New Cute Map Journeys Blog coming soon!

Its no secret that I’m a travelling fiend which fuelled my passion for maps and discovery. If you follow me on Instagram @howcutemk you’ll know planning new adventures is one of my biggest pastimes. In fact, nowadays I spend more time planning trips than I do on them!

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of extended time backpacking and road tripping, but nowadays 7-10 day road trips taking in 3 or 4 hotels has become our winning formula. As my husband and I run our own businesses its just not possible to suspend all communication with back home so, before or after sightseeing, we spend the odd hour working and our ‘life is good’ moments often transpire in those moments: sitting in front of a stunning panorama, with a glass of wine, in a beautiful hotel or restaurant with our laptops.

So a new endeavour for 2022 will be sharing our many road trips past and present (illustrated in Cute Maps of course) presenting some of our favourite unique hotels-and-restaurants-with-a-view, top tips and the best vistas we found along the way. The Cute Maps Explorer blog will be a visual treat and something I hope you enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram @cutemapsmk for updates.

Ways to save on your big day without having to compromise

Weddings can be expensive. There, we said it. Finding creative ways to reduce the cost of a wedding without having to compromise on the things you dreamed of, that’s the challenge that faces many couples. Here are a few fabulous ideas to help you create a big day with a small budget:

The wedding car


Turning up at your wedding in a vintage Rolls Royce is the image most will get when they think about the car, but you can have something just as beautiful, or quirky, within your budget. Take the VW Camper, for example – it’s a classic in almost everyone’s eyes and looks absolutely gorgeous with a bit of bunting, ribbons and a few flowers. You can see a couple of beautiful examples in Otis and Barbarella from South Coast Vintage. Maybe you had something else in mind? How about adding a green twist to make your wedding a little more eco-friendly and turning up in a Tesla? What about that friend of yours whose dad drives a Jag? Or that colleague from work with an open-topped sports car? You can still get the perfect car for a lot less than you probably thought.  

The wedding rings


Possibly the biggest single purchase you’ll make for your wedding is the rings, or at least that’s how many people perceive them. They don’t have to be gold; they don’t have to be metal; they don’t even have to be rings at all, assuming you don’t mind joining the growing trend of wedding band tattoos! Neither do they have to be new. Many families pass down jewellery from one generation to the next, so maybe there’s something lurking in a jewellery box somewhere that could be just perfect.  

The wedding band


So you could save a bit by asking Auntie Carol if she’ll sing a few songs, but the chances are you’ll want something a little more professional for the big day. Everybody loves a bit of live music, and you can find some great live bands to hire all around the country. You get to choose the type of band and style of music you want, and your guests get to have a great time. One good tip to save on the cost of a band is to try to find one local to you; that way you’ll avoid too much in travel costs and accommodation. You should also make sure that the band is ‘self-contained’ in that they bring everything they need to perform. The last thing you want is for them to turn up and find they expect you to provide the PA system and microphones.  

The wedding flowers


Flowers make up a big part of the wedding; if nothing else, the catching of the bride’s bouquet is a hotly anticipated event. Picking wildflowers is becoming more popular, especially for those looking at having more natural themes for their day. You can pick just the colours you want or create a multicoloured range, straight from mother nature’s palette.  

If you are looking to keep control over your wedding budget, these are just a few ideas to help you save some money without having to compromise on style. After all, who wouldn’t want to arrive in a classic camper, exchange family heirloom rings, enjoy the colours of nature and spend the evening listening to live music? No compromise at all.    

Local walks in Milton Keynes

Now that the sun is shining, it’s the perfect time to explore some local walks and, being based at MK Arts Centre in the beautiful grounds of Linford Manor, we thought we’d share some local walks in the Milton Keynes area. Milton Keynes is known for being a melting pot of urban and rural landscapes. As a result it has many green open spaces that flow with the original footprint the ‘city’ was built upon enveloping and preserving over 14 villages inside the grid road network. Some popular walking areas are Willen Lake, Ouzel Valley Park, Campbell Park and Caldecotte Lake, but there are always beautiful meadows, parks and little village pockets to be found.

milton keynes walks

The Parks Trust website lists many local walks in and around Milton Keynes including a 25 mile challenge, guided walks, self-guided walks, discovery strolls,  woof walks, health walks and information on the women’s walking network: Whether you’re walking for fun, fitness or just taking the dog for a stroll, there is plenty of truly beautiful places to explore. Ignore the old 1980s reputation Milton Keynes was labelled – get off the grid and look at what’s inside it – it’s beautiful!

