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Milton Keynes (/knz/ (About this soundlisten) KEENZ), locally abbreviated to MK, is a large town[note 1] in Buckinghamshire, England, about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London.[a] It is the principal settlement of the Borough of Milton Keynes, a unitary authority. It was formally designated as a new town on 23 January 1967,[5] with the design brief to become a city of 250,000 people.[6][7] Its population is anticipated to reach 300,000 by 2025.[7]

Milton Keynes
MK Montage.jpg
Top to bottom, left to right: The Xscape and Theatre seen from Campbell Park, former railway works and new housing in Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central railway station, the Central Milton Keynes skyline, The Church of Christ the Cornerstone and Bletchley's high street "Queensway"
Milton Keynes is located in Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes shown within Buckinghamshire
Area62.5 km2 (24.1 sq mi)
Population229,941 (2011 Urban Area)[1]
• Density3,679/km2 (9,530/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSP841386
• London50 mi (80 km)
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtMK1–15, MK17, MK19
Dialling code01908
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°02′N 0°46′W / 52.04°N 0.76°W / 52.04; -0.76Coordinates: 52°02′N 0°46′W / 52.04°N 0.76°W / 52.04; -0.76

At designation, its 89 km2 (34 sq mi) area incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton, and Stony Stratford, along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between. It took its name from the existing village of Milton Keynes, a few miles east of the planned centre.

The river Great Ouse forms its northern boundary; a tributary, the river Ouzel meanders through its linear parks and balancing lakes. Its extensive treescape is another important design element. Its central business district lies on higher ground, with wide views to Central Bedfordshire, South Northamptonshire and Aylesbury Vale.

Milton Keynes has one of the more successful economies in the UK, ranked highly on a number of criteria.[8]



Birth of a "New City"Edit

In the 1960s, the UK Government decided that a further generation of new towns in the South East of England was needed to relieve housing congestion in London.[9]

Population trend of Borough and Urban Area 1801–2011

Since the 1950s, overspill housing for several London boroughs had been constructed in Bletchley.[10][11][12] Further studies[13][14] in the 1960s identified north Buckinghamshire as a possible site for a large new town, a new city,[15][b] encompassing the existing towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton.[16] The New Town (informally and in planning documents, "New City") was to be the biggest yet, with a target population of 250,000,[17] in a "designated area" of 21,883 acres (8,855.7 ha)[5] The name "Milton Keynes" was taken from the existing village of Milton Keynes on the site.[18]

On 23 January 1967, when the formal new town designation order was made,[5] the area to be developed was largely farmland and undeveloped villages. The site was deliberately located equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge,[19][20] with the intention that it would be self-sustaining and eventually become a major regional centre in its own right.[9] Planning control was taken from elected local authorities and delegated to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC). Before construction began, every area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation: doing so has exposed a rich history of human settlement since Neolithic times and has provided a unique insight into the history of a large sample of the landscape of North Buckinghamshire.[citation needed]

The Corporation's strongly modernist designs were regularly featured in the magazines Architectural Design and the Architects' Journal.[21][22][23] MKDC was determined to learn from the mistakes made in the earlier New Towns,[24] and revisit the Garden City ideals.[25][26] They set in place the characteristic grid roads that run between districts ('grid squares'), as well as the intensive planting, lakes and parkland that are so evident today.[27] While still on the drawing board, planners noticed that the main streets near the proposed city centre would almost frame the rising sun on Midsummer's Day. Greenwich Observatory was consulted to obtain the exact angle required at the latitude of Central Milton Keynes,[c] and they managed to persuade the engineers to shift the grid of roads a few degrees in response.[28] CMK was not intended to be a traditional town centre but a central business and shopping district to supplement Local Centres in most of the grid squares.[29] This non-hierarchical devolved city plan was a departure from the English New Towns tradition and envisaged a wide range of industry and diversity of housing styles and tenures across the city.[30] The largest and almost the last of the British New Towns, Milton Keynes has 'stood the test of time far better than most, and has proved flexible and adaptable'.[31] The radical grid plan was inspired by the work of Californian urban theorist Melvin M. Webber,[32] described by the founding architect of Milton Keynes, Derek Walker, as the "father of the city".[33] Webber thought that telecommunications meant that the old idea of a city as a concentric cluster was out of date and that cities which enabled people to travel around them readily would be the thing of the future achieving "community without propinquity" for residents.[34]

