21 Facts about Midsummer Place - Destination Milton Keynes
21 Facts about Midsummer Place

21 Facts about Midsummer Place

As the Midsummer Place big 21st birthday weekend approaches, they’ve shared 21 fun facts about the shopping centre from over the years! Can you think of any they’ve missed?

  1. Midsummer Place opened at the turn of the century in the year 2000 – on September 26th to be precise. It cost approximately £170m to build and spans over 40,000m2.
  2. The Milton Keynes Time Machine (Frog Clock) is one of the largest indoor animated clocks in the country and weighs over four tonnes. Conceived by the artist Kit Williams, it combines illusion, intrigue and fantasy within a glorious timepiece, for young and old to enjoy.
  3. The frog clock was built on a pig farm in Cheltenham and took two years to build. It opened over 18 months later than originally planned due to being delayed by the foot and mouth crisis combined with health issues of the artist. The iconic frog clock music was written and composed by Terry Oldfield, brother of Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells fame)
  4. Designed by architect GMW with interiors created by Greig and Stephenson, Midsummer Place’s most striking characteristic, however, is not the mall, but The Boulevard, the vast space reaching up to 18m in height that links the two ends of the mall and also the new extension to the original, ultra-linear mall.
  5. In the final stage of the centre’s build, there were over 1600 people employed to get it completed in time.
  6. Midsummer Place was once home to the infamous Concrete Cows before they were moved to Milton Keynes Museum in 2016, where they currently are today for visitors to see. These are the original cows, not like the ones that are currently in Bancroft Park.
  7. The average distance around Midsummer Place is 500m.
  8. Midsummer Place installed living walls in 2018 to increase positivity, reduce stress and create an eco-friendly space for wildlife. There is also a fairy hiding in the foliage on Level 2.
  9. Midsummer Place and its retailers divert 100% of all waste away from landfill.
  10. Midsummer Place sits atop Midsummer Boulevard which sees the sun rise and set perfectly on the day of the Summer Solstice – celebrated on or around 21 June.
  11. On the South Concourse, above Five Guys, is an 18m-high window with stained glass by artist Ann Smyth, based on the history of Milton Keynes. As part of an outreach programme, local schools were involved in the design research stages. The designs were developed from an eclectic mix of reference; photographs of architect’s models of the area from the 1970s, roman mosaics, local landscape and local history.
  12. Over the years, Midsummer Place has welcomed several celebrities including Peter Andre, Nadiya Hussain, Katie Price, Donny Osmond, Jamie Oliver, Barbara Windsor, Dickie Bird, Cressida Cowell, Ian Botham, Terry Pratchett, Damon Hill, Atomic Kitten, David Essex, Alan Titchmarsh, Martine McCutchinson, Terry Wogan, Peter Shilton, Ann Widdecombe and Paddy Ashdown.
  13. Midsummer Places’ current general manager is Shelley Peppard and has been with the company for nine years. The longest serving member of the team is the maintenance manager, Martin Moran, who has been with the company since June 2000. There’s nothing about the centre that Martin doesn’t know about.
  14. The total number of staff employed at Midsummer Place management and by the retailers is in the region of 1000, part and full time.
  15. Midsummer Place is home to a number of independent retailers including The Indie Collective pop-up, The Dutch Hospital, Made in Sud Pizzeria and Souv-lucky Day. This number keeps on growing!
  16. Footlocker, HSBC, New Look, Zara, Starbucks, Millies Cookies, Toni & Guy, Sports Direct, Charles Clinkard, schuh, Hugo Boss and H&M have all been in the centre since the beginning. Midsummer Place also once had a McDonalds in the centre, do you remember it?
  17. The Midsummer Place HSBC was the first fully digital HSBC store in the UK with no bank tellers at the time of launch.
  18. The flooring through the centre includes hundreds of real-life fossils that date back millions of years. They’re easy to spot but also easily missed – have a look next time you’re in the centre.
  19. There are currently over 100 oak tree descendants of the original Midsummer Oak tree. In 2007, hundreds of acorns were harvested from the oak tree and, with the support of The Parks Trust, they are now flourishing in open fields across Milton Keynes.
  20. Running the centre is a huge operation as is keeping it beautifully clean. Did you know on average we can get through 8700 toilet rolls and 360 mop heads every year!
  21. In 2021, Midsummer Place returned to its original name having been intu Milton Keynes for seven years. The centre team did think about calling it ‘The New Bit’ when intu went into administration, but the idea didn’t make it past planning.