Milton Keynes Car Hire
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Milton Keynes is located 80km north-west of London in Buckinghamshire. A large town with a population of 248,000, it’s bordered at the north by the Great River Ouse and it’s permeated with gorgeous green spaces such as forests, parklands and conservation areas. Although it’s a ‘new town’ constructed in the 1960s as an overspill housing area designed to ease pressure on London, from its inception it was designed to include ancient towns of Stony Stratford, Wolverton and Bletchley, and in fact there’s evidence of continuous human settlement here from Neolithic to modern times. Milton Keynes is a town envisioned for living in space and serenity, therefore you’ll see lots of modernist architecture, shared cycle and pedestrian pathways and low-rise buildings outwith the planned centre. Life in the town is further enhanced by facilities and amenities such as a large theatre, teaching hospital, open-air concert venue, and the headquarters of the Open University. With so much to see in the environs, it’s an excellent place to explore by car and Enjoy Travel has terrific deals available. For instance, a nippy Fiat 500 is just £22.73 (€25.07) per day if you book ahead of time and a compact Fiat Tipo costs £28.12 (€31.17) a day. Alternatively, a roomy Skoda Octavia is £31.21 (€34.60) a day and a sporty Nissan Qashqai SUV ̶ ideal if you prefer an elevated driving position ̶ is £33.42 (€36.92) per day. Hire a car in a click from Enjoy Travel and make the most of Milton Keynes.
Guide to Milton Keynes
A new town with an old soul, Milton Keynes is renowned for its visionary urban planning, eco-friendly travel, inclusive culture and superb sport. You’ll also find some first-rate retail therapy here, traditional market towns and picturesque countryside on the perimeters. Although this town isn’t top of everyone’s British bucket list, don’t be surprised if you fall for its charms.
Officially founded on January 23rd, 1967, Milton Keynes borrowed its name for that of a Medieval village dating back to the 11th Century and modern archaeologists have discovered evidence that humans were here as far back as 2000BC. The various villages that were conglomerated and expanded under the original late 60s town numbered just 50,000 people and that population has now increased almost five-fold. However, from the start of planning the project, renowned urban planners like Henning Larsen, Ralph Erskine, Sir Richard MacCormac, Lord Norman Foster and others were determined that it would be the opposite of the congested London concrete jungles it was designed to relieve. The spacious modernist grid system that characterised their design is still in use, but another crucial component of this new town were verdant parks, woodlands, lakes and rivers and today 25% of the urban area is still dedicated to green space threaded with well-kempt walkways and cycle paths. A town that’s truly designed for life, Milton Keynes is a fascinating example of modern social history as well as a brilliant place to live and visit.
Art & culture
The Milton Keynes Theatre is one of the most prominent entertainment venues in the region and you’ll see bona fide West End shows here as well as touring productions of everything from kids shows and stand-up comedy to musicals and opera. There are also world-class exhibitions and interactive events at the new MK Gallery designed by Nils Norman, Gareth Jones and architects 6a, with the centrepiece here being the stunning Sky Room which has panoramic views over Campbell Park. The adjacent City Club Playscape is designed as a dedicated creative space for kids to explore and learn through play and the entire complex is accessible to visitors with additional needs. One of the most unique events in Milton Keynes is A Festival of Creative Urban Living, a brilliant biannual gathering featuring commissions, exhibitions, conferences and workshops from the disciplines of architecture, art, digital and design. Events at this eclectic festival are free and leading creatives, designers, architects and cultural theorists mix with members of the public to explore the future development of the town, thus upholding the innovative and inclusive spirit of its inception.