Here at Cute Maps we have fortunately designed quite a few walk maps with many local businesses, organisations, charities, parishes and MK Council. ‘A dog walkers guide to Milton Keynes’ compiled by Debbie Greaves and Rob Angell has 14 different dog walks that Cute Maps designed. One of our favourites is Dog Walk 2 that meanders around Loughton and Great Holm. Highlights on this walk are lakeside views, ancient hamlets, the 13th century All Saints Church, one ancient village green and one new village green. Another favourite walk of ours is Dog Walk 8, which takes you through the ancient villages of Woolstone, Woughton and a portion of the scenic Ouzel Valley Park which runs the length of the city. This is an hour and a half walk taking in pubs, riverside and canal towpath sections, historic landmarks, children’s play parks and a village green. All walks in this book have nuggets of useful information that’s perfect for every dog walker, such as dog-friendly pubs, poo bins, parking & grazing areas and the length of road walking. The book can be purchased here:

Another walk we designed was for dance group MOTUS’ event Pedalling the Tracks Although designed for cycling, walkers were also encouraged to the event and it makes a great walk suitable for all types of walkers, predominantly along the old train track the ‘Newport Nobby’ which ran from Newport Pagnell to Wolverton and includes the preserved train station platforms complete with retro station signs. Featuring the Cute Maps studio building, which was formerly an old gatehouse to Linford Manor in Great Linford, we really recommend this pretty walk to locals and visitors.

Recently Cute Maps also designed the ‘Wolverton Town Trails’ boards, whose walks can be found on the app of the same name in the Apple App Store, Google Play store and on Milton Keynes Councils’ website. There are four trails – here’s a peek of the ‘Walk in Railwaymen’s Footsteps’ walk. Look out for the boards in Wolverton planned to be erected later this year!


First Picture- from left to right, top to bottom.

Great Linford Manor-

Ouzel Valley Park-

River Crossing-

Peace Pagoda- Instagram @errazti_93

Unique Bachelorette Party Ideas

If you’re around the age where it seems everyone you know is getting engaged, you may find yourself being invited to bachelorette/hen parties just about every other weekend. And while we all love to celebrate the happiness of our friends, sometimes attending these parties can feel a bit redundant. Luckily, we’re here to provide you with some slightly different ideas on how to throw a bachelorette party that everyone will be talking about for months or even years to come!

Go On A Wine Tour
Most bachelorette parties will include at least some amount of drinking (sparkling wines tend to be a favorite), so why not class it up and inject a little bit of wine education by going on a vineyard tour? Get your girl squad together and arrange for a hired driver to take you from vineyard to vineyard in one of the UK’s stunning wine regions. There are three major wine-producing regions you should consider: Sussex, Kent, and Surrey. Sussex is known for its sparkling wines, thanks to its cooler climate and soil composition; Kent produces delicious whites; and Surrey is home to the Denbie’s Wine Estate, which is one of the biggest wine producers in all of the UK. Poll your friend group to see which kind of wines people like the most, and pick a few vineyards to visit for a fun day of drinking and snacking.

Spend A Day At The Races
The UK horse racing tradition has something in common with bachelorette parties: both activities make people want to put on their prettiest dresses and pop bottles of tasty champagne! In addition to offering bar availability, a high-end racing venue can make a good bachelorette party spot because of its entertainment value and fine dining options. Many of the classier racecourses have renowned restaurants overlooking the races, and some even offer private dining experiences for large groups (like your bachelorette party!). You and your guests will also be free to embrace the races themselves. That can mean going online to find a free wager, and thereby finding a horse to root for. Or if betting isn’t your group’s style, you and the ladies can always just choose a horse at random as well! As a final note, if a day at the races sounds like something the group might enjoy, is that some popular venues (such as Newmarket or Epsom Downs) also happen to have live music during the summer.

Let Your Inner Artist Shine
We all loved doing arts and crafts at birthday parties when we were kids, so why not bring the tradition back into adulthood? In fact, art classes with themes like “sip and paint” have recently gained a ton of popularity all over the world. If you’ve ever done one before, you know that they can be a lot of fun, especially when done with a group of friends (who probably won’t judge your artwork too harshly). And if you haven’t, now is the perfect occasion to try! If you want to have more control over your activity, you could surely set up your own version at home, or at a rented venue. Cute Maps share a studio space with Rachel Baker Artist who runs regular step-by-step simple ‘Liquid Art’ classes local to the Milton Keynes area and offers these sessions for private parties and bachelorette/hen parties in your home. A fun idea would be to have everyone’s final product on display at the wedding reception, and allow guests to vote on who made the best painting!

