The "New City" of Milton Keynes
09.07.2011 - 11.07.2011 24 °C
When I went to the British Grand Prix, I stayed in the nearby town of Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes is a "New City," designed in the late 1960s to be a commuter suburban town for London. The location was chosen to be equal distance from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge, both to serve commuters and to eventually become a regional hub. The designers put together a town with wide, straight boulevards to allow ease of traffic movement, and designed the city on various levels to keep pedestrians, local car traffic and through car traffic separated.
With its long, straight roads and newish buildings, the place has the feel of a North American city, especially the newer ones out in the West like Denver or Phoenix.
The central area of Milton Keynes is dominated by CentreMK, a massive shopping complex that runs for blocks and blocks.
The CentreMK contains Milton Keynes most famous work of art, The Concrete Cows. Created by artist, Liz Leyh, the sculpture is three cows and three calves.
On Saturday night, in the spirit of the Americanism that Milton Keynes seem to represent, I had dinner at TGI Friday's, an American chain restaurant that has a few locations in the UK.
Milton Keynes is not all straight roads and concrete, though. The town was designed to be a "City Within the Forest", and there are lots of parks surrounding and within the Milton Keynes area. Outside of the centre, the area is dotted with a number of little villages, some old villages that have been consumed by the growth of Milton Keynes, and some purpose built. A lot of people here in London have talked about how grim Milton Keynes is, and I can see if all you saw of it was the Central area you would think that. But with a 10 or 20 minute walk, you can easily be in a nice park, a dark forest, a tiny village or on the banks of a nice lake.
The sun sets on Milton Keynes