10 surprising activities groups can do in Milton Keynes
Date Posted: 25/01/2017
Happy birthday Milton Keynes! With the Buckinghamshire metropolis celebrating 50 years this week, we pick some of the best – and perhaps most surprising – activities for groups to enjoy during a visit.
1. Channel your inner ‘Eddie the Eagle’
SnoZone is an indoor ski slope located inside Xscape centre, and lessons in both ski-ing and snowboarding are available to take part in on real snow. SnoZone caters for all ages and abilities – groups can book onto beginner ski and snowboard lessons. Those who are more advanced can have a go on the freestyle features.
2. Experience the thrill of skydiving
Xscape is also home to an indoor skydiving facility called iFly, which is a vertical indoor wind tunnel that simulates the feeling of skydiving from a plane. Groups can book into a session that includes full instruction, all flight gear, and a personal flight certificate. Parties of six or more qualify for group booking.
3. Walk in the footsteps of Cliff Richard
Fun fact: in 1981, Cliff Richard donned a pair of roller skates and whizzed through the centre of Milton Keynes as well as the shopping centre for a music video for his hit single Wired for Sound. You can watch the video here:
However, if that claim to fame doesn’t draw you in, the 200 shops and restaurants in the Centre:MK certainly will. It’s the city's largest shopping centre and boasts retailers ranging from John Lewis to Apple. Plus, the centre hosts a number of events each year, like the MK Handmade and Vintage Extravaganza taking place this March.
4. Have a sleepover at a theme park
If a theme park sounds like more your group’s kind of ride, head to Gulliver’s land. The family-friendly theme park offers over 70 attractions including rides and shows for visitors to enjoy each day, and groups with children or grandchildren can extend a stay in some of the site’s newest accommodation.
The Adventurers Village offers lodges, tents and dens, with four different themes like the Wild West. The themed lodges and dens can be booked as either an accommodation only rate or as a stay and play package, which includes entry to the theme park.
5. Discover the secrets of World War Two
Milton Keynes also lays claim to being the home of Bletchley Park, a heritage attraction that was once the top-secret home of the iconic World War Two Codebreakers. Today, visitors can explore restored codebreaking huts and a new visitor centre, plus enjoy atmospheric soundscapes, galleries and exhibitions. Group offers are available for pre-booked groups of 12 or more.
6. Spot more bridges than in Venice
Walking groups who might dismiss Milton Keynes as a trail-less destination should think again. With 15 lakes and 11 miles of canals, Milton Keynes reportedly has more bridges than Venice and more shoreline than Jersey. Arrange to go walking around lakes and green parks like Willen or Campbell Park and you won’t see any of the many roundabouts the town is so associated with.
Pictured: Campbell Park.
7. Come face to face with a carnivore
Milton Keynes might be an urban town but that doesn’t mean that groups can’t spot their fair share of wildlife during a visit. Head to Woburn Safari Park for close-up views of lions, tigers, bears and wolves on a drive-through safari, or watch an animal feeding show or a talk about sea lions, birds of prey and reptiles. Group discounts apply to groups of 15 or more people travelling in the same vehicle.
8. Catch an art installation
A number of art features are set to pop up in MK throughout 2017 as part of the 50th birthday celebrations. In October, for example, two large-scale city centre productions are planned. The Stables Theatre will produce an outdoor spectacle inspired by the concept of ‘future cities’, while a collective of MK artists are creating Home Sweet Home, a project where communities can collaborate to create a performance and light piece that the public can go and see.
9. Watch a London show
Groups don’t have to trek all the way to London to see a West End show. Milton Keynes Theatre is often one of the venues on UK tours for a number of musicals and large scale productions that also run in London.
Pictured: Milton Keyne's theatre district.
Dirty Dancing, Evita, The Addams Family and War Horse are just some of the shows coming to Milton Keynes this year. Group rates are available, too.
10. See giants in the city
The annual Milton Keynes Festival of Giants will take place on 25th June at Campbell Park and is worth visiting for the colourful outdoor spectacles and costumes themed around giants.
Live performances, a giant puppet parade, food and drink stalls, art activities and side shows will take place throughout the day. The event is inspired by the Manifesto of Marvellous Facts!, a giant book of facts about Milton Keynes.
For more on #MK50, the 50th birthday celebrations taking place throughout 2017, visit www.mk50.co.uk.