Photo Credits:
Wine Tour – Hush Heath Estate –
Day at the Races –
Painting party –

Instagram Competition

We are currently having a competition on Instagram to win a Milton Keynes badge and mirror set. (These can be found in the regional map shop here --> All you have to do to enter is
  1. Follow our Instagram account @cutemaps and follow @howcutemk
  2. Like the Cute Maps post
  3. Tag a friend in the post!
It’s that simple! You’ve got to be in it to win it!  

Wedding Garden Game Ideas

What better way to keep your guests entertained during the day than with garden games. Hopefully this post will save you some precious planning time with some ideas! If you’re not up for some diy construction, most garden games can be sourced locally from hire companies, but also look for local ‘play associations’ who often hire them out at a low cost. For brides local to MK, check out  where you can hire giant Ten Pin Bowling and Giant Jenga for £10 each.

Carnival games

Carnival games are great fun for all ages at a wedding, bringing everyone together for some lighthearted competition. Some ideas:

  • Ring Toss
  • High striker
  • Pop a Balloon
  • Spin the Wheel
  • Blow up basketball
  • Hook a Duck

Giant games

Everyone loves giant versions of their beloved game classics. Here are some Gaint Wedding Game ideas:

  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Connect 4
  • Giant Checkers
  • Giant Dominoes
  • Giant inflatable bowling

Lawn Games

Lawn games are an old favourite for weddings. Some ideas could include:

  • Boules
  • Welly Wanging
  • Swing Ball
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Lawn Croquet


To accompany games at your Wedding why not have an activities station! Full of family and adult activities:

  • Dress up Photo Booth
  • Colouring in
  • Hat making
  • Board Game station
  • Video game station


Photo Credits:

Ring toss-

Spin the Wheel-

Blow up Basketball-

Hook a Duck-

Giant Jenga-

Giant Connect 4-

Giant Dominoes-

Giant Bowling-


Swing Ball-

Lawn Croquet-

Welly Wanging-

Photo Booth-

Board Game Station-

Video Game Station-–c296


Top Tips for A Greener Wedding

Typically most wedding days aren’t the most eco friendly event with a huge amount of food waste, thrown away décor, a carbon footprint from guest travel, plastic packaging use and a dress worn just the once. Having a green wedding doesn’t mean you have to wed in a barn or only invite 10 guests, it just means taking a moment to source sustainable and eco-friendly items, often saving you a bit of money and giving your guests some food for thought. Whether you want a green Wedding from start to finish or just some eco-friendly elements, hopefully these tips should give some inspiration.

The Venue:

Your venue choice is possibly the biggest decision a bride and groom can make and incorporating eco-friendly to your criteria can be hard. Choose a local venue – by doing this you’re reducing the carbon footprint of the couple, suppliers and guests travel. If local isn’t for you then try a sustainable venue: barns and farms are considered a typical option for an eco-wedding, but manors and castles, which have all the facilities of a wedding waiting for you, are also an option. Having a good sit down with your venue to find out their best practices with regards food, wines and suppliers, will help you decide if they share your greener vision.


DIY favours are very popular at the moment. Some popular ideas are baked goods, making your own jam (gifted in reused jars), handmade soap and bags of confetti made from dried petals. To inspire those green fingers at your wedding why not consider small potted plants that can double-up as place stings or have wildflower seeds as wedding favours which can be bought in bulk or purchased from charities such as the RSPB. This not only saves money but also helps the environment, saving the bees and aids a charity! It’s a win win! There are so many DIY green Wedding favour ideas, all you need is a little imagination.


When it comes to outfits, taking the greener route can shave a large portion off the more traditional larger budget item. Hiring suits and sourcing a vintage/secondhand dress will save you sometimes thousands and is a big benefit to the environment. There are so many vintage stores that sell designer dresses at great prices. Oxfam have 12 dedicated bridal shops across the country which are worth a visit. If vintage isn’t for you then purchasing a dress from an ethical designer can be another eco element to the special day.

Here are some recommended vintage wedding dress websites-


Cutting back on paper consumption for your wedding would make a huge difference! Here at Cute Maps we offer a Save The Date Email, this saves paper going out to all your guests and still has that wedding flair. Cutting back on paper and wastage is just a general rule of thumb to save you money, time and the environment!


