 4 times already this week: I definitely get my money’s worth. And it’s 0.4 miles away :D Hux is handsomely modelling Muddy Puddles’ Peak Ski jacket in all these photos which was kindly sent for us to try out. We have the Salopettes too, and though we haven’t had any snow this year they’ve been invaluable to us on our walks in the biting wind. Their products are such great value compared to some others on the market: we’re converts! Check out their blog for some great family fun ideas. One thing MK is lacking is more of a food scene. We’re crying out for some decent eateries round this way: most restaurants here are mediocre chains (HI Cafe Rouge, Zizzi etc). We have recently been gifted with a Byron (HOORAH) and Carluccios’ lunch menu is always quite solid but it is a massive pain having to trek into London each time you want a proper feed. One of the most important factors in my enjoyment of life here I guess are the friends we’ve made. Elfie’s pre-school (and first school-to-be) is absolutely lovely and through that (and Twitter!) I’ve stumbled upon local friendships that I’m sure are for life. Five years ago I might not have thought twice about living in Milton Keynes but I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else five years from now. Want to join my fan club?
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Viva la Bucks! All the cool people hang out there
Yes! MK gets a lot of stick, but I love it. It has more history than most people think and is so green! No other city I know of looks so pretty just driving around the centre in the autumn, when all the leaves are turning bright shades of red, orange and yellow. Beautiful! Never thought I would, but we actually want to move out of Olney and in to MK!
My in-laws are desperate for us to move to the M.K. If it wasn’t for me being terrified of leaving my job and the palaver of finding a new one, I’d seriously consider it. You do sell it very well ;) xx
You’ve cast MK in a whole new light for me! We’re not ready to leave our little patch of South-east London, but you do make it sound cool to live outside the capital.
High fiiive! Technically we aren’t in MK but I love it where we are and can’t see us ever wanting to leave the area. We quite like eating out in Woburn and Nonna’s in Woburn Sands is nice for a bit of brunch or Aubergine on WS High Street. They make really lovely sandwiches!
For years I wondered why anyone would want to live in MK, now I’m here I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I am from the place that no one talks about, just down the road – Northampton. MK for us growing up was the coolest place ever because it had actual shops that you actually wanted to go to. I’m not sure I’d move to MK myself having lived nearby but hearing you talk about how close everything is makes me want to move there! Congratulations on getting a Byron too, I was so happy when they put one in cambridge :)
I grew up in Milton Keynes, Simpson to be exact! I couldn’t wait to leave hated it as a teenager. Now when I go back to see my parents I always think it seems like a nice place to have kids and I can see why my parents moved there!
It’s funny how places you never expected you’d like can actually be a whole lot better than you initially thought. We used to live in Kingston but recently moved up to Aberdeen (somewhere I never really wanted to live as it’s so far away) but now that we’ve settled in and made some friends it’s starting to grow on me :) I think having a family pushes you to be more active and social so it gets you out more x
There was a time when I would’ve laughed in the face of anyone who suggested I’d end up outside London. Now I’m in Bucks too (albeit a little village that I’m not so keen on – a bit too small) and I love the lifestyle change. Everything changes when you have kids, plus the fact I’d have to be a millionaire to have the lifestyle I want in London!!