Just minutes away from London by train, Milton Keynes has so much to offer. As a base for people from all over the country Milton Keynes is easy accessible and is on all the main transport Network links across the country. Trains from here travel to Wales, Birmingham, Rugby and Crewe, Glasgow, Inverness, Manchester, London and then onto the South Coast. Coaches link from the Coachway across the country using the National Express Network. Road links are fast using the M1 to the north and south making travelling to and from the centre to your home or to visit places of interest easy.
A short journey away from the George Amey Centre is the home of wartime code breaking. The once secret, now famous Bletchley Park could be visited during your stay to add a historical element to your outdoor education stay. Once you have visited you could practice an air raid drill in the open hall or even in the caves during a caving session. You could even tailor your stay away around evacuation into the safer countryside away from the city.
There are more than enough different activities and exhibitions to occupy most groups for a whole day, from wartime toys to working computers. There's a wartime mini cinema and an outstanding Churchill collection. Lively exciting events are held on special days throughout the year. Have a look inside the ornate Victorian Mansion that was headquarters to intelligence staff during the War. Wander by the Lake, relax and observe the wildlife. Children can let off steam on their new playground.
About 15 minutes away from the George Amey Centre at the very heart of the city of Milton Keynes, Campbell Park is well known as the site of the city's big annual festivals - the City Spectacular and Fireworks Display. But year round its mix of formal gardens, woodland, open countryside and special features make it a fascinating place to visit. You can use the Park as an enhancement of your art curriculum with its sculptures as part of the city sculpture and art trail. Children can enjoy the Labyrinth outdoor puzzle with a working sundial at it’s centre. The views from the park are spectacular and offer sketching opportunities wherever you go.
A City Oasis Built in 1982 as a balancing lake - designed to prevent the River Ouzel from flooding the southern part of Milton Keynes - Caldecotte Lake also provides many opportunities for leisure. Walking, cycling and, of course, water sports, are all popular, and there is an excellent children's play area close to the windmill. But the size of the lake means it's also easy to escape the activity and find a peaceful spot to enjoy the plentiful wildlife.
The distance around the lake is about 4.2km around north and south lakes, providing opportunities for walks in the late afternoon or evening of your stay. The lake can be reached in less than 5 minutes walking distance form the centre through the gated fence of the centre and onto the extensive paths of the Parks Trust.
Caldecotte Lake is an excellent habitat for wildlife. Its birdlife is particularly rich as boats are excluded from some areas. This creates sanctuaries for large flocks of water birds, which can be seen from two bird hides on the south lake, one at the end of the point near the business park and one further round on the south shore.
Milton Keynes Gallery
Milton Keynes gallery in the theatre district hosts several exhibitions during the year, which could be linked to your art curriculum. There are many interactive exhibitions throughout the year, which you could build into part of a residential visit to make it a more global curriculum experience.
Milton Keynes Gallery
Just a few minutes away from the Centre is a recreation centre which offers a chance to extend your activity possibilities. Skydive from £30 per person in term time could be a thrill too far for some, but a great opportunity to benefit communication, self esteem and individual confidence. There is an indoor Snozone facility with skiing and tobogganing a great popular treat. This could be part of preparation for an expedition or skiing journey, built into your residential stay.
A 20 minute journey brings you to local history at Woburn Abbey and its Safari Park. As well as being famous for housing one of the most important private art collections in the world, including paintings by Cuyp, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyck and Canaletto, the Abbey has exhibitions on the impact of war on the site and also houses fabulous furniture, gold and silver collections. You could plan your art curriculum around the collection of paintings, or enhance your history curriculum through experiencing the exhibitions. For secondary students as you walk around the house, find out about Woburn in the 17th Century - one of the most exciting historical times for Woburn Abbey. Life was very political and certainly not boring during the English Civil War. Find out about the family that lived here during that period, their everyday and social lives and how they survived a perilous and uncertain time.
Use the abbey tour to help promote creative writing and encourage podcasting from your students.
Take time to visit the safari park for real life views of animals in their habitat and learn scientific facts that your children will remember.
Less than 15 minutes away from the centre is an Eco-theme park for primary age children. All the activities in Eco-Park lend themselves perfectly to aiding the teaching of the national curriculum and covering topics such as sustainability, healthy living and science. Where would you rather be – in a classroom being told about dinosaurs, or in a boat looking at one face to face?”
In the Land area, guests learn about vegetables, crops and recycling. All the waste from both Eco-Park and Gulliver’s Land is collected in the Recycling Centre and sorted during a live show where the audience is asked whether items should be re-used, reduced or recycled. Another boat ride affords passengers a glimpse of various crops growing, and children can pretend to cook their own food in two kitchen areas.
After a visit to the Eco Park your group could come back to the centre and help in their own food preparation as part of your stay and can make decisions in real life about food choices, healthy diet, exercise and the re-use, reduce, recycle idea. You could use the materials to create art work based on their day for example to create a dinosaur or a sustainable dwelling.
One of the activities we offer here at Caldecotte is a river studies project.
Groups can explore the local river as part of the National Curriculum geography study of a river and can take measurements, study the cross section profile, look at the development of the river, measure the flow speed of the water and so on.
If you are staying away from home then you could use the centre as a base to explore the area as a contrasting locality to your own. As a planned new city Milton Keynes offers a very modern urban environment for students to study from primary curriculum to A level standard with its CBD and primary, secondary and tertiary industrial areas. For other geographical studies there is the opportunity to visit nearby Stony Stratford, a coaching Inn community, Great Linford village with its medieval background and Wolverton with its Victorian railway works. Both historical and geographical studies can be focussed around a visit based in Milton Keynes at the centre. The excellent transport networks around the area make travelling to nearby sites relatively easy if you are without your own transport. A visit to the area would be supported by a trip to the nearby MK museum in Stacey Bushes.
Milton Keynes boasts a fantastic resource in the safety centre. For schools staying at the centre this would be a valuable additional trip. Just 20 minutes away from the centre is Hazard Alley which focuses on the safety of children in many environments including, roads, railways, water and building sites.
Hazard Alley is the first purpose-built interactive centre where children aged 7-12 can experience 12 hazardous scenarios in perfect safety. They encourage children to identify everyday hazards and develop safe strategies to deal with potential emergencies, changing their behaviour to keep themselves and others safe. This is a fantastic opportunity to link safety at the centre and taking part in adventurous activities with safety outside in the real world. The children have the chance to practice making 999 calls and report accidents that require emergency service support.
Bletchley Leisure centre
A short journey away provides groups with the opportunity to visit a local pool. This brand new facility will give groups valuable R&R after the challenges of their adventurous activities.
Bow Brickhill Woods
The nearby Bow Brickhill woods has been wooded since 1086 and offer groups the chance to experience woodland environments and scientific study of habitats and environments, green plants, living things in their environment, food chains, distribution of organisms in an environment and so on. There are many walks which can be undertaken using ordinance survey maps of the area.
Canals in Milton Keynes
The Grand Union Canal gently winds its way through the modern city of Milton Keynes creating a haven of tranquillity in a busy, bustling city. This 200 year old transport system has remained virtually unchanged throughout its long and fascinating history. Canal boats first travelled from London to Birmingham, through what is now Milton Keynes, in 1805.
Just a few minutes walk from the centre the canal can be joined and walks can take place along the two path. You could even take a canoe trip along the canal. One of our great adventures out on the water are our trips along the canal or river.
Another attraction available in the nearby city centre is planet Ice where you can take groups to participate in ice skating for around £10 per session.