Go Vegetarian! It is increasingly popular in our western society to go vegetarian or vegan so why not please those guests and educate others on the delicious delights of those lifestyles. It can saves you a lot of money sparing your caterer expensive meat purchases and beef is one of the biggest contributors to climate change so even choosing an alternative meat ca make a difference. Furthermore, avoid disposable dinnerware and organic and vegan bakeries are forever increasing their wedding cake offers.


A great way to save on transport is stick to a single venue if going for a civil ceremony or to select venues within close proximity and walk! Walking from your Vows to your reception is a great way to mingle and chat with the guests and can really make the whole day! Another way to save on burning fuel is to book a coach for transport for your guests, a double decker bus can be done up with your own special twist.

There are so many ways you can have a green Wedding day, whether it’s start to finish green or just a couple of these elements to help reduce, reuse and recycle!

Photo Credits:

The Venue/picture 1 –

The Venue/ picture 2-

Favours/ picture 1-

Favours/ picture 2-

Favours/ picture 3-

Outfits/ picture 1-

Outfits/ picture 2-

Outfits/ picture 3-

Food/ picture 1-

Food/ picture 2-

Transport/ picture 1-

Transport/ picture 2-

Transport/ picture 3-

Castle Weddings

A castle wedding isn’t just for those wanna be princess’, but some may believe it’s living the fairytale! Whether you fancy a grand banqueting hall, stunning gardens, towering turrets or a four poster bed luckily we have an abundance of choice of castles in all regions of the UK to suit your every whim. If you aren’t already convinced, check out these stunning castle venues that might change your mind.

Thornbury Castle, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, England This venue is perfect for any traditional wedding with its medieval architecture, stunning Tudor Hall and award-winning food. Tie the knot beside battlements in their perfectly manicured gardens or inside in their beautiful Tudor hall.

Thornbury Castle holds up to 50 guests (120 in marquee) and sleeps up to 50 guests in 28 rooms.

Belle Isle Castle, Co.Fermanagh, Ireland This Castle wedding venue is located on its own enchanted private island. Having a wedding here would be a dream come true, completely secluded from society to just enjoy your special day with those you love. Belle Isle Castle caters for up to 65 guests (200 in marquee) and sleeps 26 guests in 13 rooms.

Whitstable Castle, Whitstable, England A wedding at Whitstable Castle means exclusive use of the castle which is set in stunning landscaped grounds just 200m from Tankerton beach and historic Whitstable harbour. Whitstable Castle caters for up to 52 guests (120 in marquees or sun terrace)

Melville Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland Melville Castle is located 7 miles outside of the stunning city of Edinburgh and secluded in a 50 acre estate. Complete with a grand façade and cute turrets, Melville is a popular choice. Most entertaining involves their beautiful state rooms and elegant ballroom. Melville Castle caters for up to 110 guests (250 in a marquee) and sleeps up to 72 guests in 33 rooms.

Craig-y-Nos Castle, Brecon Road, Swansea, Wales Craig-y-Nos Castle is nestled in the heart of the exquisite countryside of the Welsh Brecon Beacons. Once home to a famous opera singer in the 19th Century, her stamp can be seen in the opulent décor. The conservatory also offers a beautiful setting for the big day. Craig-y-nos caters for up to 50 guests (higher capacity at night)

Photo creds:

Thornbury castle couple-

Thornbury Castle-

Belle Isle Caste-

Belle Isle Castle couple-

Whitstable Castle-

Whitstable Castle couple-

Mellville Castle couple-

Mellville Castle-

Craig-y-nos castle-

Craig-y-nos castle couple-  

U.K Coastal Wedding Venues

What is more romantic than a wedding with a stunning coastal backdrop; and what’s more satisfying than a beach wedding without the expense of a wedding abroad. No matter where you are in the UK your dream coastal wedding venue could be closer than you think.

Newton Hall- Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

This venue caters for receptions on the beach, food in the sand dunes and you can even wed on the stunning Northumberland shoreline. Newton Hall also offers other outside options including atop a hill, on a terrace a stunning and a a rustic and equally impressive garden suite as an inside setting.

Newton Hall has a capacity of 150 ceremony guests and 250 for evening celebrations.