There’s a robust and varied sports scene in Milton Keynes, with a range of spectator and participation pastimes on offer. The professional football team MK Dons plays at the 30,500-capacity MK Stadium, there’s professional ice hockey courtesy of MK Lightning, the Red Bull Racing professional motorsports team, and the town is also home to the National Badminton Centre. If you like your sport slightly more left field, there’s also a lively korfball scene ̶ this unusual sport is a bit like a mixture between basketball and netball. For an active day out you can also pop into the Woughton Leisure Centre, which benefitted from a £1.2 million investment in 2016 and has a well-appointed fitness studio (the largest in Milton Keynes), a 20m swimming pool, on-site creche and a café-lounge area serving tasty snacks and sandwiches. For something a little different, why not learn to water-ski or wakeboard at Willen Lake? This stunning location is fab fun and if you prefer to stay on dry land there’s also a treetop adventure course, archery, a soft play area and the Willen Observation Wheel, which offers unparalleled views over the town.
What to do in Milton Keynes?
From fascinating museums highlighting the town’s role in WWII codebreaking and the development of modern computing to thrilling motorsports and delightful days on the farm, you’ll never be stuck for entertainment in Milton Keynes.
Bletchley Park & National Museum of Computing
Once the secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers who focused their collective genius on grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat for the Allied Forces, Bletchley Park is now a fascinating visitor centre that will captivate anyone interested in wartime history, espionage, brainpower and technology. Codebreaking first began here in September 1938, before the outbreak of WWII, when a small undercover group moved into the mansion. This signified the activation of the Bletchley Park War Station and the weekend pleasure seekers were in fact members of MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School (GC & CS). After setting up the station and transmitting their first message, the base was stood down, but reactivated in September 1939 with the start of the war. The main focus was breaking the complex codes of the Enigma Machine used by Nazi forces to encrypt military, diplomatic and commercial communications and by January 1940 the team headed by Dilly Knox featuring top mathematicians John Jeffries, Peter Twinn and Alan Turing had their first breakthrough deciphering the German Army administrative key that became known as ‘The Green’. In time the ‘Red’ Luftwaffe code was cracked, followed subsequently by Italian and Japanese codes. This not only changed the course of World War II, but the associated technology kickstarted the information age ̶ Alan Turing is widely regarded as the father of artificial intelligence and computing science. Speaking of which, the National Museum of Computing is also at Bletchley and it houses the world’s largest collection of working historic computers, including the iconic wartime Turing-Welchman Bombe, large mainframes from the 50s, 60s and 70s, the personal computers that developed from the 80s and the rise of the internet from the 90s to present. A visit to this museum is a reminder that the computing power in your mobile phone evolved from gargantuan machines which took up entire rooms.
If you’re after an adrenaline-fuelled day out after your cerebral meanderings at Bletchley, head over to Daytona Milton Keynes, Britain’s top-rated outdoor go-kart track. There are three amazing circuits to try here and each has its distinctive charms and challenges. The 1200m International Circuit comprises 11 corners veering from gentle curves to hairpin bends, interspersed with straights of varying lengths, so it’s suitable for drivers of all aptitudes and is rated by many as the best circuit in the UK. Meanwhile, the 900m National Circuit includes two corners that aren’t included in the International and has lots of tricky technical corners and overtaking opportunities. Finally, the North Circuit is 375m long and has lots of close racing and testing bends ̶ ideal for smaller adult groups or younger karters to build their confidence and capability before trying the other two circuits.
Fab Thrift Farm
Want to chill out in the company of some amazing animals in a wonderful working farm setting? Head to the Thrift Farm on the outskirts of Milton Keynes and settle into the natural rhythms of nature for a few blissful hours. This excellent establishment was set up over 40 years ago to help adults with learning difficulties develop key skills, through working in various roles around the farm and sometimes moving on to employment opportunities elsewhere, so it’s an inclusive and inspirational space. Visitors can try a range of activities such as petting sessions with rabbits and guinea pigs, and hand-feeding goats, sheep and calves in the Animal Barn, saying hello to ponies, goats and donkeys on the Farm Paddock Trail and kids love careering around on the pedal tractors. If all this activity makes you hungry you can top off your day with snacks and drinks at the Food 4 Thought Café.
