A question I’m often asked is “You’ve grown up in London, one of the best cities in the world, and you’ve travelled the globe and seen amazing places, so why on earth would you choose to live in Milton Keynes?!” It’s a fair comment. Milton Keynes has quite the bland reputation. Before I moved here I knew two things about the new city – concrete cows and roundabouts. Sounds pretty dull and mundane, right?
But it’s so much more than that.
So as today is #LoveMK day (yes, that’s a thing apparently), I wanted to share with you guys exactly why I love living in Milton Keynes.
For the record this isn’t a sponsored post kids, I just really love MK.
1. It’s easy to get around.
MK is a new city, it was built in the seventies. So although some people moan that there’s no history in the city, it actually means that it has been perfectly planned so that it’s easy to get around. The roads are wide and away from pedestrians so the speed limit’s higher. The infamous roundabouts keep the traffic moving. Redways going alongside and under the roads mean that pedestrians and cyclists don’t even have to venture near cars. Everything is on a grid system like American cities so it’s easy to find your way around.
For someone who has lived in London and worked in London and had to do a two hour commute to get from one side of the city to the other, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to get anywhere in under 20 mins. Seriously.
2. Countryside is on your doorstep.
I’ve never actually been that psyched about the countryside. I grew up in Southeast London, on the boarder of Kent, so I’ve always taken greenery a little for granted. But I love that on a Sunday morning I can meander around Willen Lake or drive 5 minutes out of town and be near gorgeous rolling hills.
And a country pub obvs. I love The Navigation in Cosgrove, right on the canal with amazing food. YES.
3. The annual Stony Stratford Zombie Pub Crawl.
This is my favourite event in the Milton Keynes calendar out of the whole year. On Halloween the sleepy village of Stony Stratford is transformed into a spooky town overrun with zombies. But with jägerbombs.
What started out as a modest pub crawl now attracts thousands of people dressed in impressive costumes with expertly done zombie make-up, and all 9 pubs on the High Street get a makeover. In previous years I’ve dressed as zombie black swan, zombie Elsa from Frozen and last year my pals and I rebelled and went as the Scooby Doo gang (trying to solve the mystery of the zombie outbreak!)
It’s a lot of fun and everyone puts maximum effort in. Including The George pub which has zombie army guys serving from an extra bar they put outside. Even if you don’t live in Milton Keynes you should go to this event, it’s sick.
4. The vintage shopping.
You guys know I’m a sucker for vintage. But when I moved to MK I didn’t really expect much from the vintage scene. I was definitely mistaken though as the vintage shopping here isn’t just great, it’s cheap! Unlike London where they know vintage is in demand and Oxfam is charging £20 a pop, MK charity shops are full of gems for a few quid.
In terms of actual vintage shops, Retro 23 in Stony is full of awesomeness with vintage homewares and cool antique books. Down the road, Gone Retro pumps out loads of Levi denim shorts, vintage shirts and silk bomber jackets. They’re now on ASOS so a great little find!
In Olney, another pretty village, there are lots more boutiques and the quality of clothes is so good. I got a pair of vintage suede Nike Blazers in mint condition for £15 so I’m all about these boutiques, guys.
5. The coffee at Bogota Coffee.
A downside of living in Milton Keynes is that most restaurants and cafes are chains. But Bogota Coffee breaks the mound with cosy sofas in a cool little setting of fairy lights and free WiFi. They know what the people want.
6. All of the nightlife is in clusters.
This is one of those weird things I appreciate since living in London. Everything is close together. You don’t have to get a cab or a bus between bars or restaurants.
Drink your way around the restaurants in The Hub or the bars adjacent to it. Work your way along the outside of the Xscape. Or my personal fave, go from one end of Theatre District to the other from dancing in Slug and Lettuce to downing rum cocktails in Revolution De Cuba.
7. The rent is crazy cheap IMO.
The reason I first moved to MK was that I realised I could live in a massive townhouse with my friends and commute to my job in London, a lot cheaper than living in a teeny tiny room in a rough area of London (and still have to do some sort of commute). Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I still think the rent in MK is crazy cheap. And it’s cheaper to buy too. My parents ended up moving to MK after I did because they saw what a great quality of life you get here and how much more you get for your money. Job done.
8. London is 30 minutes away.
Speaking of which, all of London’s finest attractions are only 30 minutes away on Virgin trains direct to London Euston. So I can be shopping in Camden or dining in Fitzrovia in under an hour. It’s the best of both worlds I think.
9. So many events at Campbell Park.
World Food Fair? Open Air Cinema? Circus? Funfair? Campbell Park is the home to all pop-up events in Milton Keynes so I love to look to see what’s going on in the summer months. In the winter it’s also a lot of fun to go sledding here in the snow!
10. The people are the best.
This is really why I love Milton Keynes. The people. When I moved here I had one friend that I had met travelling. Now I have a big group of core friends, my parents are here and they’ve made lots of friends, I work here now so I have colleagues that live nearby and I met my boyfriend here, who I now live with. And all of that felt easy! It wasn’t hard to make friends here. Sure you get a few bellends wherever you go, but the people of Milton Keynes are friendly, I’m telling you.
I’ve also recently discovered a community of bloggers in MK so I’m all set up here. And with Luton Airport so close, travelling so much is super easy!
There you go folks, that’s why I #LoveMK. I swear I should work for the Milton Keynes Tourist Board or something because I spread the word of how awesome it is wherever I go!
What do you think of Milton Keynes? Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!