Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve lived in a fair few places around the UK.
We used to move around a ridiculous amount when I was growing up and we spent a good few years living close to Milton Keynes. One of the main things I remember about that time was the shopping centre there, it is literally AMAZING. Well it was literally amazing, I haven’t actually seen it for nearly two decades but I’m sure it’s even better these days.
I can remember it being really long and one of the roads being called something ‘boulevard’ which always reminded me of the Sheryl Crow song, anyway…
I have a guest post for you which gives you lots of useful information if you are planning to visit, and reading it all has made me want to take a trip back there!
Planning your Christmas shopping in Milton Keynes
Christmas seems to come around faster and faster each year, and this year is no different. Before we know it, it’ll be Christmas Eve and we’ll be wondering where all those wasted shopping weekends went. So make the most of the time you have available to you now! Why not get it all out of the way in one fell swoop and plan a full day dedicated to Christmas shopping?
The below should outline everything you’ll need to know when planning a Christmas shopping trip in Milton Keynes.
Why Milton Keynes?
Not just a city of roundabouts, Milton Keynes was practically built for Christmas shopping – it’s a shopper’s paradise! Set in the middle of the country, it’s easily accessible to most via junctions 13, 14, and 15A on the M1 and has both a central train station and a coach station.
It has two main shopping centres: thecentre:mk and Midsummer Place; which house over 250 stores over 1,790,000 ft². There are also open-air markets, retail parks and farm shops.
To make the most of this cosmopolitan city, it’s a good idea to spend a full day there. If you stay in a nearby hotel you’ve got somewhere to rest your tired feet at the end of a long day (and even drop off your purchases in the middle of the day if you like!). This one, for example, will provide you with somewhere quiet to rest your head away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Set in rural grounds in the village of Woughton-on-The-Green, it’s just a seven minute drive from the shopping district.
There are plenty of car parks to choose from near the shopping centres and over 16,000 parking spaces available. But pay attention to the colour code markings on the road and meters as parking throughout the centre is colour coded, so the amount you will pay depends on the colour of the area. You can save a few pounds by parking in the right zone, which will still be very close to the shopping areas. For example, a space in the red zone will cost you £1.20 an hour, whereas a purple zone parking space is just 30p an hour. Bargain! Check out this parking map which shows the locations of the different colour coded areas.
Midsummer Place and thecentre:mk combined make one of the largest covered shopping centres in Europe, so whatever Christmas gift you need you’re sure to find it here – and there’s no better time to go than Christmas. From mid-November through December thecentre:mk is transformed into a winter wonderland with beautiful decorations, Christmas trees, a carousel and a Santa’s grotto.
There are plenty of department stores such as John Lewis, House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer and designer fashion stores like Karen Millen, Hugo Boss and Jaeger.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, be sure to check out the markets and farmers markets in nearby Olney, Wolverton and Stony Stratford.
Remember that shopping isn’t a race: give yourself regular breaks from walking and shopping and keep yourself hydrated! Have a pit stop at one of the many cafés and restaurants in the shopping centres. In the restaurant quarter of thecentre:mk you’ll find Jamie’s Italian, Wagamama, Pizza Express and more; while in Midsummer Place there’s Pret, Starbucks and American diner Ed’s Easy Diner.
If you’ve got time after your shopping trip you should take the time to congratulate yourself for successfully completing your Christmas shopping! Check out the nearby Xscape; it contains an indoor snow dome with real snow and ski slopes, but if you don’t fancy a spot of snowboarding or skiing, you can grab a coffee in the café which overlooks the slope. For the less adventurous of you, there’s also a bowling alley, cinema, gym and casino as well as (more!) shops and bars.
When you’re done, put your feet up at your hotel and marvel in the knowledge that you’re prepared for Christmas. Now there’s just the wrapping to do…
This post is in association with Mercure.