The Government wound up MKDC in 1992, 25 years after the new town was founded, transferring control to the Commission for New Towns (CNT) and then finally to English Partnerships, with the planning function returning to local council control (since 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972, the Borough of Milton Keynes). From 2004–2011 a Government quango, the Milton Keynes Partnership, had development control powers to accelerate the growth of Milton Keynes.[citation needed]

Along with many other towns and boroughs, Milton Keynes competed for formal city status in the 2000, 2002 and 2012 competitions, but was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the term "city" is generally used by its citizens, local media and bus services to describe itself, perhaps because the term "town" is taken to mean one of the constituent towns. Road signs refer to "Central Milton Keynes" or "Shopping" when directing traffic to its centre.[citation needed]

Prior historyEdit

The area that was to become Milton Keynes encompassed a landscape that has a rich historic legacy. The area to be developed was largely farmland and undeveloped villages, but with evidence of permanent settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Before construction began, every area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation: doing so has provided a unique insight into the history of a large sample of the landscape of south-central England. There is evidence of Stone Age,[37] late Bronze Age/early Iron Age,[38] Romano-British,[39][40] Anglo-Saxon,[41] Anglo-Norman,[42] Medieval[43][41] and Industrial revolution settlements. Collections[44] of oral history covering the 20th century completes a picture that is described in detail in another article.[citation needed]

Bletchley Park, the site of World War II British code-breaking and Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic digital computer,[45] is a major component of MK's modern history. It is now a flourishing heritage attraction, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.[46]

When the boundary of Milton Keynes was defined in 1967, some 40,000 people lived in three towns and fifteen villages or hamlets in the "designated area" of 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres).[7][18]

Urban designEdit

The concepts that heavily influenced the design of the town are described in detail in article urban planning – see 'cells' under Planning and aesthetics (referring to grid squares). See also article single-use zoning.

Since the radical plan form and large scale of Milton Keynes attracted international attention, early phases of development include work by celebrated architects, including Sir Richard MacCormac,[47]Lord Norman Foster,[48]Henning Larsen,[49]Ralph Erskine,[50]John Winter,[51] and Martin Richardson.[52] Led by Lord Campbell of Eskan (Chairman) and Fred Roche (General Manager), the Corporation attracted talented young architects led by the young and charismatic Derek Walker. In the modernist Miesian tradition is the Shopping Building designed by Stuart Mosscrop and Christopher Woodward, a grade II listed building, which the Twentieth Century Society inter alia regards as the 'most distinguished' twentieth century retail building in Britain.[53][54] The contextual tradition that ran alongside it is exemplified by the Corporation's infill scheme at Cofferidge Close, Stony Stratford, designed by Wayland Tunley, which carefully inserts into a historic stretch of High Street a modern retail facility, offices and car park. The Development Corporation also led an ambitious Public art programme.[citation needed]

The urban design has not been universally praised, however. In 1980, the then president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Francis Tibbalds, described Central Milton Keynes as "bland, rigid, sterile, and totally boring."[55]

Grid roads and grid squaresEdit

The geography of Milton Keynes – the railway line, Watling Street, Grand Union Canal, M1 motorway – sets up a very strong north-south axis. If you've got to build a city between (them), it is very natural to take a pen and draw the rungs of a ladder. Ten miles by six is the size of this city – 22,000 acres. Do you lay it out like an American city, rigid orthogonal from side to side? Being more sensitive in 1966-7, the designers decided that the grid concept should apply but should be a lazy grid following the flow of land, its valleys, its ebbs and flows. That would be nicer to look at, more economical and efficient to build, and would sit more beautifully as a landscape intervention.

Professor David Lock, CBE[56]

The Milton Keynes Development Corporation planned the major road layout according to street hierarchy principles, using a grid pattern of approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) intervals, rather than on the more conventional radial pattern found in older settlements.[57] Major distributor roads run between communities, rather than through them: these distributor roads are known locally as grid roads and the spaces between them – the districts – are known as grid squares.[58] This spacing was chosen so that people would always be within six minutes walking distance of a grid-road bus-stop.[29] Consequently, each grid square is a semi-autonomous community, making a unique collective of 100 clearly identifiable neighbourhoods within the overall urban environment.[59][d] The grid squares have a variety of development styles, ranging from conventional urban development and industrial parks to original rural and modern urban and suburban developments. Most grid squares have Local Centres, intended as local retail hubs and many have community facilities as well. Originally intended under the master plan to sit alongside the Grid Roads,[60] the Local Centres were mostly in fact built embedded in the communities.[citation needed]

