Travel like a local.


Cracking the Enigma Code in Milton Keynes, England with Lindsay

Milton Keynes England Lindsay Williams at pillar park at the MK Rose

Lindsay at the 64 pillars at MK Rose.

I’m really excited to interview Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages about Milton Keynes, England. Before meeting Lindsay, I have to admit that I had never heard of this town until she mentioned the Enigma Code from World War II. Lindsay’s suggests taking a detour from London to explore this new city. Although the city was formed in the late 1960s, it has a history that dates back 100s of years. When you visit, you’ll experience a blend of urban planning and historical sites that are well-suited for everyone in your traveling party.

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Best Things to Do in Milton Keynes Lindsay 55Large_City_Centre_night_view

View of City Centre at night. Photo courtesy of Destination Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes, England

Milton Keynes is a “new” city that has a lot to offer. I love how important this city was during World War II in the Allied forces’ effort to crack the Enigma Code. The history and significance are undeniable.

However, as much as the city embraces its role in that defining moment of our eventual victory, the city forges on. A lot of small businesses and startups now call Milton Keynes home thanks to its focus on building leading-edge services and infrastructure. It was recently picked as a top-five city for business startups per 10,000 citizens.

When you visit Milton Keynes, the weather is as you would expect it to be in London. Often foggy and wet, the best time to visit is the Spring or Autumn. The International Festival that occurs every two years during even years is a must-see experience. Guests are treated to 10 days of food, fun, and friends that will create memories you’ll enjoy for years.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Destination Milton Keynes, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

Best Things to Do in Milton Keynes Lindsay Williams 61Large_City_Church_Park1

City Church Park. Photo courtesy of Destination Milton Keynes

Best things to do in Milton Keynes

  • Bletchley Park (reviews) – Bletchley Park is a fascinating place south of the centre. It was the secret base of the World War Two Codebreakers, which is the story of the film The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch. (Some of the film was filmed on location at Bletchley Park!) Your ticket is valid for unlimited returns for 1 year.
  • Bradwell Abbey (reviews) – Scheduled Ancient Monument, urban studies site, district and former civil parish in Milton Keynes, England. The site was once the location of a Benedictine priory that was founded in 1155.
  • Campbell Park (reviews) – Park your car at Campbell Park past the end of the shopping centre for free and walk up through the park to the centre (and you get to enjoy amazing views from the top of the hill in the park on your way!). On your way to town, you’ll also see The MK Rose, a monument of pillars most of which have a date engraved on them and a little explanation of what that day is. My favorite is “Toddle Waddle Day”.
  • Concrete Cows – Just as they’re described, these are concrete cows in the middle of a park.
  • Furzton Lake (reviews) – Explore the shores of this lake and the islands on the south shore.
  • Great Linford Manor (reviews) – Historical exterior buildings, barns, almshouses and pavilions
  • Milton Keynes Museum (reviews) – A museum of what life was like in this town before the city was established in the 1960s.
  • New City Church Milton Keynes – Pretty church overlooking Walton Park
  • The National Museum of Computing (reviews) – Includes a working replica of the Colossus computer that helped break the Enigma Code
  • Willen Park (reviews) – One of my personal favorite places is the Peace Pagoda and Japanese Temple in Willen Park. The Peace Pagoda was the first to be built in the western hemisphere and there’s still one monk who lives in the temple.
  • Xscape Milton Keynes (reviews) – This is an indoor skiing and leisure plaza. In 2015, the shops and Xscape had over 44 million visitors between them. As fun as they are, they are essentially just shops and restaurants.

Best places to eat in Milton Keynes

  • Akasaka Central Milton Keynes (reviews) – Akasaka Japanese restaurant with branches in the centre and in Wolverton. Wonderful little place with great range of Japanese foods inc sushi and beyond. My favorite is yasai udon.
  • Bogota Coffee Company (reviews) – Bogota Coffee at MK Hub, collection of mostly chain restaurants. Independent little coffee shop with great coffee and fun options for non-coffee drinkers too including Nutella Hot Chocolate (my favorite!) and Matcha Lattes. A real hidden gem!
  • The Camphill Cafe (reviews) – Camphill Cafe in Campbell Park. Only open weekdays, staffed by adults with learning difficulties, great vegetarian food. Love their sandwiches at lunch.
  • Made in Sud (reviews) – Made In Sud pizza van. Normally sits in the intu Shopping Centre by Waterstones bookshop. They’ve got a little open fire oven in the van and also do a Nutella pizza too, which is so good.
  • Waterstones (reviews) – Waterstones cafe is my favorite spot for a drink in the centre. They have a quiz night and board game night monthly too.

Best places to stay in Milton Keynes

Here are the best places to stay in Milton Keynes.

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Milton Keynes (reviews) – Hilton Double Tree is at the Stadium MK, home to the MK Dons Football Club (which used to be Wimbledon team in London but was “stolen” by MK when the stadium was built. Wimbledon have since built their new team from the ground up!) The stadium hosted some games during the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and is the finish line for the popular MK Marathon, that’s been voted one of the best marathons in the UK.
  • Jurys Inn Milton Keynes (reviews)

Getting around Milton Keynes, England

The closest airport is London Luton Airport, which is a 30-minute drive to downtown Milton Keynes.

London offers many airport options. You can fly into any of them and take the train to Milton Keynes from Euston.

Lindsay says that you should rent a car if you want to explore beyond the city center. Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around although most locals stick with taxis.

If you need to rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz. Parking is readily available across the city and is free after 6 pm.

If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best Things to Do in Milton Keynes Lindsay 62Large_Furzton_Lake

Furtzon Lake. Photo courtesy of Destination Milton Keynes.

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Lindsay Williams about Milton Keynes, England. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Milton Keynes, England
  • Green dots = best things to do in Milton Keynes, England
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Milton Keynes, England

Who is Lindsay Williams?

Lindsay Williams runs a small business offering private language lessons. She teaches people, groups, and corporations online and in person. Her goal is to help people learn a new language, whether it be with a teacher or on their own.

As someone who travels the world, I love how she inspires people to connect with cultures other than their own. Knowing multiple languages makes it easier to travel internationally and make new friends. And ordering the right thing off the menu because you can read the local language is always a wonderful thing.

Milton Keynes England Lindsay Williams at pillar park at the MK Rose

Lindsay at the 64 pillars at MK Rose.

Here are a couple of articles that she’s written:

I recommend that you sign up for Lindsay’s Little Language Library. It is an ever-growing collection of free downloads for you to enjoy.

You can connect with Lindsay Williams at her website and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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Stay tuned for our next episode

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Conrado enjoying life on a Qatar flight.

Listen to the next episode when Conrado Asenjo of The Millennial Traveler explores the bio bays and historic forts of San Juan, Puerto Rico. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Milton Keynes, England? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes

If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom, check out our other episodes for the region:

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