Experiences Lifestyle Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes city break: how to spend 24 hours in (and around) this amazing city

09/08/2022

Milton Keynes has recently achieved its city status at long last! To celebrate, I’m sharing how I spent 24 hours in the city recently and all the fun Milton Keynes things I got to do.

If you still think the only things that Milton Keynes has to offer are roundabouts and shopping, you’re very wrong.

In fact, there are so many exciting Milton Keynes things to do – including entertainment, a plethora of restaurants and attractions, museums, lots of beautiful green spaces and more – making it perfect for a fun city break.

In celebration of this wonderful destination finally achieving city status, I was kindly invited to share some of my favourite parts of Milton Keynes in return for an exciting stay within the city.

24 hours in Milton Keynes

My boyfriend and I started our day with coffee and toasties at Great Linford, where we were delighted to find a wonderful community event and village fête taking place. Whilst Shaun amused himself watching the ducks, I found some bargain books and even won some chocolate in the raffle! I usually find myself in this area of Milton Keynes when I get my hair cut and I’ll usually stop for a coffee at Costa and watch the Starship robots whilst I do.

Read more: 10 fun date ideas in Milton Keynes

A selection of vintage race cars and vehicles at The Silverstone Interactive Museum

DO

After filling our stomachs, we drove over to Towcester to visit The Silverstone Interactive Museum, tickets of which were kindly gifted for this campaign. I’d never had the chance to visit Towcester before now, so it was enjoyable driving through this lovely area and scoping out what pub we wanted to visit for lunch.

Opened in October 2019 – by Prince Harry and Sir Lewis Hamilton! – this fascinating museum is a must for any motor racing fans. However, there’s so much to see and do there that people of all ages would enjoy it, even without any prior knowledge or interest in motor racing.

We spent around four hours exploring the museum and grounds. The experience started on the top floor where we learned all about the history of the sport and the Silverstone track itself. For example, each corner of the circuit is named after different areas of Milton Keynes where the track currently runs through (or has associations with).

An interactive exhibit showcasing the chapel of St Thomas The Martyr at The Silverstone Interactive Museum
Hint: look out for a little doorway in this area of the museum so you can see inside the chapel!
Shaun taking part in an interactive exhibit as part of fun Milton Keynes things to do

I found this section of the museum really interesting as I hadn’t expected to learn lots of history about the area during my visit too!

There were also lots of interactive exhibits on this floor where you could create your own racing car on a virtual screen and race it against someone else’s (I won. Shaun lost.) and sit inside a vintage car.

The ground floor of the museum is host to a collection of iconic racing cars and bikes from over 70 years of racing and we were able to get up close to many of them. Here, we were also able to learn more about what goes into making a racing car and go behind the scenes of what race days involve.

Once we had finished exploring the heart of Silverstone, we headed outside onto the heritage track, where we could walk on the iconic circuit! Understandably, there wasn’t actually much track you could walk on here and it was only a short walk. However, we had access to some of the seating and I was surprised to learn we could sit and watch as drivers practised – so we got to see some action! I thought this was a really nice touch as many people pay to attend race or practice days anyway, so it was a nice bonus to see this during our visit.

A racing suit and racing memorabilia
An example of race day at The Silverstone Interactive Museum
Iconic racing vehicles at The Silverstone Interactive Museum

After our visit to The Silverstone Interactive Museum, we popped into The White Horse for lunch. The White Horse has plenty of links to the racing that takes place at Silverstone and looked like a really pretty pub, so it made sense to grab lunch here. Whilst Shaun opted for a tasty cheeseburger, I went for a lighter chicken and bacon salad which was really filling and had tons of flavour.

Once we’d polished off our plates we wandered over the road to the very beautiful St Michael’s Church, exploring the small grounds and looking at the old gravestones. Then we headed back to the centre of Milton Keynes to check into our hotel for the night.

Other notable things to do nearby

We didn’t have time during this visit, but there’s plenty to do in this area just outside of Milton Keynes, such as The Canal Museum and the Super Sausage Cafe (technically a cafe but also a tourist attraction in its own right).

STAY

Our stay for our Milton Keynes city break was at Holiday Inn: Milton Keynes – Central, which really was at the heart of the city! Nestled between The Centre:mk and The Hub, the location could not have been more perfect for our stay. The hotel offered a restaurant and bar on-site, cheap parking, free WiFi and a health club with a pool and steam room.