Although the 1970 Master Plan assumed cross-road junctions,[60] roundabout junctions were built at intersections because this type of junction is more efficient at dealing with small to medium volumes. Some major roads are dual carriageway, the others are single carriageway. Along one side of each single carriageway grid road, there is usually a (grassed) reservation to permit dualling or additional transport infrastructure at a later date.[e] As of 2018, this has been limited to some dualling. The edges of each grid square are landscaped and densely planted – some additionally have noise attenuation mounds – to minimise traffic noise from the adjacent grid road. Traffic movements are fast, with relatively little congestion since there are alternative routes to any particular destination other than during peak periods. The national speed limit applies on the grid roads, although lower speed limits have been introduced on some stretches to reduce accident rates. Pedestrians rarely need to cross grid roads at grade, as underpasses and bridges were specified at frequent places along each stretch of all of the grid roads.[60] However, the new districts to be added by the expansion plans for Milton Keynes are departing from this model, with less separation and using 'at grade' crossings. This approach, which contradicts the original design ethos, has been a cause for conflict between residents and the Council who are often regarded as failing to preserve the unique development style of the city.[62]


Cycleway network in Milton Keynes. The national cycle routes are highlighted in red. (Extracted from
© OpenStreetMap contributors).

There is a separate network (approximately 270 kilometres or 170 miles total length) of cycle and pedestrian routes  – the redways  – that runs through the grid-squares and often runs alongside the grid-road network.[63] This was designed to segregate slow moving cycle and pedestrian traffic from fast moving motor traffic.[64] In practice, it is mainly used for leisure cycling rather than commuting, perhaps because the cycle routes are shared with pedestrians, cross the grid-roads via bridge or underpass rather than at grade, and because some take meandering scenic routes rather than straight lines. It is so called because it is generally surfaced with red tarmac.[65] The national Sustrans national cycle network routes 6 and 51 take advantage of this system.[citation needed]


The Hub:MK, built between 2006 and 2008. The taller glass tower, Manhattan House, has fourteen stories.

The original design guidance declared that commercial building heights in the centre should not exceed six stories, with a limit of three stories for houses (elsewhere).[21] However, the Milton Keynes Partnership, in its expansion plans for Milton Keynes, believed that Central Milton Keynes (and elsewhere) needed "landmark buildings" and subsequently lifted the height restriction for the area. As a result, high rise buildings have been built in the central business district. Four of the pedestrian underpasses were closed to 'normalise' the streetscape of Central Milton Keynes and the character of the area was set to change under government pressure to increase densities of development. These changes are being opposed by pressure groups such as Urban Eden and the Milton Keynes Forum. More recent local plans have protected the existing boulevard framework and underpasses following the dissolution of the Milton Keynes Partnership.[citation needed]

Large-scale buildings include Jurys Inn (10 stories)[66]The Pinnacle:MK on Midsummer Boulevard (9 stories)[67] and the Vizion development on Avebury Boulevard (12 stories).[68] The more recent Network Rail National Centre has been built at the western limit of Silbury Boulevard near the Central station; this building complex occupies a large land area but only rises to the equivalent of six storeys;[69] a return towards the design of the original Central Milton Keynes developments.[citation needed]

Linear parksEdit

Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes

The flood plains of the Great Ouse and of its tributaries (the Ouzel and some brooks) have been protected as linear parks that run right through Milton Keynes; these were identified as important landscape and flood-management assets from the outset.[70] At 1,650 ha (4,100 acres) – a third larger than Richmond Park and ten times larger than London's Hyde Park[71] – the landscape architects realised that the Royal Parks model would not be appropriate or affordable and drew on their National Park experience.[71] As Bendixson and Platt (1992) write: "They divided the Ouzel Valley into 'strings, beads and settings'. The stings are well-maintained routes, be they for walking, bicycling or riding; the beads are sports centres, lakeside cafes and other activity areas; the settings are self-managed land-uses such as woods, riding paddocks, a golf-course[f] and a farm".[71] The Grand Union Canal is another green route (and demonstrates the level geography of the area – there is just one minor lock in its entire 10-mile (16 km) meandering route through from the southern boundary near Fenny Stratford to the "Iron Trunk" Aqueduct over the Ouse at Wolverton at its northern boundary). The initial park system was planned by landscape architect Peter Youngman,[72] who also developed landscape precepts for all development areas: groups of grid squares were to be planted with different selections of trees and shrubs to give them distinct identities. However, the detailed planning and landscape design of parks and of the grid roads was evolved under the leadership of Neil Higson,[73] who from 1977 took over as Chief Landscape Architect and made the original grand but not entirely practical landscape plan more subtle.[74]

