Britain's largest new town (covering some 33 sq miles) was designed in the late 60s to encompass the countryside and nearby villages. Today it is completely self sustaining with a large shopping complex, factories, industry, offices and homes. The town is based on a contemporary grid based system, that includes wide open spaces, tree-lined roads and walks, plus extensive green open spaces and parks. The resulting landscape provides a network of wide uncluttered roads, footpaths and cycle ways, all laid out in neat grid plan.
The town boasts one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, with a comprehensive range of quality shops and facilities.
Milton Keynes - Modern Shopping Centre © TAB
Created in 1967 as part of the 'New Towns' acts of the 40s and 50s. This new town concept was developed after the Second World War, when the need arose to re-house many of Britain's inner city populations and encourage improvements to living and working conditions. Other new towns in Britain include Basildon, Cumbernauld, Harlow, Hemel Hempstead, Letchworth, Runcorn, Telford and Washington.
Today Milton Keynes is a vibrant and diverse place with a thriving music and arts culture. Within its limits are modern theatres, museums, art galleries and modern architecture. Combined with good facilities for sport and leisure activities, there is plenty here to keep visitors occupied for a long time. The Open University was established here in 1971 and is now one of the UK's largest universities. The area is also famous for its modern contemporary statues including its iconic concrete cows.
The town's many modern sculptures include six concrete cows © TAB
The historical market towns of Newport Pagnell, Stony Stratford, Olney and Wolverton are all just a short drive away from the town centre.
Fifteen miles of lock free canal (Grand Union) stretches along the northern and eastern fringes. The canal tow path is in excellent repair providing a popular green corridor route for walkers. Towards the centre of the urbanisation is Milton Keynes Marina, a modern development where boat hire operators offer anything from a day trip to a few weeks afloat. Further south the canal passes through Fenny Stratford Lock, the perfect stop off point for a pub lunch or waterside pint.
A wide corridor of green open space and parkland follows the route of the canal from North to South, through the town. Managed by The Parks Trust. A number of balancing lakes were created during development to drain the land for housing, many of which have been landscaped into picturesque parks, watersports centres and nature reserves. For example, Lodge Lake (shown below), is a perfect spot for fishing, relaxing or a gentle stroll.
Lodge Lake (by Laura Wiles (CC0))