The spacious and welcoming executive suite at the Holiday Inn: Milton Keynes - Central

Unfortunately, the Spirit Health Club was not open during our night’s stay but we did have the option to use it the following day. We had, annoyingly, forgotten our swimwear, but we plan to come back one day soon for a swim.

Checking into the hotel ran smoothly and we even chatted to the staff about how much Milton Keynes has to offer – and how a lot of people don’t realise it!

We were kindly gifted a stay in an executive room which was spacious and cosy all at once. We were even treated to a bottle of champagne and some chocolate waiting in our room upon arrival, which was a really lovely touch. The room was ideal and the bathroom was very spacious too, with both a bath and overhead shower. The room also had a small seating area and a lovely book about the history of Milton Keynes.

Our night’s stay was absolutely lovely. The beds were super comfy and the temperature was just right.

We even had a nice view over part of the city from our window. As we were staying on a Saturday night, we did hear a few people leaving The Hub later that night, but by the time it came to go to sleep, we had complete peace and quiet. So although the hotel was close to a lot of bars and clubs, this didn’t affect our stay at all – even with the window open!

The stylish seating area at Marco's New York Italian

EAT

Milton Keynes offers a plethora of restaurants and independent eateries. So much so that it’s often hard to choose where to eat!

Luckily, we were kindly gifted a lovely dinner at Marco’s New York Italian, which was just downstairs and next door to the hotel. The stylish restaurant offered an above-casual and slightly upmarket atmosphere during our evening visit, with stylish art lining the walls and displays of various wines.

Crispy focaccia bread

For dinner, we shared crispy focaccia bread dipped into extra virgin olive oil, followed by Milanese linguine for me and fillet steak for Shaun – with a side of onion rings to share. The linguine was delicious and full of favour, particularly as it arrived with some garlic bread. Unfortunately, there was too much for me to finish, but it tasted wonderful.

Milanese linguine which I enjoyed at Marco's New York Italian
Milanese linguine, large onion rings and garlic bread served at Marco's New York Italian

Shaun’s steak was also juicy and tender, and arrived with roasted vine tomatoes and mouth-watering fries (I stole quite a few for myself!). His only regret was that he didn’t order a bigger steak!

Tender and juicy fillet steak enjoyed at Marco's New York Italian
A classic Mojito

Between us, we tried a few different cocktails too. To start, some classic mojitos of course and then we tried a few other twists on signature drinks – although I cannot remember the names right now. They were certainly yummy though!

The food at Marco’s New York Italian was divine and the service was second to none. The staff were knowledgeable about the drinks we were ordering and the best way to enjoy steak and were also really friendly and attentive.

Breakfast the following morning was also held at Marco’s New York Italian and it was probably the best hotel breakfast buffet I’d ever had. The selection of options was vast, from plenty of different cereals to pretty much everything you could imagine in a fry-up. I went for the classic fry-up with the most delicious fluffy and flavoursome scrambled egg, whereas Shaun went for the more healthy option of fruit.

A filling fry up for breakfast with two pieces of toast, scrambled egg, two rashers of bacon, a hash brown and a hot chocolate

Breakfast filled us up completely and had we had more plans to explore Milton Keynes that day too, it certainly would have set us up for the day!

All in all, we had a wonderful stay at Holiday Inn: Milton Keynes – Central, which was the perfect home base for our city break. There are, of course, so many Milton Keynes hotels to choose from, but what we really loved was not only how central our stay was, but that we had everything we needed under one roof.

If you want a relaxing spa visit or a dip in the pool during your visit to Milton Keynes, Holiday Inn: Milton Keynes – Central had that. It also offered a bar and really great restaurant on site, but if you don’t fancy Italian or want a bar that has more going on, The Hub is just a few minutes’ walk nearby.

There’s also so much to do in Milton Keynes. From snowboarding at the Xscape or trying your hand at an escape room, to playing vintage arcade games at The Pixel Bunker or visiting The National Film & Sci-Fi Museum nearby.

You could also take a scenic drive to Towcester like us and spend an afternoon exploring The Silverstone Interactive Museum – followed by a pub lunch at The White Horse.

We had the perfect city break in Milton Keynes, which just goes to show that it has so much more to offer than just roundabouts and shopping.

How would you spend 24 hours in Milton Keynes? Let me know your thoughts in a comment below.

*Please note, although this experience and hotel stay was gifted for review purposes, my opinion is entirely unbiased and honest.

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