Milton Keynes is one of England’s new towns, comprising modern settlements specially designed in the 1960s. Located 50 miles from London, it’s now one of the fastest-growing commuter towns in the UK. Despite its new development, it has a rich local history, with previous settlements dating back to at least the Bronze Age. Milton Keynes is noted for its modernist architecture and cultural events. For those visiting Milton Keynes, the new UK ETA requirements being introduced in the United Kingdom should be prepared for. Discover the modern city of Milton Keynes, its museums and attractions with this guide to the new ETA rules.
A History of Milton Keynes
From the Bronze Age to the Industrial Revolution
There’s evidence to suggest the area in and around Milton Keynes has been settled since pre-history. In 2000, metal-detecting enthusiasts discovered the Milton Keynes Hoard. It was acquired and described by the British Museum as among “the biggest concentrations of Bronze Age gold” from Britain. Romans also populated the region, building a Roman Road through the town. In the 1970s, the remains of a Roman villa were discovered alongside pottery and coinage in the construction of a new building complex. This can be visited at Bancroft.
Saxon, Norman and Mediaeval settlements were also built throughout the area, some of which, like the 12th-century Bradwell Abbey, can be visited today. What would become Milton Keynes thrived during the Industrial Revolution, with railway works at Wolverton and Bletchley. The constituent town of Bletchley went on to play a significant role in the Second World War, with the 1883-built Bletchley Park country house being an Allied base of operations for codebreaking by important figures like Alan Turing.
Creating a New Town
Plans to create Milton Keynes were proposed in the 1960s to improve access to housing. The existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton, Stony Stratford and Fenny Stratford were combined alongside villages with a new urban plan design. The result was Milton Keynes, the largest settlement in Buckinghamshire. Unlike other towns in the United Kingdom, a grid road design was proposed with a green space coverage of 25%, while networks of shared walkways for pedestrians and cyclists were also integrated. The town rejected contemporary tastes for high-rises and kept a six-storey height limit within the town centre.
Milton Keynes gained city status in 2022 after decades of campaigning as part of the Queen’s Jubilee honours. Over the years, it has launched many public art projects and monuments that define its idiosyncratic aesthetic. These include the Peace Pagoda, built for a small local order of Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks and the Concrete Cows, created by artist Liz Leyh.
Milton Keynes’s Attractions
Milton Keynes and its associated towns and villages boast a wide number of historic and modern attractions.
Bletchley Park is a Victorian Gothic country estate that played a crucial role as a codebreaking centre during World War 2. The grounds feature numerous museum displays on the history of communications and codebreaking, including Alan Turing’s room. The National Museum of Computing is located next door with a recreated Colossus computer like the one used by Turing for probability analysis.
Milton Keynes Museum
Milton Keynes Museum is located on a former Victorian farmstead and outlines the history of the area, as well as its rural heritage and railway works past. Outside, a full-size replica of the Victorian steam train Bloomer can be found.
Gulliver’s Land Theme Park
Gulliver’s Land is a family-friendly theme park & resort with traditional rides like rollercoasters, water rapids and teacups. There’s also a dinosaur farm park that’s home to T-Rex and Giganotosaurus figures.
The Light Pyramid is a piece of public art at the centre of Campbell Park. It affords broad views across the city and surrounding area. Other sights in the park include Milton Keynes Rose and an Amphitheatre that hosts special events.
Introducing the New UK ETA for Milton Keynes
The United Kingdom has introduced a new Electronic Travel Authentication (ETA) system in a move to improve its border control and security measures. This new system was outlined in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 to better screen and streamline those arriving in the country and to bring the UK’s arrival laws up to date with global changes.
The new UK ETA for Milton Keynes affects non-visa foreign nationals most of all. Under previous rules, visitors that didn’t require a visa for travel to the UK only needed a passport on arrival. Now, they will require permission in the form of an ETA. This affects most Commonwealth countries, European nations and other countries with visa-free travel agreements, like Japan.
The general outline of the UK’s ETA system is developed from the USA’s Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). Similar rules are to be launched in the EU under the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Why Has the ETA System Been Announced?
The UK has announced an ETA system to keep track of the number of people entering and leaving the country. Under previous rules, those arriving in the UK without the need for a visa were not screened before entry, nor were they accurately counted. With an ETA, all visitors will be tracked to determine whether they are eligible for entry. An ETA will be able to flag criminal records, immigration violations and other security concerns.
For individuals travelling to the UK, the ETA system is a straightforward online process that should reassure travellers that they have legal permission to enter. The whole process is streamlined and updated to meet the demands of global travel today.
What Are the Requirements for a UK ETA Application?
Most incoming visitors will need to apply for a UK ETA unless exempt. The requirements of an ETA application include basic information about the person(s) travelling: their full name, date of birth, country of birth and contact information. Applicants must hold a valid biometric passport and provide a payment card to cover the application fee.
Applicants will be screened for criminal records and asked about their recent health and immigration history. At the end of the process, the applicant will receive an application confirmation email and an ETA confirmation letter.
How Long is the ETA Application Process?
The UK’s ETA application process won’t take long to complete. However, it does take a short time to process. ETA’s are expected to take between 48 to 72 hours for confirmation. As a result, applications should allow enough time for this process to be completed before departure.
Failure to complete this process may lead to denied entry, with airlines pre-checking before boarding to ensure passengers are in possession of a valid ETA. Upon arrival in the UK, passengers will access the country through eGates with their ETA confirmations, reducing time at the border.
How Long Will an ETA Typically Be Valid For?
While the details haven’t been fully released, an ETA is expected to coincide with the current UK Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme. That means an ETA will be valid for 6 months.
When Will the UK ETA for Milton Keynes Be Rolled Out?
The UK ETA scheme is in its trial phase, with roll-out from January 2023. Its full implementation for all travellers is expected by the beginning of 2024.
Who Needs to Apply for an ETA, and Who is Exempt?
Most non-visa nationals will need to apply for an ETA before travel. Find a list of all eligible non-visa nationals here.
Nationals that require a standard visa to visit the UK will not need to apply for an ETA. This is because an ETA is included in the visa application process. There are further exemptions for special cases, including resident permit holders and Republic of Ireland passport holders.
Is an ETA required to Travel to Milton Keynes?
Yes. Non-visa foreign nationals visiting Milton Keynes, including EU and Commonwealth nationals, must apply for an ETA when the system launches. Check the ETA FAQ for additional details.
Visiting Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is a vibrant and modern city close to London. It’s also one of the UK’s newest cities, gaining its status in 2022. Despite this age, Milton Keynes has played a crucial role in British history, with attractions like Bletchley Park providing insight into the UK’s wartime activities. A UK ETA for Milton Keynes will be required for visitors from 2023/2024, making preparation essential before making the trip.