Milton Keynes has more to offer than just roundabouts! If you know where to look, there are some pretty romantic things you can do in this town. Here’s my guide to the best fun date ideas in Milton Keynes for couples.
I’ve officially lived in Milton Keynes for seven months now and boy has time flown. I was a somewhat regular to MK when I still lived in Luton, often driving up to go shopping here, to the cinema or for the occasional gig at The Craufurd Arms or MK11 – so I’ve always known it’s a pretty cool place.
But it’s only since I’ve moved here have I really realized how much Milton Keynes has to offer: especially in terms of fun date ideas!
I have been on full lockdown more or less since early March. That’s over four months! For the first month and half, I didn’t leave the house for anything but food shopping and spent most of my time just playing The Sims at home, ha. Since then – and since lockdown has eased up just a little – I’ve realized there’s a lot of fun dates my boyfriend can still go on. In fact, I’ve found myself exploring Milton Keynes more now than I did before we went on lockdown! Here are some fun date ideas in Milton Keynes – many (but not all!) of which are suitable for the current social distancing guidelines.
Experience an alternative view of Milton Keynes with a cruise
Electra launched a series of public and private cruises on a brand-new fully-electric, 54-foot narrowboat this year. Departing from Campbell Wharf, you can choose from a variety of ‘themed’ public boat rides such as Art Trail Relaxation Cruises, Cream Tea Cruises and Fish and Bubbles Cruises.
For the ideal date night in Milton Keynes, I’d personally recommend the Fish and Bubbles cruise, which is a two-hour leisurely early Friday evening dinner cruise along the Grand Union Canal and includes prosecco and fish and chips on board.
For a fun date day, keep an eye out for their trips that coincide with local events: coming up is a one-way cruise to the Great Linford Manor Park Celebration Event. Why not pair it with a slow stroll back along the canal afterwards?
Learn all about World War Two Codebreaking at Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park is right on our doorstep and any Milton Keynes resident can receive 50% off admission price with the Local Residents Ticket Offer – so it’s a no brainer really! Bletchley Park was once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers but is now a fascinating heritage attraction where you can learn all about the codebreakers and the hard work they did. As well as wartime buildings, informative exhibitions and a cafe, Bletchley Park also offers events such as afternoon tea. It’s the ideal way to spend a day indulging in history.
Go on a Treasure Trail!
If you’ve ever wanted to view Milton Keynes in a different light, why not do so with a guided walk whilst also hunting for treasure?! Treasure Trails offer over 1,200 treasure trails across the UK for people of all ages and abilities, each with varied missions. You could go on a Spy Mission in Buckingham or a Treasure Hunt in Stony Stratford! They even offer bespoke engagement trails to help pop the question to loved ones.
Elsewhere, there are also lots of lovely places to walk in Milton Keynes – especially places like Willen Lake and Caldecotte Lake. But since we’ve tried to avoid the less busy places, it’s meant we’ve been exploring a lot more. Some lovely places I’ve discovered lately has been Lodge Lake (which is also home to the most delicious-sounding Chinese restaurant – I looked on the website!), Ouse Valley Park (which I never pronounce correctly), Linford Wood and The Tree Cathedral. I’ve also recently re-downloaded AllTrails, which finds nice walks/hikes nearby based on user votes, difficulty level, best views and trails less travelled. You can also visit The Parks Trust for a variety of fun self-guided walks, or give Sophie (from Sophie’s Suitcase Travel) a follow on Instagram – she often hikes around Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas and covers some walks on her Instagram.
Go to a (drive through) food festival
This is another really cute idea! Milton Keynes is an absolute hub of independent food venues and vendors, which means there’s often lots of foodie events going on like food festivals! In the summer, you can find a variety of different vendors at events such as Eat Street MK in Stony Stratford or, more local, Street Food Sessions at Middleton pavilion – often with a bar and music too. The only problem is, there’s so much delicious food on offer that you’ll be spoilt for choice!
During lockdown, Street Food Sessions offered socially distanced drive-throughs with a bar and music (also at Middleton pavilion). You simply ordered online ahead of time, collected your order from the comfort of your own car and find a spot safe from anyone else in the adjourning field for your own romantic picnic with hot food.
Take on an escape room
I know escape rooms aren’t for everyone (in fact, nearly every guy I’ve dated has had little to no interest in them), but nine times out of ten, everyone ends up having a good time. My sister arranged for my family and I to go for my birthday and I was convinced it wasn’t my Dad’s thing at all – but he ended up being the best out of all of us and we all found the entire thing really fun!