For more information visit their website-

Harvest Moon- Tyninghame, East Lothian, Scotland

Harvest moon is an adorable beach wedding venue nestled behind the dunes of the sweeping East Lothian coastline and offers a truly unique beach wedding experience together with guest accommodation in their several treehouses and glamping tents. If getting sand in your toes isn’t for you their treehouse venue allows for the perfect coastal backdrop instead.

Harvest moon can cater for weddings from 50 – 200+

For more information visit their website-

Sandbanks Hotel- Poole, Dorset

Sandbank Hotel offers an amazing circular Compass Suite or alfresco terrace for your wedding celebration overlooking the golden sands of Dorset’s coastline. Guests can also enjoy authentic Asian cuisine cooked on-site in a dedicated Chinese kitchen.

The compass suit accommodates for 100 guests during the day and 150 in the evening.

For more information visit their website-

Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, Devon

Tunnels Beaches is hidden away on its own private cove in the Devonshire cliffs. Completely secluded from the public this venue gives any wedding that touch of privacy. Couples can choose from a beautiful roof terrace, a contemporary function room or a gazebo overlooking the shores of the private beach.

Tunnels beaches can cater for 88 people in the day and 130 in the evening.

For more information visit their website-

East Quay, Whitstable

This stunning location offers a stunning beach wedding venue full of character located at the end of East Quays harbour, overlooking the pebbly beach. Couples can choose from a mezzanine function room with sea views that caters for 100 guests or a downstairs licensed ceremony area with a dance floor for up to 70 guests. The openness of the venue allows for guests and the happy couple to wander from the venue onto the beach with ease.

For more information visit their website-


Newton Hall-

Harvest Moon-

Sandbanks Hotel-

Tunnels Beaches-

East Quay-

Weddings in a Marquee

We’ve designed several Cute Maps for marquee weddings over the years. This week we’re busting any pre-conceptions and showing you the beauty and endless possibilities, they offer.

Style of marquee

1. Traditional The traditional style marquee is suitable to many wedding styles. The canvas sides and king poles not only help the shape and stability but also give it that distinctive classic feel. The poles, floors and versatile ceiling spaces give you a great canvas to build a stunning environment to fit your style. Canvas, bunting, pom poms, balloons, lanterns, fairy lights, branches & foliage can all be used in impressing inventive ways to create magical results.
2. Pagoda/Canopy These are great if you’re having a destination wedding with reliable weather. For a UK wedding, these are more of a practical but pretty feature than a venue, but as they stand alone without the need for poles they can be placed in almost any location and can be used for chill out lounges, kids areas, bandstands, bars or for the catering.
3. Yurt A vintage or bohemian theme wedding is perfectly placed in a yurt. Its traditional circle shape can be useful for all types of wedding needs from the ceremony area to the main reception, you’re only limited by your own imagination! The trellis walls and ceilings give you a great backdrop to dress and in themselves give a really rustic and authentic atmosphere.
4. Stretch/Capri This style of marquee is a statement piece, suited to contemporary airy summer weddings, but beware the UK weather! Additionally, you are again limited to erecting these in a grassy area but if you’re brave and have the appetite for a fully outdoor day these are a stunning element to your day.
5. Tipi The tipi has taken weddings by storm over the past 5 years. Bohemian, rustic and popular due to its festival feel. As they’re normally modular large or small gatherings are nicely accommodated and they’re also great for all weather types, so there is no need to worry about the changeable UK climate.

Here are some top companies in the U.K to hire wedding/event marquees:

Alternatively, you can buy your own second hand from places like eBay which may work out cheaper than a hire for traditional and canopy styles depending on the size and material. Shop around the hire sites, local companies and second hand options  before making a decision, to ensure you’re getting the one that ticks all your boxes at the fairest price.

Things to consider are access for guests and suppliers, toilet facilities for your guests, running water for guests and catering. Is there access to power or do you need a generator? Is there parking for your guests? These are just a few things to consider before you commit. Fortunately many venues that offer marquees as an option in their grounds have thought of these already, but its always worth asking these questions and if any other practical elements may yield hidden costs. A wedding planner can help take a lot of the stress away from the couple when it comes to planning a marquee wedding. They are often held on private land or at a cross purpose venue such as gardens, farmland or grass etc. If you’re looking for this type of venue local to us at Cute Maps in Bucks or South Northants check out our previous blog story which includes venues Flaxbourne gardens, Stoke Park Pavilions and Crockwell farm.

Photo Credits:
Collage 1, pic 1-
Collage 1, pic 2-
Collage 1, pic 3-
Collage 3, pic 1-
Collage 3, pic 2-