A Travellerspoint blog

July 2011

Little America - Milton Keynes

The "New City" of Milton Keynes

sunny 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.

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The long straight roads of Milton Keynes

The long straight roads of Milton Keynes

The central area of Milton Keynes is dominated by CentreMK, a massive shopping complex that runs for blocks and blocks.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The sun sets on Milton Keynes

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Posted by GregW 02:15 Archived in England Tagged cities Comments (2)

Formula One British Grand Prix 2011

July 10, 2011 at Silverstone

semi-overcast 20 °C

Time again from my quasi-annual trip to see some cars go round and round and round. This year, instead of the Eurostar to Belgium or the night sleeper to Monaco, I took the Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes Southern service to see the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone.

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The track is an almost 6 kilometre long circuit. It is mostly open, so from my seats I could grab a few peaks of the cars at the other side of the track. Mostly, though, I saw the cars coming out the Stowe corner and down a short straight to the Vale corner. I was also right by the pit entrance, so I could see when the cars went in.

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It was a good time, though I was a bit far from one of the screens so didn't actually follow much of the race as it was happening. The crowds were amazing, though. Very different than my time in Monaco a couple years ago. A lot more camping and muddy festival vibe than champagne and yachts. But Silverstone put on a great party.

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It wasn't all mud, though. There was a touch of glamour...
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Post race, there was a music festival / drivers interview session. The bands were famous, or especially great, but it was a lively atmosphere and was probably the closest I'll get to the experience of Glastonbury this year.

Can't see the video - go to Youtube to watch

Three tracks down. Now only another 17 or so to go!

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Posted by GregW 03:42 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged sports events formula_one Comments (0)

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