Milton Keynes is a vibrant and fascinating town in Buckinghamshire, England, just over a 1-hour drive northwest of London. The town was formally established in 1967 as a new town and was designed to be a ‘new city to help with the overpopulation problem in London at the time.
Urban planning was a little on the unconventional side, and the layout was considered more experimental than anywhere else at this period.
Full of grid-like parallel streets, fresh-faced buildings and a crazy amount of roundabouts, Milton Keynes is brimming with clever and practical uses of green space, a towering central business district, and an abundance of modern, functional buildings in a structured layout.
The site for Milton Keynes was chosen because it was central to several older towns and villages that were being merged. With this comes the contrasting architecture from neighbouring towns such as the charming Stony Staford and the quaint Bletchley, famous for its Government Code & Cipher School and its role in defeating Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers.
Today, Milton Keynes is known for its many parks and open spaces, as well as its modern architecture and huge shopping centre in the heart of town. There are endless things to do in Milton Keynes, and no end to the fun and quirky places to see, making it a perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway for couples, friends and families.
So, let’s get into the best things to do in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire…
Best Things To Do In Milton Keynes, UK
1. Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park was once the top-secret home of the world’s greatest codebreakers and the famous setting for the award-winning ‘The Immitation Game’. During World War II, this was the exact site where there was a huge effort to crack Nazi Germany’s “Enigma” code. And they did!
There are no words coming to mind to deny how important this 19th-century estate was during the second world war. The significance of the Allies’ achievements here was only recognized in the decades after the war, and it is thought that their efforts shortened the fighting by up to four years.
Today, Bletchley Park is a museum and education centre, dedicated to preserving the site’s history and sharing its stories with the world. Visitors can explore the restored buildings and see firsthand some of the incredible machines used by the codebreakers.
You can also learn about the fascinating people who worked at Bletchley Park, including Alan Turing, the genius mathematician whose work helped to turn the tide of the war.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for an exciting day out, Bletchley Park is well worth a visit and definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Milton Keynes.
How To Get Here: The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Dr, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB
2. National Museum Of Computing
The National Museum of Computing is located on the site of Bletchley Park and is dedicated to preserving the history of British computing.
This place is a little slice of computer heritage, housing the very computers that helped crack the nazi code and defeat the Axis Regime in 1944.
The museum houses a collection of over 100 working computers, from early mechanical calculators to the first mass-produced computer, the Colossus Mark II.
Visitors can see these incredible machines in action and learn about their impact on the world. The museum also offers a range of interactive exhibits, workshops, and talks.
Whether you’re a computer geek or just interested in learning more about this important part of history, the National Museum of Computing is a great place to visit.
How To Get Here: Block H, Bletchley Park, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB
3. Caldecotte Lake
If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Milton Keynes, then kick back and spend a relaxing day at Caldecotte Lake with its idyllic windmill. Located just to the south of town, is a beautiful spot for a peaceful stroll or a picnic lunch.
With its huge, central lake surrounded by trees and grassy areas, it makes for the perfect place to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle and is great for couples and families alike.
It’s a fantastic spot to visit if you’re feeling active, too. There are plenty of walking and cycling trails around the lake. Or, with plenty of options on the water too, including sailing, canoeing, or windsurfing.
The little ones will quickly fall in love with the huge play area at the shores of the lake, as well as the volunteer-ran Caldecotte Miniature Railway which always goes down a treat with families.
And if you’re feeling peckish, pop into the family-friendly pub for some tasty food and a refreshing drink
Caldecotte Lake is one of the best places to see in Milton Keynes. Bring a picnic, spend the day relaxing around the lake and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. It’s an easy day keeping everyone entertained, and one of the most fun things to do in Milton Keynes for families and couples.
How To Get Here: Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes
4. Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Woburn Abbey is a stunning country house set in beautiful gardens, just a short drive from Milton Keynes. It’s home to the Duke and Duchess of Bedford and has been since 1547.
The Abbey itself is a wonderful example of Georgian architecture, and its interior is lavishly decorated with fine art and antiques. You’ll definitely want to take a tour of the Abbey to see the 24 incredible rooms on display and learn all about its fascinating history.
The real highlight of Woburn, however, is its gardens. The 40-acre landscaped gardens are simply breathtaking and home to a huge variety of plants and flowers. There’s also a lovely lake where you can hire a rowing boat and explore the gardens from the water.