"City in the forest"Edit

The original Development Corporation design concept aimed[33] for a "forest city" and its foresters planted millions of trees from its own nursery in Newlands in the following years. As of 2018, the urban area has 22 million trees and shrubs.[75][76] Following the winding up of the Development Corporation, the lavish landscapes of the Grid Roads and of the major parks were transferred to The Milton Keynes Parks Trust, a charity which is independent from the municipal authority and which was intended to resist pressures to build on the parks over time. The Parks Trust is endowed with a portfolio of commercial properties, the income of which pay for the upkeep of the green spaces.[77]

Monitoring station data[78] shows that air pollution is lower than in other settlements of a similar size.[citation needed]



65,000 capacity by the Green Day Bullet in a Bible concert at the National Bowl

The open-air National Bowl is a 65,000-capacity venue for large-scale events.[79]

In Wavendon, the Stables – founded by jazz artists Cleo Laine and John Dankworth – provides a venue for jazz, blues, folk, rock, classical, pop and world music.[80] It presents around 400 concerts and over 200 educational events each year and also hosts the National Youth Music Camps summer camp for young musicians.[81] In 2010, it founded the biennial IF Milton Keynes International Festival, producing events in unusual spaces and places across Milton Keynes.[82]

Arts and literatureEdit

The municipal public art gallery, MK Gallery presents free exhibitions of international contemporary art.[83]

The adjacent 1,400 seat Milton Keynes Theatre opened in 1999.[84] The theatre has an unusual feature: the ceiling can be lowered closing off the third tier (gallery) to create a more intimate space for smaller-scale productions.[84][85] There is a further professional performance space in Stantonbury.[86]

There are three museums:

Milton Keynes Arts Centre offers a year-round exhibitions, family workshops and courses. Situated in of Linford Manor's exterior buildings, barns, Almshouses, Pavilions), the Arts Centre offers an historical setting.[90]

The Westbury Arts Centre in Shenley Wood is based in a 16th-century grade II listed Farmhouse building. Westbury Arts has been providing spaces for professional working artists to create work since 1994. The oldest part of the house was built in the sixteenth century and has been greatly extended over the years.[91] It

Milton Keynes also boasts several choirs.[92]

Public sculptureEdit

Liz Leyh's iconic "Concrete Cows"

Public sculpture in Milton Keynes includes work by Elisabeth Frink, Philip Jackson, Nicolas Moreton and Ronald Rae.[93]


The Open University's headquarters are in the Walton Hall district; though because this is a distance learning institution, the only students resident on campus are approximately 200 full-time postgraduates. Cranfield University, an all-postgraduate institution, is in nearby Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Milton Keynes College provides further education up to foundation degree level. University Campus Milton Keynes, a campus of the University of Bedfordshire, provides some tertiary education facilities locally. Milton Keynes is currently the UK's largest population centre without its own university proper, a shortfall that the Council aims to rectify.[94] In January 2019, the Council and its partner, Cranfield University, invited proposals to design a campus near the Central station for a new university.[95]

Like most parts of the UK, the state secondary schools in Milton Keynes are Comprehensive schools,[96] although schools in the rest of Buckinghamshire still use the Tripartite System. Access to selective state schools is still possible in Milton Keynes as the grammar schools in Buckingham and Aylesbury accept some pupils from within the unitary authority area, with Buckinghamshire County Council arranging bus services to ferry pupils to the schools.[97] Private schools are also available.

