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An image to illustrate living in Milton Keynes.

If you are studying for a full-time research degree, you will need to live within a reasonable travelling distance of Milton Keynes – normally this should not exceed 40 miles or 40 minutes travelling time. So, what will it be like?

Milton Keynes has been home to the OU since 1969. It is one of the fastest growing urban areas in Britain with approximately 215,000 people living in the borough. Whether you want to live it up or relax, there is something for everybody. However, if you do want to travel further afield, we are only 50 miles from London, Oxford and Cambridge and 70 miles from Birmingham. For international travel, London Luton Airport (served by a number of budget airlines) is only 25 miles away.

The Destination Milton Keynes website is full of information about what’s on, where to go, and what the city can offer.


The CentreMK is one of the biggest undercover shopping areas in Europe, and one of the best retail experiences in the UK. For independent boutiques, head to Olney, Newport Pagnell, Woburn Sands or Stony Stratford. There are a number of large shops within 10 minutes’ drive of the campus, at the Kingston Retail Park, and Bletchley.


With indoor skiing, climbing and sky-diving you can exercise whatever the weather, or go outside to surf, sail, wake-board or test your mettle on the aerial rope course. Milton Keynes is home to the National Badminton Centre and the state-of-the-art 30,000 capacity MK Dons football stadium. Whatever your sporting interest, you are likely to find it somewhere in the city. To find out more about sports in Milton Keynes visit MKWEB.


From lively pubs and clubs to the more sophisticated wine bars, there are places to suit you whatever your preference. The hub:MK can cater for all tastes from Italian and French cuisine to flavours from South America and Asia. Xscape in the city centre offers bowling, indoor skiing, a comedy club  and nightclub. The theatre district is packed with restaurants and is a lively place to ‘people-watch’ in the evening.

If you prefer a more traditional setting try the historic coaching town of Stony Stratford. This stretch of the old roman road houses more than its fair share of pubs, and gave rise to the phrase a ‘Cock and Bull’ story.

Parks and waterways

Enjoy 4000 acres of parks and 20 million trees in MK, including a ‘cathedral of trees’ based on the layout of Norwich Cathedral. A specialist cycleway – the redway – weaves through the city making it one of the safest places to cycle in the UK.

There are 15 lakes and 11 miles of canals, and the ‘Blue Lagoon’ in the south of the city has at least 28 species of butterfly, as well as being the site of rare British orchids.

Cultural life

A theatre and gallery complex houses bars and restaurants enhancing Milton Keynes’ social and cultural centre. Bletchley Park, home of the Second World War code-breaking centre, is now a museum. The UK’s first Peace Pagoda can be found at Willen Lake, and the National Bowl is one of the UK’s largest outdoor venues, hosting a wide range of top acts. Experience new talent at the Madcap theatre or listen to jazz and classical artists at The Stables.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.