I have a travel quiz for you.
Where would you have to go on holiday to see or do the following?
Walk round an art installation made of giant musical dresses celebrating great women of history
A troupe of Moroccan acrobats
Musical performances from diverse artists including Evelyn Glennie, Newton Faulkner, Paul Young and Eliza Carthy
Live like a Georgian for a Day
Visit one of the world’s most famous wartime intelligence centers
Take a 26 mile walk through stunning parkland and green space, along canals and around lakes, in the heart of the city but never having to cross a road
The answer is not Barcelona and nor is it Los Angeles or Sydney, although all three would be delighted to put on such crowd-pulling events. The currency is the pound sterling and the locals all speak remarkably good English. What’s more the weather is quite spectacular at the moment and the city is surrounded by beautiful countryside and has excellent transport links.
Yes, it’s Milton Keynes, that stand-out tourist destination where there’s something for everyone. Whether it’s the International Festival, the MK Proms, The Stables, Bletchley Park, The Parks Trust or the Cowper and Newman Museum, skiing, dancing, sailing or just sunning yourself, the city really does appear to have everything one would expect from a classically sunshiny, overseas, holiday destination.
Another thing which might come as a surprise is that the official figures show that more than seven million people a year visit the city contributing around £340 million to the local economy and that 11,000 jobs depend upon tourism.
The relative weakness of the pound following the Brexit referendum two years ago (is it really that long?) has made UK holidays or staycations more attractive in terms of value and if that trend continues as many predict it may, the numbers are only likely to go up.
A lot of people might say that holidaying in your own city is a bit of a dull prospect because they’ve already seen everything it has to offer. But, I would challenge any reader of this article to say they’d seen all of the attractions listed above, here or anywhere else. The fact is there are always places in and around your home city that you’ve heard about but never quite got round to visiting. And of course, you can also feel terribly green by holidaying at home. All that pollution from driving or sailing or, worst of all flying, will be avoided and you can feel noble and public-spirited for avoiding such wickedness.
The accommodation’s cheaper, getting around is so much less complicated and the staycationer can always impress their fellow travelers with their local knowledge including all the best places to eat. It makes you wonder why anyone ever goes anywhere else really…