Top 5 Parks to Visit in Milton Keynes this Summer

07 August 2023

Across Milton Keynes, there are over 6,000 acres of beautiful and inspiring green spaces that make the city a great place to work, live and play. But with over 40 parks to choose from, deciding where to visit can be challenging. That's why we have asked our team members to vote for their favourite parks to visit this season to help you decide where to explore next.

Here are our five favourite parks to visit in Milton Keynes over Summer:

1. Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

Coming in at number one is Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, a park that offers a delightful escape into a thriving natural habitat. This relatively new park is rich in wildlife and diverse landscapes. There's so much to see and enjoy, from dragonflies, damselflies, and other insects in the wetlands to the wild Konik Ponies.

Since its opening in 2016, the park has now become one of the best sites in Buckinghamshire for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, attracting a wide range of wetland birds and invertebrates due to the thriving floodplain habitats. Head into one of the bird hides and see what you can spot!

The circular route starting from Manor Court Farm takes visitors on an hour-long walk, passing through fields, woods, and the scenic River Great Ouse with its picturesque bridge. What's great about the reserve is its ever-changing environment that shifts throughout the seasons, making it a serene and peaceful place for those seeking the perfect escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

"Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve is a beautiful site with various fascinating wildlife, history and architecture. I also love how passionate local residents and volunteers are about preserving this park - they are very proud to know it so well!"

2. Great Linford Manor Park

Great Linford Manor Park is a captivating park to visit that is well known for its history, which dates back to the Saxon times. So much so that the National Lottery Heritage Fund helped us with funding to 'Reveal, Revive, and Restore' its historical importance. It is now arguably one of Milton Keynes' best parks, featuring many special historical landmarks such as the impressive Manor House, beautiful water gardens, and wilderness areas.

Visitors can enjoy a unique and engaging experience, with plenty of features to keep them entertained, including the playful public art sculptures, self-guided trails, informative interpretation boards and much more...

Overall, Great Linford Manor Park offers a memorable day out blending history, natural beauty, and family-friendly enjoyment. You can learn more about this site with free guided walks from the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park.

"Great Linford Manor Park because it is a beautifully designed historical park. Its proximity to the canal is a real attraction. The renovation work has enhanced the site, and the water features are a nice addition."

3. Ouzel Valley Park

Ouzel Valley Park is a tranquil and picturesque escape to the countryside. Despite being in the middle of Milton Keynes, the park offers a seamless journey along the riverside through a connection of parks perfect for scenic commutes and leisurely strolls. It boasts an impressive scale of open, green landscapes with several biodiversity and archaeological sites where livestock carry out their essential grazing work.

The historical features of Ouzel Valley Park also add to its appeal, guiding visitors through a journey in time with the remains of medieval villages and fish ponds scattered throughout the park. On top of that, the park is also home to the delightful Community Orchard in Woughton on the Green, where several apple trees are free for anyone to pick.

For wildlife enthusiasts, there are many opportunities to spot a variety of species, including Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, and Little Grebes, thanks to the diversity of habitats situated in the area. Altogether, the blend of breathtaking landscapes, historical points of interest, and diverse wildlife is what makes Ouzel Valley Park a true gem in the heart of Milton Keynes, offering a memorable and enriching experience for all who visit.

"Ouzel Valley Park, particularly around Woolstone, is peaceful, beautiful and unspolit. At times it is hard to remember that you are still in the city and not in the countryside."

4. Willen Lake

Milton Keynes' most popular park, Willen Lake, has entertainment for all ages and interests, both on and off the water! The park offers a wide range of activities, making it the perfect day out for families and thrill-seekers alike. From watersports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to thrills at Treetop Extreme, there's something for everyone.

Additionally, the stunning lakeside views also make it an ideal spot for leisurely walks, picnics, and relaxation. Head over to cultural landmarks on the north side of Willen Lake, such as the Peace Pagoda and Medicine Wheel, that add to your day out. At the same time, nature lovers can appreciate the diverse bird species and conservation efforts. With its cheerful and welcoming environment, Willen Lake serves as a hub for various communities to come together in the heart of Milton Keynes.

"Willen Lake is the most family-friendly, diverse and exciting park with something for everyone, whether it is dog walkers, coffee lovers, thrill-seekers or parents looking for entertainment ideas. The team's positive attitude makes it a great day out & it's nice to see different communities, families and groups engaging in outdoor recreation."

5. Caldecotte Lake

Caldecotte Lake boasts a delightful lakeside walk around two lakes surrounded by stunning greenery that transforms throughout the seasons. Ideal for nature enthusiasts, visitors will have the opportunity to spot an abundance of wildlife. Stroll along the south shoreline of the lake which serves as an essential habitat for various creatures. 

Not only that, Caldecotte Lake provides an array of watersports activities, with canoeing, rowing, and sailing clubs offering lessons and recreational activities in the north. The presence of a family-friendly pub, outdoor fitness trail, and play area adds to its overall appeal, making it an accessible and fun destination to enjoy the great outdoors.

"Caldecotte Lake is a very large area that has two lakes. It has a great lakeside walk with plenty of wildlife and watersports to observe. The trim trail/gym equipment facilities are just a bonus."

Honourable Mention: Campbell Park

Even with its iconic features and Grade II status, Campbell Park just missed out on the top 5 but undoubtedly deserves an honourable mention. The city's central park is known for its historic architectural significance and is home to a collection of fascinating public art sculptures and a wide selection of plantings which make up a harmonious blend of nature and modern design. In Summer, meadows bloom, and trees flourish as the park comes alive with an exciting events programme which brings the local community together.

"Campbell Park because it is a well-designed city park with lovely views, interesting art works and an excellent place for hosting events."

We hope these insider tips from our team which care for the city’s parks inspired you to make the most of Milton Keynes’ parks this season. If you’re searching for parks with certain facilities like toilets, play areas or places to eat, head to our park pages where you can use our filters to help find where to visit next.

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