The gardens are also home to a herd of red deer, which you can often see grazing in the parkland within the deer park. You’ll be able to find red deer and fallow deer here, along with some
Woburn Abbey is a must-visit for anyone who loves spending time outdoors in beautiful surroundings. It’s one of the best places to visit in Milton Keynes and a great day out for all the family.
How To Get Here: Woburn Abbey, Milton Keynes, MK17 9PG
5. Milton Keynes Museum
Milton Keynes Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of this vibrant town. Located in an old Victorian farmhouse, the museum tells the story of how Milton Keynes has developed from a small market town into a thriving city.
Fascinatingly, this building was once in the middle of nothing but countryside when it was first built in the 1800s, but has since had new urban developments spring up all around it as part of the 20th-century evolution.
The museum houses a range of exhibits on different aspects of the town’s history, including transport, industry, and leisure. You can also see a replica of the first ever concrete cows that were placed in Milton Keynes!
The museum grounds are also home to a working steam railway, which is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family. The little ones will love taking a ride on one of the historic trains, and there’s also a playground and a café on site.
Milton Keynes Museum is the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about the town’s history and culture. It’s one of the best things to do in Milton Keynes and a great day out for all the family.
How To Get Here: McConnell Dr, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5EL
6. Willen Lakeside Park
Another cheap thing to do in Milton Keynes, Willen Lakeside Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of the city. The park is made up of two large lakes fed by the River Ouzel and are surrounded by lush greenery, plenty of walking and cycling trails, and a plethora of activities to get involved in.
The north lake is great for walking around and generally relaxing, with it being a great spot for a bit of birdwatching. The southern lake however is action-packed with adrenaline-fueled activities!
The south lake is home to Wake MK – a dedicated wakeboarding centre that’s perfect for a beginners discovery session or practice sessions for the more seasoned riders.
On the south shore, and for those who aren’t afraid of heights, you’ll also find the Treetop Extreme high ropes to play around on for a couple of hours or so. You will also find a giant water parc obstacle course that is simply brilliant on a warm summer’s day with the kids.
And then there is the splash and play park for the little ones with over 60 water features like the water tunnel and cannons, and a separate splash area for infants.
It’s easy to pass a whole day in Willen Lakeside Park, with so many fun activities for the whole family. Willen Lakeside Park is one of the best things to do in Milton Keynes outdoors so bring a picnic and refreshments for a cheap day out or kick back at one of the pubs and restaurants dotted around the southwest of the park if you fancy a splurge.
How To Get Here: V10 Brickhill St, Milton Keynes MK15 0DS
7. Peace Pagoda
The Peace Pagoda is a beautiful monument located to the northwest of Willen Lake Park. The pagoda was built in 1980 by Buddhist monks from the Nipponzan-Myohoji order as a symbol of peace and international friendship.
It is also the first Buddhist peace pagoda that was built in the western world, which only adds to its grandiose. The pagoda is an impressive sight to behold and well worth the photo opportunity during your visit to Willen Lakeside Park!
How To Get Here: Willen, Milton Keynes MK15 0BA
8. MK Gallery
If you’re looking for something a little more cultural to do in Milton Keynes, then be sure to check out MK Gallery. The contemporary art gallery is located in the city centre and is home to a range of ever-changing exhibitions by both local and international artists.
The gallery also has a shop, café, and library, so you can easily while away a few hours here. Entry to the exhibitions is free, making MK Gallery one of the most budget-friendly things to do in Milton Keynes.
MK Gallery is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for something a little more cultural to do in Milton Keynes.
How To Get Here: Milton Keynes Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA
9. Snozone Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is home to one of the largest indoor ski slopes in the country, so if you’re looking for something a little different to do, then you’ll want to check out Snozone.
Snozone is located just outside of Milton Keynes and offers both skiing and snowboarding lessons for all abilities, as well as being open to the public for freestyle sessions.
And if the weather is grim outside, then you can just bring all of the fun under the roof of Snozone, where there is also a café that’s perfect for warming up with a hot drink in between runs.
Snozone is one of the most unique things to do in Milton Keynes and is great fun for all the family who are interested in a spot of fresco skiing without the travel requirements.
How To Get Here: 602 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3XS
10. Woburn Safari Park
Woburn Safari Park is one of the best days out you can have in Milton Keynes. The park is home to over 800 animals, including lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys, which you can see on a self-drive safari or guided tour.
