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National Bowl

Thunder perform at the 2006 Monsters of Rock festival

The National Bowl is an entertainment venue in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The site was a former clay-pit (for brick-making), filled in and raised to form an amphitheatre using sub-soil excavated by the many new developments in the area and it has a current maximum capacity of 65,000.[1] The arena is open-air grassland, without seats.

The venue opened in 1979 with gigs by Desmond Dekker and Geno Washington. In 1982 Genesis performed their reunion show here with Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel. In 1992, Sony/Pace bought the venue and re-branded it as The National Bowl, building a permanent massive sound stage. They pulled out in 1996 citing profitability reasons. English Partnerships bought the site in 2000. It is currently leased to a Gaming International/Live Nation UK consortium. In 2012, the original stage was demolished to make way for a new one in time for the Swedish House Mafia concert in July.


  • Recordings 1
  • 2006 Development plans 2
  • 2014 Proposed Development plans 3
  • Elfield Park 4
    • Milton Keynes Motor Auctions 4.1
  • Location 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


2006 Development plans

On 23 January 2006, Gaming International/Live Nation won a further lease in a competitive tender. The consortium made proposals for major developments in a a development summary leaflet (previously linked from the 'Backstage' section of the National Bowl website, now removed).

Gaming International handed The Bowl back to Milton Keynes Partnership towards the end of 2010 – so it is unlikely that any of the plans outlined in 2006 will ever be undertaken – apart from a temporary structure built close to The Bowl in summer 2010 which has a temporary three-year planning permission.

2014 Proposed Development plans

The BBC has reported that an investment company has proposed a new development at the site of Milton Keynes Bowl. This is planned to include the UK's largest water park, and a range of sports facilities and enhancements to the arena. More info here.

Elfield Park

Gaming International already owns Elfield Park, a narrow strip of land on the other side of the A5 from the Bowl, between the A5 and the West Coast Main Line. They cleared a site for the new greyhound stadium there, having recently (2005) purchased it from English Partnerships, and evicted the speedway track and motocross club that had used it for 20 years. Greyhound racing in Milton Keynes was previously at Ashland (since 1966): Gaming International owned that too, but sold it to English Partnerships as a brownfield site for a 350 house development. (The sale of the latter funded the purchase of the former or vice versa). A section of the Elfield Park site is designated[2] as an educational nature reserve.

Milton Keynes Motor Auctions

Milton Keynes Stadium Car Auctions is housed on this strip of land. Car auctions are held there on Wednesday and Friday.


National Bowl is located in Milton Keynes
National Bowl
National Bowl, on Watling Street and Chaffron Way
zoom in

The Bowl is in south central Milton Keynes, at the junction of Watling Street with Chaffron Way, just north of Bletchley. Parking on site (MK5 8AA) is very limited so fans are encouraged to arrive by public transport. In addition to the shuttle buses from Milton Keynes Central railway station, it is also an easy walk (about 2 km (1.2 mi)) from the station using Sustrans National Cycle Route 51 from the south side of the station building.

See also


  1. ^ National Bowl official website
  2. ^ Elfield Nature Park – The Parks Trust

External links

  • National Bowl official website

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