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey holds an extensive archive about Milton Keynes. MKCDC is therefore a research facility, as well as offering a broad education programme (with a focus on urban geography and local history) to schools, universities and professionals.[98]

Government and infrastructureEdit

Local governmentEdit

The responsible local government is Milton Keynes Council, which controls the Borough of Milton Keynes, a Unitary Authority.[99]


Milton Keynes University Hospital, in the Eaglestone district, is an NHS general hospital with an Accident and Emergency unit. It is associated for medical teaching purposes with the University of Buckingham medical school.[100] The adjacent BMI Healthcare's Saxon Clinic is a small private hospital.[101] A little further away, Ramsay Health Care's Blakelands Hospital is another small private hospital.[102]

UK government officesEdit

The Legalisation Office of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office – which issues Apostille certificates to prove that official documents are genuine – is located in Milton Keynes.[103]

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) previously had been located in Milton Keynes (at Bletchley Park), but moved to Cheltenham in the early 1950s.[104]

Communications and mediaEdit

Milton Keynes has two commercial radio stations, Heart Four Counties,[105] and MKFM.[106] BBC Three Counties Radio is the local BBC Radio station.[107] CRMK (Community Radio Milton Keynes) is a voluntary station broadcasting on the Internet.[108]

For television, the area is allocated to BBC East and Anglia ITV.[109]

As of February 2019, Milton Keynes has one free-to-residents local newspaper, the Milton Keynes Citizen.[110][g]


Milton Keynes has consistently benefited from above-average economic growth, ranked as one of the UK's five fastest growing.[112] It is ranked fifth in the UK for business startups (per 10,000 population)[8]

Milton Keynes is home to several national and international companies, notably Argos,[113]Domino's Pizza,[114]Marshall Amplification,[115]Mercedes-Benz,[116]Suzuki,[117]Volkswagen AG,[118]Red Bull Racing,[119]Network Rail,[120] and Yamaha Kemble.[121]

Santander UK and the Open University are major employers locally.[122][123]


Stadium MK (in 2007)

Milton Keynes has professional teams in football (Milton Keynes Dons F.C. at Stadium:mk), in ice hockey (Milton Keynes Lightning at Planet Ice Milton Keynes), and in Formula One (Red Bull Racing).[124]

Milton Keynes is also home to the Xscape indoor ski slope, the iFLY indoor sky diving facility, and the National Badminton Centre.[124]


As a key element of the planners' vision,[125] Milton Keynes has a purpose built centre, with a very large "covered high street" shopping centre,[124]a theatre,[126][127] municipal art gallery,[126] [127]a multiplex cinema,[128] hotels,[129]central business district,[125]an ecumenical church,[130]Borough Council offices[131] and central railway station.[132]

Other amenitiesEdit

Part of the Blue Lagoon

Original towns and villagesEdit

During the Second World War, British, Polish and American cryptographers at Bletchley Park broke a large number of Axis codes and ciphers, including the German Enigma machine.
The 1815 windmill near New Bradwell village, beside the playing fields
Stony Stratford high street in festive mood

Milton Keynes consists of many pre-existing towns and villages, as well as new infill developments. The designated area outside the four main towns (Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, Stony Stratford, Wolverton) was largely rural farmland but included many picturesque North Buckinghamshire villages and hamlets: Bradwell village and its Abbey, Broughton, Caldecotte, Fenny Stratford, Great Linford, Loughton, Milton Keynes Village, New Bradwell, Shenley Brook End, Shenley Church End, Simpson, Stantonbury, Tattenhoe, Tongwell, Walton, Water Eaton, Wavendon, Willen, Great and Little Woolstone, Woughton on the Green. The historical settlements have been focal points for the modern development of the new town. Every grid square has historical antecedents, if only in the field names. The more obvious ones are listed below and most have more detailed articles.

Bletchley was first recorded in the 12th century as Blechelai. Its station was a major Victorian junction (the London and North Western Railway with the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Line), leading to the substantial urban growth in the town in that period. It expanded to absorb the villages of Water Eaton and Fenny Stratford.

Bletchley Park was home to the Government Code and Cypher School during the Second World War. The famous Enigma code was cracked here, and the building housed what was arguably the world's first programmable computer, Colossus. The house is now a museum of war memorabilia, cryptography and computing.

The Benedictine Priory of Bradwell Abbey at Bradwell was of major economic importance in this area of North Buckinghamshire before the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The routes of the medieval trackways (many of which are now Redways or bridleways) converge on the site from some distance. Nowadays there is only a small medieval chapel and a manor house occupying the site. Bradwell itself is a traditional village with earthworks of a Norman motte and bailey and parish church. There is a YHA hostel beside the church.

