Whatever your recreational, social or sporting interests, the wide range of opportunities in and around Cranfield University are sure to offer something for everyone.
Eating and drinking
During your time at Cranfield we can promise that you will never run out of places to eat and drink, both on and off campus. See our Eating and Drinking page for more information about our on-campus restaurants.
Places to eat off campus
If you fancy branching off campus, you will be pleased to find that the surrounding areas of Milton Keynes and Bedford offer a wide range of exciting places to eat including Indian, Chinese, European, Nando's and popular burger joints.
Cranfield University is right at the centre of two very beautiful and interesting worlds: the city of Milton Keynes and the country town of Bedford. Both options are just a few miles away when you join us at Cranfield.
At the heart of Milton Keynes is the city centre, home to the Centre:MK and intu shopping centres. These together form a large, bustling shopping district, comprising over 230 stores. You’ll find high-end fashion stores such as Gap, Topshop/Topman, popular department stores such as John Lewis and Debenhams and an impressive variety of restaurants and snack stalls should you need to take a quick pit stop.
In Bedford, shopping opportunities are less comprehensive than Milton Keynes but all the necessities are available. In this tranquil town, you will find the Harpur shopping centre with 36 well-known and popular stores, from Boots to Primark, and The Arcade where you’re bound to find a ‘one-of-a-kind' item.
Known for its character, Bedford’s popular specialty market is also a place to visit if you enjoy new and fresh food. Be sure to check the website as the markets run on set days throughout the month. You will also find plenty of independent stores from cafés to jewellers pocketed around this cultural town.
Theatre and cinema
Close to Cranfield is the most successful theatre outside London’s famous West End, Milton Keynes Theatre. Here you will find an exciting 1,400 seat theatre where the stage comes to life with musicals, opera, ballet and pantomime.
Within the centre of MK, you will find two multi-screen cinemas bringing you the latest films: Cineworld (also located in Bedford), which is situated within Xscape and has one of the first 4D cinematic experiences, and the new Odeon IMAX near Milton Keynes Stadium.
Museums, galleries and culture
Milton Keynes is a designed city with a culture for art and imagination. Paired with the cultural and historical town of Bedford, there is plenty to see.
If you enjoy seeing how the past helps shape the future, check out Milton Keynes Museum which features displays of life hundreds of years ago as well as the history and development of North Buckinghamshire and South Northamptonshire over the years.
Another intriguing attraction, Bletchley Park, allows visitors to dive into a world of mystery and experience the secret world of the Second World War's code-breaking huts. Bletchley Park includes the National Museum of Computing on its grounds.
Have a passion for art? MK Gallery is a thought-provoking and debate-inducing public gallery offering free access to visitors who wish to see contemporary art featured from around the world. Bedford is home to The Higgins, which showcases a fascinating variety of different exhibitions throughout the year.
Milton Keynes is a sporting city with a variety on offer to excite sporting enthusiasts, regardless of whether you enjoy taking part or watching from the sidelines.
For those interested in motorsports, Red Bull Racing Formula One team has its headquarters in Milton Keynes and occasionally offer tours of the premises. For those interested in the sport without the risk, Simply Race is the UK's premier motorsport simulator venue. And not forgetting the legendary Silverstone circuit, just 15 minutes’ drive away. If you want to experience the thrill of indoor karting, head to Formula Fast Karting where there is a huge indoor track to practise your driving skills.
If winter sports interest you, the place to visit is the indoor real-snow skiing and snowboarding slope, Snozone, at the Xscape complex. You can also watch live ice hockey at Planet Ice which is home to EPIHL team Milton Keynes Lightning, or join in the fun and ice skate with fellow students, family or friends.
Willen Lake offers a variety of water sports including wakeboarding and waterskiing. If you like the high life, the Aerial Extreme high ropes adventure may be the activity for you. Alternatively you can cycle around the lake or try your luck at adventure golf.
For those that are more interested in golfing pursuits, there are 10 golf courses within the city centre and surrounding areas including Woburn Golf Club which is ranked one of the top 100 courses in the UK. There is also iPlayGolf, a state-of-the-art indoor golf centre with six course simulators, to test you to the max.
Adventure seekers will love Airkix Indoor Skydiving, a brilliant and fun opportunity to free fly without the need for a plane.
Live music and nightlife
Milton Keynes is a truly cosmopolitan city and caters to a range of musical tastes.
The Stables was founded by world renowned jazz musicians Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine and is an excellent and intimate place to listen to live music or enjoy a small concert. MK City Orchestra is ideal for a classical night out.
The Xscape features a multiscreen cinema, an indoor ski slope plus nightclubs, shops, restaurants and a casino.
The university bus that everyone can use
Uno provides local transport links from Bedford to Milton Keynes via Cranfield University. The buses run frequently and at regular times each day.
C1 bus route – operated by Uno Bus
Bedford – Kempston – Wootton – Lower/Upper Shelton – Cranfield village – Cranfield University – Milton Keynes Coachway – Kingston – Milton Keynes centre and railway station
C10 bus route – operated by Uno Bus
Bedford – Kempston – Marston Moretaine – Cranfield village – Cranfield University – North Crawley – Newport Pagnell – Milton Keynes Coachway – Milton Keynes centre and railway station
CX Bus Route – operated by Uno Bus
Cranfield – Moulsoe – Central Milton Keynes
Remember to present your University student ID card to gain a student discount on the fare.
For more information, visit the Uno website.
The X5 bus, run by Stagecoach, provides regular services between Bedford and Milton Keynes and to a number of major nearby cities/towns and their respective train stations, including Cambridge and Oxford.
For more information, visit the Stagecoach website.
London is easily accessible via trains from both Milton Keynes and Bedford. MK Central's Virgin Trains service to Euston, in the heart of the capital, takes just 35 minutes, and other major cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester are also covered. Trains from Bedford to central London take around 45 minutes, and there is also a direct line to the coastal town of Brighton.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the National Rail website.