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Things to do in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire

The small market town of Stony Stratford is in north Buckinghamshire on the banks of the Great River Ouse. It is six miles west of Milton Keynes.

Stony Stratford was important in Roman times as a river crossing. It was situated on the important Roman Road known as Watling Street, now the route of the A5. Its strategic location has given the town a rich history.

Stony Stratford was granted a charter by Richard I in 1194 and has held town status since 1215. Livestock markets were held in the market square until the 1900s.

One of the twelve Eleanor Crosses was erected in Stony Stratford in 1291. They marked the route of the nightly resting places as the body of Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, was transported from Lincoln to London.

The original wooden crosses were replaced over time with elaborate stone crosses. Unfortunately Stony Stratford's fine monument was destroyed during the English Civil War.

The Rose and Crown Inn is another historic location where Edward V stayed en route to meet his uncle who became Richard III. The building is now a private house with a plaque on the front wall.

The town was badly damaged by fire in 1742; a maid at the Bull Hotel hid some sheets up a chimney, which caught fire and decimated much of the town including the Mary Magdalen Church; all that remains today is its tower.

Between the 17th century and the 19th century Stony Stratford prospered as a resting place for stage coaches. Inns sprang up to accommodate the 30 or more coaches that arrived every day. Two such hostelries were The Cock and The Bull, in the town centre. This may have been where the saying "cock and bull stories" originated.

The coaching business stopped almost overnight with the opening of the London to Birmingham Railway. The arrival of the automobile and traffic on the A5 once again put the town back in business.

Present Day Stony Stratford

Stony, as it is often known, has a population of 11,800 according to the 2001 census. It is a pretty town with many quaint pubs, restaurants and specialist shops drawing visitors to the area, along with locals.

The streets are lined with old houses and historic buildings including St Mary Magdalene Church Tower on the High Street and Stony Stratford Community Church on Horsefair Green.

Stony Stratford has a weekly market in Timor Court as the market square is now used as a large car park. There is also a monthly farmers' market.

Things to Do Around Stony Stratford

In early June the Folk on the Green is a local folk music festival which is held on Horsefair Green.

The Xscape Centre at Milton Keynes features shops, restaurants and entertainment in the form of indoor sky diving and skiing on a three snow slopes which have real snow.

Bletchley Park was where code-breakers deciphered German coded messages during World War II. It offers a fascinating museum with tours, radar systems and the world's first electronic computer.

Aerial Extreme at Willen Lake is an exciting High Ropes Adventure Course with 50 obstacles to navigate. It is set in a 180 acre park with plenty more family activities.

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