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New Center Parcs Village now open to short break guests

Press release   •   Jun 05, 2014 00:01 BST

Today sees the arrival of the first guests at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, the fifth Center Parcs village in the UK. 

Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire is expected to welcome 350,000 guests in its first year and will inject over £20 million each year into the regional economy.

The new village is set within 362 acres of forest in Bedfordshire and builds on Center Parcs’ 27 years of experience and commitment to providing great family breaks. It is home to Center Parcs’ largest Subtropical Swimming Paradise, along with a state-of-the-art Aqua Sana Spa, 625 lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel, six Spa Suites and a host of restaurants, shops and more than 100 leisure activities. Woburn Forest will be Center Parcs’ closest village to London, just four miles from the M1 junction 13 and only 50 minutes by rail from St Pancras, London.

Woburn Forest will feature all of the ingredients that have been key to the success of Center Parcs over many years and will include some new and exciting designs.

Preparing to personally welcome the first guests to Woburn Forest, Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs, said: “After years of hard work, dedication and passion, we’re thrilled that Woburn Forest is opening today and we’re ready to welcome our first guests. There is already a real buzz around the new village and we hope that families are as excited as we are at the prospect of a short break at Woburn Forest.

"Center Parcs Woburn Forest will provide a massive boost to the area, injecting approximately £20 million per annum into the local and regional economy. In addition to the 1,200 people employed in the construction of Woburn Forest, we have receruited and trained 1,500 employees, 40% of whom are within the 16-24 ager range and 90% live within 15 miles. These are local josb for young local people.

“Everything about the new village is the result of a culmination of 27 years of experience and lots of guest research into what modern families are looking for. We are determined to offer the best short break experience for families, unrivalled in quality by anyone else in Europe.”

New and exclusive to Woburn Forest are the ‘upside down’ Executive Lodges, which have unrivalled panoramic views across the woodland from the first floor family living space. Woburn Forest also has the highest percentage of executive and exclusive accommodation of all the Center Parcs villages. All lodges feature stylish modern interiors and are wooden clad with sloping roofs.

The Subtropical Swimming Paradise is one of the most popular elements of a Center Parcs break with 90% of guests visiting during their stay. At Woburn Forest, there is a wave pool, Venture Cove family play area, Lazy River, Wild Water Rapids and three exciting water rides that are new to Woburn Forest: Tornado, Twister and Typhoon. The stunning clam-shape structure, which sits beneath the treeline, houses more than 6,000 tropical plants that were rescued from areas threatened by deforestation in South East Asia. 

The Shearing House restaurant, inspired by the local area’s farming heritage, has been designed specifically for the new village. Its spacious and relaxing environment offers large sofas, communal kitchen tables and an outdoor terrace with stunning forest views.

Woburn Forest has the biggest, most innovative spa Center Parcs has ever created, a concept evolved from the success of its existing Aqua Sana Spas. Inspired by nature, the Aqua Sana Spa combines different experiences inspired by many of the leading spas across Europe. There are six unique spas to journey through within Aqua Sana, each one with a variety of multi-sensory experience rooms, two of which are the first of their kind in the world. There is also an outdoor infinity pool looking out across the forest views. 

Woburn Forest is one of the largest development projects of its kind in Britain for many years and represents a £250 million investment. Center Parcs owners Blackstone invested £100 million in the project whilst the remaining £150 million was financed from four UK lending banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Joe Baratta, Global Head of Private Equity at Blackstone, said: "When Blackstone acquired Center Parcs in 2006, the fifth village at Woburn Forest was a dream in the midst of a lengthy planning approval process. Today it is a reality, and we are very delighted to have supported this major project. It has brought jobs to the area and will provide a real boost to the local economy. Blackstone is proud of its support of this terrific British success story."

Summer breaks at Woburn Forest in June currently start from £399. 
For more information or to make a booking, call 03448 266 266 or visit: www.centerparcs.co.uk/woburn

Notes to Editors

  1. Center Parcs has five Villages across the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire which opened to guests on 6 June 2014
  2. As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%
  3. Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes over 1.7 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return
  4. The Center Parcs concept is to provide a range of high quality accommodation, shops, restaurants and exceptional leisure facilities, carefully nestled amongst 400 acres of protected forest environment
  5. This concept originated in Holland in 1967, with the first UK Center Parcs opening in 1987. Center Parcs is now a separate entity in the UK, owned by The Blackstone Group
  6. Center Parcs has been awarded the following accolades since 2008: the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection, Visit Britain 5 Star Rating, Hospitality Assured, Biodiversity Benchmark - Land Management, Carbon Trust Standard, Good Spa Guide Award, ISO14001, Investors in People
  7. Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row