The gigantic park sprawls over 360 acres where you’ll find huge enclosures for these humungous inhabitants to roam around in.
You’ll start your drive through the Northern Plains, where you’ll encounter zebras, bison and wilded horses.
Next up are the Savannah Grasslands with its antelopes, rhino and ostriches, followed up by the Kingdom of the Carnivores – home to lions, tigers wolves and bears.
Then there is Giraffe Junction, followed by the African Forest and its naughty residents of monkeys and bongos.
It’s honestly one of the best things to do in Milton Keynes, and a rare opportunity to see these safari animals in such perfect condition and in such a large, open space.
Definitely not one to be missed during any trip to Milton Keynes!
How To Get Here: Crawley Rd, Woburn, Ridgmont, Bedford MK43 0TU
11. National Radio Centre
Milton Keynes is home to the National Radio Centre, which is a working museum that tells the story of British radio and telecommunications.
The centre is located at Bletchley Park and is open to the public for guided tours. You’ll learn all about the history of radio and see some iconic artefacts, including early wireless equipment and wartime code-breaking machines.
The National Radio Centre is one of the top things to see in Milton Keynes and a great place to visit for anyone interested in the history of telecommunications and radio…and the perfect side attraction during your visit to Bletchley Park.
How To Get Here: The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Dr, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB
12. Milton Keynes Theatre
Milton Keynes Theatre is the perfect place to catch a show while you’re in town. This iconic theatre hosts a range of musicals, plays, operas and ballet performances throughout the year, so there’s sure to be something that takes your fancy.
Relatively new to the scene in Milton Keynes, the theatre first opened its doors in 1999. It’s a strikingly beautiful building oozing with modern design, and it is one of the top performing arts venues throughout England.
The theatre is located in the heart of Milton Keynes and is easily accessible by public transport. It’s also within walking distance of a number of hotels, restaurants and bars, so you can make a night of it if you want to.
You can check out what’s on there from the Milton Keynes Theatre’s official website.
How To Get Here: 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3NZ
13. Xscape Milton Keynes
Xscape Milton Keynes is the perfect place to go for a day of family fun. This indoor activity centre has actioned-packed activities for everyone, with a climbing wall, ten-pin bowling alley, laser tag arena, cinema and much more.
Xscape is also home to iFLY, where you can experience sky diving all from within an enclosed, vertical wind tunnel. It’s not something you’ll get to do in many other places around the world, and one of the more unique things to do in Milton Keynes for any adrenaline junkie!
There are also a number of restaurants and bars located within Xscape, so you can refuel after working up an appetite with all the activities on offer.
Check out the Xscape official website for a full list of activities and things to do.
How To Get Here: 602 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3XS
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14. The Parks Trust
The Parks Trust is a charity that manages over 6000 acres of green space in Milton Keynes, including parks, nature reserves and woods. They are responsible for keeping these areas clean and safe for the public to enjoy, as well as organising events and educational programmes throughout the year.
The Parks Trust is a great organisation to get involved with if you’re looking for things to do in Milton Keynes that give back to the community. You can volunteer your time to help with events or conservation projects, or simply enjoy the many parks and green spaces that they manage.
There are over 50 parks managed by The Parks Trust, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you, whether you’re looking for a place to take a leisurely walk, have a picnic or let the kids run wild.
For more information about The Parks Trust and the work they do, head over to their official website.
15. The Centre:MK
Centre:MK is an impressive shopping centre in the heart of Milton Keynes. The centre was opened on 15 October 1979 and was the first covered shopping development in the UK outside London.
It comprises a whopping 300+ shops, restaurants and cafes, a theatre, cinema, bowling alley, nightclub and casino, so plenty to keep going.
In 2019, Centre:MK was ranked the ninth-most visited shopping centre in the United Kingdom with 27 million visitors so the place is undeniably a great spot to get your retail therapy fix whilst visiting Milton Keynes.
The centre was originally built as a single mall with a series of department stores. However, following a period of decline in the early 21st century, the centre underwent a major redevelopment to become an enclosed mall. The redeveloped centre reopened in 2009 and has since been further expanded.
Expect all the huge department stores there such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, with plenty of other high street brands adorning the courts, arcades and walkways. And if you want something cheap to do in Milton Keynes, then why not indulge in a spot of window shopping with a coffee in hand.
