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Though it may initially seem remote, Cranfield is conveniently situated between the towns of Bedford & Milton Keynes so when you feel the need to get off campus, there are plenty of things to do.
Milton Keynes (MK) boasts an extensive array of entertainment attractions including cinemas, a theatre, 10-pin bowling, an indoor ski-slope, pubs and restaurants many of which can be found in the unique ‘Xscape’ complex.
Shopping in MK is highly rated with the Centre: MK and Intu:Milton Keynes hosting all the major stores, many of whom offer discounts with the NUS Card. Watch out for the parking zones though, there is a mixture of free and pay-and-display parking in MK, so make sure you know how long you can stay as it’s very easy to get a parking ticket.
Sport in the City is also strongly represented with MK Dons Football Club, MK Lightning Ice Hockey and watersports at Caldecote & Willen Lakes. There are a number of pay-and-play Golf courses and Paintballing is available at ‘Skirmish Central’ near Olney. Visit Destination MK for further information on all things offered in Milton Keynes.
The nearest large supermarket to the campus is Tesco at Kingston, approximately 4 miles away. Many students make use of the Tesco online service for their weekly shop and here’s a hint – get 5 of you round a computer and the delivery charge is only one pound each instead of five. For lovers of the ‘Golden Arches’, Kingston is also the home of the nearest McDonalds.
Many students live in Cranfield village and find it a friendly and welcoming place. You can find take-away outlets for fish and chips, Chinese and Indian food here as well as cafe OSO for coffee and great cakes. There are also 2 supermarkets, Budgens and Co Op plus a couple of pubs, 2 hairdressers and some lovely countryside walks for when you fancy some fresh air.
Situated about 10 miles from the campus is the market town of Bedford. Bedford has 3 swimming pools, the best for swimming is probably the 33m Robinson Pool near Bedford Park. For golfers Bedford has the municipal Mowsbury golf course as well as courses in Stagsden and Great Denham. Check out Love Bedford for more information.
The local bus from Cranfield to Bedford takes up to 1hr and there is a regular service running from the bus stop opposite main reception on campus. Bus timetables for Bedford and Milton Keynes are available at the CSA. Travelling to/from Bedford is made very easy with the train system. Up to 4 or 5 trains per hour leave for London Kings Cross (1hr), with most stopping at Luton Airport Parkway where you can get a free airport bus to take you further afield.
Shopping opportunities in Bedford are less comprehensive than Milton Keynes, but everything is there, as are some other interesting opportunities. At Peacock’s Auction House there are cheap bargains on anything from furniture to bicycles and even cars can be found. Next door to Peacock’s there are two reasonable pizza restaurants, The Cappucino Bar and Santiniello’s where a main course costs £8 – £9.
There are some nice pubs near Peacock’s and walking to the High Street from here you pass both the Castle and the George and Dragon. Most of the pubs on the High Street are now open until at least 1am
The best way to get back from Bedford after a night out is to share a taxi. Four of you are unlikely to have to pay more than £5 each, which will probably be the cheapest part of your evening. Enjoy exploring the area.