Eating out in Milton Keynes
From mouth-watering flavours from the Med to Great British pub grub and lip-smacking meals from the Indian subcontinent, Milton Keynes cuisine has something to suit every palate.
For a brilliant blend of Turkish and Mediterranean taste notes, try The Olive Tree on Midsummer Boulevard ̶ the food here is fresh and authentic and the atmosphere is always amicable. Fancy a vibrant vegan starter? The sazuka with fried aubergines, red and green peppers and onions in a delicate tomato sauce should be right up your street. There are many tempting mains to try but the gold medal dish might be the emperor’s chicken which comprises tender pieces of chicken breast in a rich creamy sauce blended with apricots, roasted mix nuts and currants ̶ it’s royally good! For a final flourish, the authentic Turkish baklava is outstanding and once you taste this sweet pastry stuffed with nuts and topped with lashings of sugar syrup, you’ll be in seventh heaven! Starters cost £5-£7 and main courses range from £12-£18.
The Plough Pub and Restaurant at Simpson Village near Milton Keynes is the place to be of you want gourmet gastropub fare. A spacious farm-style setting with a stylish and comfy brick, stone and wood interior immediately makes you feel relaxed and the dishes are as delightful as the décor. He homemade pork crackling with burnt apple puree is a stunning starter and follow it up with a sumptuous seafood medley as your main ̶ this fresh-caught feast includes salmon fillet, king prawns and foye mussels, served with mash potato, asparagus and a champagne and caper sauce. Starters here cost £2-£4 and mains £12-£19.
For the best Indian meal around these parts, head off to Kakori on Newport Pagnell High Street. Every page of the menu is peppered with piquant dishes, but the chicken lollipop is a legendary starter with its frenched chicken wings coated in a lemon, ginger and garlic batter, while extra-spicy Rajasthani Laal Maas is a magnificent main and combines lamb, tomato, coriander, garlic and enough Kashmiri red chilli to take your taste buds to a new dimension! Starters here are £3-£5 and mains are £11-£15, which is excellent value given the exquisite quality and first-rate customer service.
Transport in Milton Keynes
The nearest airport to Milton Keynes is London Luton(LTN), which is 32km away. Enjoy Travel partners with trusted LTN car hire providers like Easirent, Green Motion and Alamo at LTN.
Buses and trains
There’s a reliable bus network in Milton Keynes connecting all areas of the town as well as outlying villages. The X60 service will take you to Aylesbury and Buckingham and the 41 route connects to Northampton and Bedford.
Milton Keynes has several rail stations, including Fenny Stratford, Bletchley and Wolverton, which connect it to the rest of England.
Always drive on the left-hand side of the road in Milton Keynes and stick to the speed limits: 70 mph (120 km/h) on motorways, 60 mph (100 km/h) for non-motorway main roads and 30 mph (50 km/h) or 20 mph (40 km/h) when you’re in built-up areas.
Wear a seatbelt at all times, don’t drink and drive and don’t use your mobile unless it’s truly hands-free.
This is a lovely part of England to explore by car ̶ here are just a couple of classic road trips:
Drive 74 miles west of Milton Keynes on the A74 and (via some verdant Cotswolds countryside) you’ll be in Cheltenham in under two hours, traffic permitting. This is the most complete regency town in the UK so the architecture is awe-inspiring, but there’s also the stunning Pittville Park and the famous Cheltenham Racecourse for National Hunt horse racing.
Coventry is 49 miles north west of Milton Keynes via the M1 motorway and in light traffic you can be there in under one hour. There’s lots to choose from here but for music fans the highlight is definitely the 2-Tone Village, which showcases the history of this seminal record label and famous ska revival bands like The Special and The Selecter. Once you’ve had your fill of musical history you can buy some cool merch in the shop and settle down for a spicy meal at the Simmer Down Caribbean Restaurant.