Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre

St Marys Chapel at Bradwell Abbey, a Medieval site in Milton Keynes
Guided tours icon Library icon Study area icon Wheelchair access icon

The City Discovery Centre was set up in 1987; we are an educational charity aiming to further understanding of the history and unique geography of Milton Keynes.

In order to promote a greater appreciation of the historical, natural and built environments of Milton Keynes, MKCDC works with schools, universities, international delegations, local people and many more. We host educational visits, city tours, open days, heritage events amongst our range of activities.

Our urban geography education uses Milton Keynes as a case study; to inform and educate the public about urban geography and urban planning/design, and its role in the future development of Milton Keynes; to promote geography as a subject in schools; to promote careers related to geography as a subject; and to deliver history activity days covering the Roman, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart periods.

MKCDC is based at Bradwell Abbey, the site and remains of a medieval Benedictine Priory and Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Venue Type:

Archive, Sacred space, Heritage site, Garden, parklands or rural site

Opening hours

Office 9am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday
You are very welcome to visit the library to view images, documents, maps etc. There is desk space available for study. Visits are available through out the year and are arranged by appointment.
Visits by schools, universities and organisations are welcome Monday-Friday by arrangement. Events for the public held on evenings and weekends throughout the year.

Admission charges

We have regular open days throughout the year that are free or low cost. Charges are applicable for organised group visits, such as schools and universities.

Additional info

A beautiful and historic site in the heart of Milton Keynes, offering heritage and urban geography education and services.

Our library is open to the public by appointment only.

To compliment our school visits, we offer themed history shop packs to visiting groups.

The Archive consists of a unique collection of thousands of documents relating to the development of Milton Keynes from its inception to the present day. Much of the material was published by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Examples include:

Census and other data from population, household and employment surveys
Reports on the development of the infrastructure of the new city
Planning documents for the city as a whole and local areas within it.
City maps from 1975 onwards.
Reports of the work done by the Corporation's Archaeological Unit.
Posters and marketing material.

We also hold an extensive collection of documents relating to current plans for the growth of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area.

The Image Collection consists of some 15,000 slides and transparencies of Milton Keynes taken over the last 30 years including; aerial views, buildings, landscapes, parks, waterways, central MK, local centres, sport and recreation etc.

Collection details

Social History, Land Transport, Architecture

Key artists and exhibits

  • Kitchener collection of 1920s black and white photos covering many towns and villages in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area.
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Spooky image of St Mary's Chapel with monk's ghost

Museums at Night: Ghost Walk at Bradwell Abbey

  • 28 October 2016 6-10pm

With 862 years of history Bradwell Abbey has been witness to many stories, and it is rumoured that many of the past residents are said to still linger to tale their tales.
Come and join us on our ghost walk to hear about the history of the site, and the ghostly sightings that have been reported over the years. What will you see?

6pm-6.30pm - Young, Family Friendly Mild Ghost Tours (bring your Teddy!)
7pm-7.30pm - Junior, Family Friendly Ghost Tour (Nail Biting)
8pm-8.30pm - Family Friendly Ghost Tour (Hair Raising!)

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly
Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days: Medieval Family Fun Day

  • 11 September 2016 11am-4pm

Join us as we step into the past and bring the historic site of Bradwell Abbey to life. So much to see and do, talk to our re-enactors, have a go at archery, falconry displays, storytelling and performance, site tours, arts & heritage crafts to make and try, face painting, and more. Refreshments include hot food, tea room and fully licensed bar.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.
Cover of booklet about St Mary's Chapel, Milton Keynes

The Chapel of St Mary - Booklet

Beautifully written and produced, this booklet extensively brings together the history of St Mary's Chapel and it's nationally unique wall paintings of pilgrims and other scenes. With stunning new photography, line drawings, intepretation and descriptions of other relevant sites to give context, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in medieval churches, pilgrimage, religious imagery, the history of Milton Keynes and more.


  • Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre


  • Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre

How to obtain

Mail order or in person from Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre. Please telephone to place your order and to confirm postage costs. Payment will be required by cheque; the booklet costs £5.50.

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
Bradwell Abbey, Alston Drive
Milton Keynes
MK13 9AP

logo: Heritage Open Days 2014






01908 227229


01908 222235

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.