Whatever your recreational, social or sporting interests, the wide range of opportunities in and around Cranfield University are sure to offer something for everyone.
Cranfield is right at the centre of two very beautiful and interesting worlds: the modern city of Milton Keynes and the country town of Bedford. Both options are just a few miles away from campus.
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.
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, Japanese, Nando's and popular burger joints.
Some popular places to eat in Milton Keynes include the Centre:MK, The Hub and 12th Street.
At the heart of Milton Keynes is the city centre, home to the Centre:MK and Midsummer Place 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, 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 speciality market is also a place to visit if you enjoy new and fresh food. 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.
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, and is also home to the National Museum of Computing.
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.
Woburn is also well worth a visit, with its stunning Abbey and Gardens and safari park.
For a comprehensive list of cultural places in Milton Keynes and Bedford, visit the Destination MK and Bedford Borough Council websites.
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.
If you're a fan of motorsport, the Red Bull Racing Formula One team has its headquarters in Milton Keynes and occasionally offers tours of the premises. For those interested in the sport without the risk, Simply Race is the UK's premier motorsport simulator venue. The legendary Silverstone circuit can be found in nearby Northamptonshire. 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.
Home to Milton Keynes Dons FC, you can watch League One football in the 30,000 all-seater capacity state-of-the-art stadium. 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.
If golf is your game, there are 10 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.
Milton Keynes is also home to the National Badminton Centre and Bounce, a 14,000 sq. ft. indoor playground with a sea of wall-to-wall interconnected trampolines, which both adults and children love.
Adventure seekers will love iFLY 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 tastes.
The Xscape is home to several nightclubs, bars, restaurants, an arcade and a casino. The Hub also offers a selection of unique restaurants and bars, such as the Caribbean-themed Turtle Bay or Be At One cocktail bar.
The Stables is an excellent and intimate place to listen to live music or enjoy a small concert. If you want to experience live bands or are looking for an alternative night out, the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes and Bedford's top independent music venue, Esquires, are well worth a visit.
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, as well as Oxford and Bicester.
For more information, visit the Stagecoach website.
London is easily accessible via trains from both Milton Keynes and Bedford. MK Central's Avanti West Coast service to Euston takes just 35 minutes, and other major cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester are also covered. Trains from Bedford to St Pancras 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.
Travelling outside the UK
London Luton Airport is just over 20 miles from Bedford or 25 miles from Milton Keynes, and accessible by a regular train or bus services from both towns.
There are also good links with several airports slightly further afield, including London Heathrow, London Stansted, London Gatwick and Birmingham. There is information about travel from these airports to Milton Keynes or Bedford on their respective websites. National Express runs coaches from several major UK airports to nearby towns.
If you feel like taking a weekend trip to Europe during your time with us, the Eurostar offers a convenient alternative to air travel. Take the direct rail service to London from MK or Bedford and, from nearby St Pancras station, you can board trains to several European cities including Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. (Please note that booking tickets in advance is essential for Eurostar services).