New Bradwell, to the north of Bradwell and just across the canal and the railway to the east of Wolverton, was built specifically for railway workers. It has a working windmill, although technically this lies just a few yards outside of the parish boundary. The level bed of the old Wolverton to Newport Pagnell Line ends here and has been converted to a Redway, making it a favourite route for cycling.

Great Linford appears in the Domesday Book as Linforde, and features a church dedicated to Saint Andrew, dating from 1215. Today, the outer buildings of the 17th century manor house form an arts centre, and Linford Manor is a prestigious recording studio.

Milton Keynes Village is the original village to which the New Town owes its name. The original village is still evident, with a pleasant thatched pub, village hall, church and traditional housing. The area around the village has reverted to its original name of Middleton, as shown on old maps of the 1700s. The oldest[133] surviving domestic building in the area, a 14th-century manor house, is here.

There has been a market in Stony Stratford since 1194 (by charter of King Richard I). The Rose and Crown Inn at Stratford is reputedly the last place the Princes in the Tower were seen alive.

The manor house of Walton village, Walton Hall, is the headquarters of the Open University and the tiny parish church (deconsecrated) is in its grounds.

The tiny Parish Church (1680) at Willen contains the only unaltered building by the architect and physicist Robert Hooke. Nearby, there is a Buddhist Temple and a Peace Pagoda, which was built in 1980 and was the first in the western world.[134] The district borders the River Ouzel: there is a large balancing lake here, to capture flash floods before they cause problems downstream on the River Great Ouse. The north basin is a wildlife sanctuary and a favourite of migrating aquatic birds. The south basin is for leisure use, favoured by wind surfers and dinghy sailors. The circuit of the lakes is a favoured "fun run".

The original Wolverton was a medieval settlement just north and west of today's town. The ridge and furrow pattern of agriculture can still be seen in the nearby fields and the Saxon (rebuilt in 1819) Church of the Holy Trinity still stands next to the Norman Motte and Bailey site. Modern Wolverton was a 19th-century New Town built to house the workers at the Wolverton railway works, which built engines and carriages for the London and North Western Railway.

Economy, demography, geography and politicsEdit

At the 2011 census, the population of the Milton Keynes urban area, including the adjacent Newport Pagnell and Woburn Sands, was 229,941.[1] The population of the Borough in total was 248,800,[135] compared with a population of around 53,000 for the same area in 1961.[136]

Data on the economy, demography and politics of Milton Keynes are collected at the Borough level and are detailed at Economy of the Borough and Demographics of the Borough. However, since the urban area is predominant in the Borough, it is reasonable to assume that, other than for agriculture, the figures are broadly the same.[citation needed] Some statistics however are collected at the urban area level too.[citation needed]

Milton Keynes is one of the most successful economies in the UK, ranked third (by gross value added per worker) for its contribution to the national economy.[8]

With 99.4% SMEs, just 0.6% of businesses locally employ more than 250 people.[137] Of the remaining enterprises, 81.5% employ fewer than 10 people.[137] The 'professional, scientific and technical sector' contributes the largest number of business units, 16.7%.[137] The retail sector is the largest contributor of employment.[137] Milton Keynes has one of the highest business start-ups in England and the start-up levels remained high during the 2009/10 recession.[137] Although Education, Health and Public Administration are important contributors to employment, the contribution is significantly less than in England or the South East as a whole.[137]

The population is significantly younger than is typical for the UK's 63 primary urban areas: 25.3% of the Borough population is aged under 18 (5th place) and 13.4% are aged 65+ (57th out of 63).[8] Contributing to its vitality, 18.5% of residents were born outside the UK (11th).[8]

Modern parishes, community councils and districtsEdit

The Borough of Milton Keynes is fully parished. These are the parishes, community councils and the districts they contain, within Milton Keynes itself. For a list of parishes in the Borough, see Borough of Milton Keynes (Rest of the borough)


the Grand Union Canal passes over Grafton Street at Bradwell via the modern Bradwell Aqueduct

The Grand Union Canal between London and Birmingham provides a major axis in the design of Milton Keynes.[70]

Milton Keynes has six railway stations. Milton Keynes Central is served by inter-city services. Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central and Bletchley stations are on the West Coast Main Line. Fenny Stratford and Bow Brickhill are on the Marston Vale Line. Woburn Sands railway station, also on the Marston Vale line, is in the small town of Woburn Sands just inside the urban area.