We went to Locked In A Room in the hub and had a great time – the entire venue is themed (this isn’t just an escape room in the back of a pub etc) meaning there are props and photo opps for after you escape, and there are three different rooms to choose from Timelock (the one we did), Invisibility Gene and Parallax. Escape rooms are a really fun way to get to know your date better – although I’d say only book this if you already know you get on well. I could imagine it would be really awkward to be locked in a room for an hour with someone you don’t get on with! And just be wary: some rooms have a minimum amount of participants so you may be paired with another group too. But this is a good thing because escape rooms can be really hard, so the more people the better!
Play a competitive game of crazy golf
If you love crazy golf as much as me, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a crazy golf course right in the heart of Milton Keynes…although on second thoughts, if you really do love crazy golf, you’ll probably already know this. Mr Mulligan’s Pirate Golf is a sweet little pirate-themed crazy golf course (well, what else can I say to describe it?) in Abbey Hill – which is the most well known one – but there’s also Mr Mulligan’s Lost World Golf in the hub, which is ideal for rainy days.
The indoor courses also have a bar alongside which also serves food, and is, of course, next door to lots of great bars. Both venues offer deals too.
I don’t know about you, but I think a competitive game of crazy golf is a great date idea! Mr Mulligan’s Pirate Golf is super fun – I visited for the first time recently and found it offered plenty of cool photo opportunities, a few different challenges on each hole (such as try to stop your opponent from winning by obstructing the course – see above for my boyfriend’s very sexy attempt, ha!) and even a hole where you had to pull yourself over some water on a makeshift boat. Very fun – and always remember: the loser makes/pays for dinner that night.
Discover some local food independents
Okay, so going out to a restaurant or going for food is a pretty popular date idea for things to do in Milton Keynes for couples but why not skip those popular chain restaurants and instead try some of the amazing independent food vendors Milton Keynes has to offer? You could even make a wish list and try to eat at/order from everything on your list by the end of the year.
I won’t list them all here as foodie guys in Milton Keynes aren’t my forte (don’t get me wrong, I love food but I’m just not very good at writing about it!), but I’d recommend The Greedy Italian for a romantic evening spent gorging on authentic Italian food, Ole Tapas Bar for laid back and tasty tapas and Five Akhi’s for burgers overloaded with flavour and to enjoy by the canal.
Where else can you learn snowboarding any time of year, whatever the weather, without leaving the UK? Milton Keynes is home to The Xscape, a hub of entertainment including restaurants, a cinema, a casino, a climbing wall and more. At Snozone you can learn to ski or snowboard on a 170m long real-snow ski slope, which sounds like a really fun and adventurous date! If that’s too much for you, you can also go sledging! Snowzone also offers a restaurant/bar overlooking the slope to serve you hot drinks and warm you up afterwards.
TOP TIP: Keep an eye out on websites like Groupon or Wowcher for cheaper starter lessons: ideal for fun one-off lessons/dates if you’re not looking to invest money into learning the new skill entirely!
Try an outdoor activity at Willen Lake
I love Willen Lake – it’s a really big place to walk around (so if you’re still wary of it being too busy, as long as you don’t visit at a peak time, you should be fine!) and there’s so much to do there. Not only is it an absolutely lovely place to visit just for a walk or a run, there’s also a variety of activities you can do there. If it’s a hot day, for example, there’s Aqua Parcs – a giant inflatable assault course in the middle of the lake. I have done one of these before in Ibiza and they are a lot harder than they look – but still absolutely hilarious! You can also learn archery and there’s also Treetop Extreme (basically Go Ape), which is something that’s been on my to-do list for about ten years now (haha). There’s also a pub on-site and an area where you can take some little pedalos onto the lake – how romantic! You can choose from cars, dragons and swans – and I’m amazed to reveal that it only costs £20 for 40 minutes – I had no idea it was so cheap!
Head to IKEA
I know this is a weird one…but trust me when I say, when you meet the right person, IKEA is a dream (when it’s quiet). They always say once you meet that person you want to go to IKEA with, that’s it – you’ve found the one. So head down for some home shopping (and inspiration for your dream home) and make time for their famous (and cheap as chips!) meatballs whilst you’re there.
Other notable mentions: go-karting (MK is home to not one but two courses!), The Centre MK (and the new bit!) at Christmas for a wonderful Christmas display, market, and Apres Ski Bar, and seeing a show at the theatre, of course.
What would you recommend as unique and fun date ideas in Milton Keynes? Let me know!