Milton Keynes doesn’t get great press, whether due to Bill Bryson’s withering assessment in “Notes from a Small Island“, the roundabouts, or the franchising of Football League status.  Having visited it regularly over the last 30 years for activities, football, pubs (see below) and even REM at the Bowl, I have seen its good and bad. I’ve learnt over the years that every town has merits, even my own, so here’s the Balance Sheet for MK in 2015.


  • Easy to avoid on trips from Cambridge to the South-West, ignoring the 20 roundabouts
  • Fast train to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Attractive canal-side walks in pretty much every suburb
  • Plenty of activities for children – Gullivers, Ski Dome, Bowling, cinemas etc etc
  • Bletchley Park
  • Every chain shop and restaurant you’ve ever heard of and a few good independents
  • People who live there defend their town vigorously, which I admire


  • Shopping dominates the town – even the street art shows a family shopping
  • Very little culture in the Cultural Quarter.
  • Flat and with limited walking potential away from the canals
  • Old villages like Stratford are much duller than those in Northants up the road
  • The worst town for pubs in the country.  This year’s lone Good Beer Guide entry is a very average Slug and Lettuce; previous years have seen the Wetherspoons and Beefeater in.  Beer quality is average at best.

Hope that’s fair. At least I got out before the Rugby hordes descended today.


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