How To Get Here: 33a Silbury Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3ES
16. Stony Stratford
Stony Stratford is a historic market town located just outside of Milton Keynes. The town dates back to the 11th century and is home to a number of well-preserved medieval buildings.
A visit to Stony Stratford is like stepping back in time, and it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon if you’re looking for something a bit different to do from Milton Keynes.
It’s home to over 350 independent shops – a rare thing in this day and age. There are also plenty of cafes located around the town, as well as some historic pubs that are worth popping into for a pint.
The Crown Inn does a mean Sunday roast if you want some proper grub, with the halibut dish coming in a close second. Then there is the Fox & Hounds with a fantastic beer garden at the rear perfect for those sunny days.
Stony Stratford is located just a short drive or bus ride away and is one of the most popular places near Milton Keynes to visit. Remember to pick up a tourist map from the tourist office so you know all of the best points of interest.
How To Get Here: Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes
17. Thrift Farm
Thrift Farm is a working organic farm located on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. The farm grows a variety of crops, as well as keeping sheep, chickens and many other animals.
The farm also has an on-site cafe serving up fresh, seasonal food made with produce from the farm itself. There’s also a shop selling local produce, as well as Thrift Farm’s own honey and eggs.
There’s a large playground area at the farm for the kids to burn off some energy when they get bored petting the many different animals.
If you’re looking for things to do in Milton Keynes with kids of all ages, then a visit to Thrift Farm is a great option. The farm runs regular events and activities for kids, such as den building, tractor rides and nature walks.
How To Get Here: Thrift farm, Milton Keynes
18. Swan Cottage Flower Farm
Swan Cottage Flower Farm is a beautiful floral farm located on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. The farm grows an array of different flowers, as well as running a cut-your-own flower operation.
You can even arrange a tour of the gorgeous cutting garden from the owners Zoe and Neil, with a handful of different workshops. The DIY wedding flowers course always proves to be a big hit with the ladies and flower enthusiasts!
The farm also has an on-site florist where you can purchase fresh bouquets and arrangements, or you can sign up for one of their flower-arranging workshops.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Milton Keynes for couples and families, then Swan Cottage Flower Farm is definitely worth a visit. The farm is open all year round, but the best time to visit is during the spring and summer months when the flowers are in full bloom.
How To Get Here: Swan Cottage, Church Rd, Milton Keynes
19. Gulliver’s Land
Gulliver’s Land is a family-friendly theme park located in Milton Keynes. The park is home to over 70 rides and attractions, as well as a zoo and an indoor play area.
The rides at Gulliver’s Land are split into different zones depending on your age group, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy no matter the varying ages of your little ones.
Some of the most popular rides include the Swamp Splash log flume, the Crazy Mouse roller coaster and the Carousel.
If you’re looking for things to do in Milton Keynes for families with children, then a visit to Gulliver’s Land is sure to be a hit with everyone.
How To Get Here: Livingstone Dr, Milton Keynes MK15 0DT
Top Things To Do In Milton Keynes
- BLETCHLEY PARK
- NATIONAL MUSEUM OF COMPUTING
- CALDECOTTE LAKE
- WOBURN ABBEY & GARDENS
- MILTON KEYNES MUSEUM
- WILLEN LAKESIDE PARK
- PEACE PAGODA
- MK GALLERY
- SNOZONE MILTON KEYNES
- WOBURN SAFARI PARK
- NATIONAL RADIO CENTRE
- MILTON KEYNES THEATRE
- XSCAPE MILTON KEYNES
- THE PARKS TRUST
- THE CENTRE:MK
- STONY STRATFORD
- THRIFT FARM
- SWAN COTTAGE FLOWER FARM
- GULLIVER’S LAND
What is Milton Keynes famous for?
Milton Keynes is famous for a few things, including being the home of the National Bowl – an outdoor concert venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in music over the years. The city is also home to Bletchley Park – the site of the World War II code-breaking operation that helped to shorten the war. Milton Keynes is also known for being a new town – one of the first planned towns in the UK that was designed to accommodate a growing population.
Is Milton Keynes classed as London?
Milton Keynes is not classed as London, but it is located just north of London. The city is its own entity and has its own local government. However, many people consider Milton Keynes to be part of the Greater London area.
Is Milton Keynes safe?
Milton Keynes is generally a safe place to live and visit. However, as with any city, there are areas that are best avoided at night. If you stick to the well-lit and populated areas, you should be fine. Milton Keynes also has a low crime rate compared to other cities in the UK.