The M1 motorway runs along the east flank of MK and serves it from junctions 13, 14 and 15. The A5 road runs right through it as a grade separated dual carriageway. Other main roads are the A509 to Wellingborough and Kettering, and the A421 and A422, both running west towards Buckingham and east towards Bedford. Proximity to the M1 has led to construction of a number of distribution centres, including Magna Park at the A421/A5130 junction.[139]

Many long-distance coaches stop at the Milton Keynes coachway,[140] (beside M1 Junction 14), some 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the centre (or 4 mi or 6.4 km from Milton Keynes Central railway station).[141] There is also a park and ride car park on the site. Regional coaches stop at Milton Keynes Central.

The main bus operator is Arriva Shires & Essex, providing a number of routes which mainly pass through or serve Central Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes is also served by Arriva-branded services from Aylesbury and Luton as well and Stagecoach East which operate routes to Oxford, Cambridge, Stagecoach Midlands which operates routes to Peterborough and Leicester. Some local services are run by independent operators such as Z&S International and Centrebus.

Milton Keynes is served by (and provides part of) routes 6 and 51 on the National Cycle Network.

The nearest international airport is London Luton Airport, accessible by Stagecoach route 99 from MK Central station, which runs with wheelchair-accessible coaches. There is a direct rail connection to Birmingham International station for Birmingham Airport. In addition, Cranfield Airport, an airfield, is 6 miles (10 km) from the centre. (Although Milton Keynes is allocated an International Air Transport Association airport code of KYN,[142] it does not have an airport. Proposals in 1971 for a third London airport at (relatively) nearby Cublington were rejected).[143]

Closest cities and townsEdit

The nearest larger towns are Towcester, Northampton, Olney, Bedford, Luton and Dunstable, and Aylesbury. The nearest cities are Leicester, Cambridge, London and Oxford.

Notable peopleEdit


  • Capdown, the ska punk band, came from and formed in Milton Keynes in 1997.[171]
  • Fellsilent, the metal band, come from and formed in Milton Keynes in 2003.[172]
  • Tesseract, the djent band formed as a full live act in Milton Keynes in 2007. Tesseract's guitarist, songwriter and producer Acle Kahney is also a former member of Fellsilent.
  • Hacktivist, the Grime, djent band formed in 2011.
  • RavenEye, the rock band, formed in Milton Keynes in 2014.[173]

Twin townsEdit


Milton Keynes experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) as is typical of almost all of the United Kingdom. Recorded temperature extremes range from 34.6 °C (94.3 °F) during July 2006,[175] to as low as −20.6 °C (−5.1 °F) on 20 December 2010.[176] on 25 February 1947. In 2010, the temperature fell to −16.3 °C (2.7 °F)[177]

The nearest Met Office weather station is in Woburn,[178] located in a rural area just outside the south eastern fringe of Milton Keynes.

Climate data for Woburn 1981–2010 (Weather station 3 mi (5 km) to the SE of Central Milton Keynes)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 54.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.0 69.4 105.5 147.4 183.4 179.9 197.1 189.0 137.0 105.6 61.7 43.5 1,471.6
Source: Met Office[179]


  1. ^ Although Milton Keynes was specified to be a city in scale and the term "city" is used locally (inter alia to avoid confusion with its constituent towns), formally this title cannot be used. This is because conferment of city status in the United Kingdom is a Royal prerogative.
  1. ^ From Milton Keynes Bowl to Marble Arch via Watling Street is 45 miles (72 km).[2] By rail from Milton Keynes Central to Euston is 49 miles 65 chains (49.81 mi; 80.17 km).[3] From Central Milton Keynes to Charing Cross via the M1 motorway is 55 miles (89 km).[4]
  2. ^ The Plan for Milton Keynes begins (in the Foreword by Lord ("Jock") Campbell of Eskan): "This plan for building the new city of Milton Keynes ..."
  3. ^ As seen uphill along Midsummer Boulevard from Midsummer Roundabout near the Central Station
  4. ^ Bendixson & Platt (1992) report the Corporation as concerned at this outcome, which was an unplanned emergent behaviour.
  5. ^ An additional ten-metre wide strip was originally specified to satisfy Buckinghamshire County Council's belief in a future fixed-track public transport system. In 1977 MKDC decided to cease to specify it.[61]
  6. ^ which did not happen here
  7. ^ A competing paper, MK News, closed in October 2016.[111]


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External linksEdit