Research degrees
Being an OU research student
Living in Milton Keynes

Living in Milton Keynes

As an OU research student, you’ll probably be living in Milton Keynes, often known as MK.

Getting around

With free car parks on campus (including an electric vehicle charging scheme), road-free cycleways (‘redways’) and public paths, getting around MK is easier than you’d think. There are also many bicycle and e-bike rental locations across MK, including the OU campus.

Milton Keynes offers excellent train links to London and other cities. If you want to travel further afield, MK is only 50 miles from London, Oxford and Cambridge, and 70 miles from Birmingham. For international travel, London Luton Airport is only 25 miles away.

Please see the Milton Keynes Council for up-to-date information on bus timetables, maps and travel updates.


MK has a variety of residential accommodation, and plenty within easy reach of the campus. While we don’t offer on-site accommodation, we have an accommodation advisor, who can help you navigate the process. The Graduate School Team can put you in touch with them.


West End productions, ballet, opera, orchestral concerts, and popular comedians – just a few of the many events hosted in MK’s theatre and gallery complex. Alongside a selection of popular bars and restaurants. The National Bowl is also one of the UK’s largest outdoor venues, hosting a wide range of sport and music events. For those preferring a more intimate venue, The Stables at Wavendon offers top-class musical acts and comedy.

MK is also home to a number of museums and historical sites, including Bletchley Park, home of the Second World War code-breaking centre, and the UK’s first Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake.

Parks and nature

MK is home to 4,000 acres of parks and 20 million trees, including a ‘cathedral of trees’, modelled after the layout of Norwich Cathedral. A specialist cycleway – the redway – weaves throughout the town, making it one of the safest places to cycle in the UK.

There are also 15 lakes and 11 miles of canals, and the Blue Lagoon in the south of the town has at least 28 species of butterfly, as well as being the site of rare British orchids. Woburn Abbey Deer Park, one of the largest private conservation parks in Europe, also affords you the opportunity to mingle with nine species of deer as you walk the public paths.


With many lively pubs and clubs, there are places to suit you whatever your nightlife preference. The Hub, MK, offers plenty of cuisine choices – anything from Italian and French, to flavours of the Southern Americas and Asia.

The Xscape in the town centre also offers an arcade, bowling, and a comedy club and nightclub.

For a more traditional setting, the historical coaching town of Stony Stratford has more than its fair share of pubs, set amongst old Roman roadhouses. Apparently, it’s also where the phrase ‘a Cock and Bull story’ first originates.


Centre:mk is one of the biggest undercover shopping areas in Europe, boasting one of the best retail experiences in the UK. There are a number of shops within 10 minutes’ drive of the campus, at Kingston Retail Park, MK1 Shopping Park and Bletchley.

If independent boutiques are more your style, Olney, Newport Pagnell, Woburn Sands or Stony Stratford have plenty to offer.

And, if you don’t want to leave the house, Milton Keynes is currently home to the world's largest autonomous fleet of robot deliveries, according to Starship, with 120 (if we may say, very cute) robots making regular deliveries to residents.


Whatever the weather, there’s always something sporty to do in MK. Indoor skiing, climbing and sky diving give you the opportunity to thrill seek, whether the sun’s shining or not. If you’re looking for something outdoors, you can surf, sail, wake board or test your mettle on the aerial rope course.

Milton Keynes is also home to the National Badminton Centre and the 30,000 capacity MK Dons football stadium. There’s something for everyone, no matter their sporting interests.


Grand Union Canal, Pennyland, Milton Keynes

Enjoy 4,000 acres of parks and 20 million trees in Milton Keynes.


MK is a fantastic place to live in. I find it welcoming and pretty easy to move around, especially if you love cycling or running.

Emmanuel ZuzaPhD Student, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, email the Graduate School or call +44 (0)1908 653806.