New Center Parcs holiday village opens in UK giving £20m boost


The fifth Center Parcs holiday village in the UK welcomed its first guests this week.

The new £250 million Center Parcs is in Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and will cater for around 350,000 guests a year.

It is expected the holiday village will inject more than £20 million a year into the local economy.

The new village boasts a subtropical swimming area, 625 lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel and restaurants, shops and leisure facilities.

Center Parcs' owners, asset management firm Blackstone, has invested £100 million in the Bedfordshire village, with the rest of the money coming from four banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.

Center Parcs chief executive Martin Dalby said: "After years of hard work, dedication and passion, we're thrilled to be welcoming our first guests to Woburn Forest today and strongly believe the new village has all the ingredients for a very special family break.

"Woburn Forest, set in the undulating woodland of Bedfordshire, opens up the Center Parcs experience to more people in London and south east England."

He went on: "It 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 recruited and trained 1,500 employees, 40% of whom are within the 16-24 age range and 90% live within 15 miles. These are local jobs for young local people."

Last year, Center Parcs welcomed 1.7 million guests to its four existing facilities. The first to open in the UK was Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire in 1987.

Elveden Forest, near Brandon in Suffolk opened in 1989, with Longleat Forest near Warminster in Wiltshire starting in 1994.

The fourth centre near Penrith in Cumbria, now known as Whinfell Forest, was taken over by Center Parcs in 2001.

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New Center Parcs holiday village opens in UK giving £20m boost

Top spot goes to the Milestone Hotel in London, overlooking Kensington Gardens. The grade II listed boutique hotel offers a 24-hour butler service and exceptional facilities including a heated resistance pool, cocktail bar and chauffeur-driven Bentley. "Decadent luxury from and age gone by… worth every one of its five stars and possibly more," says one reviewer.Double rooms from £450.

Rudding Park is set against beautifully landscaped gardens and woodlands. Tripadvisor reviewers rave about this privately owned AA 4 Red Star Harrogate hotel, with has a spa, gym, private cinema and an 18 hole golf course. "All hotels shoud be like this," raved one reviewer. Double rooms from £233.

Within walking distance of historic Windsor Great Park, Coworth Park is a gateway to the breathtaking views and heritage sites that make the southeast of England such a fascinating and rewarding region to visit. An eco-luxury spa and horse riding are just some of the offerings to keep you occupied. "Gorgeous setting, fabulous staff... little extra touches that make it extra special... totally professional and efficient yet the atmosphere is completely tranquil and relaxed," says one reviewer.

Double rooms from £285.

Swinton Park, the former ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton, provides castle accommodation set in 20,000 acres of the rolling Yorkshire Dales. The emphasis here is on good food and the hotel runs a cookery school where you can be taught all the tricks of the trade. "This venue is second to none in its hospitality and customer care... Take a walk through the sprawling grounds and see wildlife and nature close up. The views are stunning," says one reviewer. Double rooms from £165.

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Stay in Alderney's only four star hotel and eat delicious food while overlooking the ocean. Braye Beach Hotel is "Probably the best hotel we have ever stayed in. Service was excellent ... All of the staff have been trained to a high standard and we had no complaints at all," says one reviewer. Double rooms from £75.

Independently owned and managed, Longueville Manor boasts 30 bedrooms and suites, a renowned restaurant and perfect surroundings. It is the island's sole member of the world's finest collection of small hotels and restaurants, Relais & Châteaux. "I would recommend this hotel if you are planning a break to recharge your batteries and experience exquisite surroundings and excellent service," says one reviewer. Double rooms from £100.

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The cubist, modern facade of Casa in Chesterfield doesn't look like it hides a top rated hotel. There isn't a claw-footed bathtub or oil painting in sight: instead you'll find rain showers, LCD TVs and the Cocina restaurant where the chefs use Spanish charcoal-fired ovens to create Mediterranean dishes."We always stay here when we come to Chesterfield, it is brilliant in every way! Couldn't fault it!" says one reviewer. Double rooms from £99.

Situated in the beautiful countryside with wonderful views of the parkland golf courses, the AA 4 star luxury Derbyshire hotel, Morley Hayes is worthy of a top 10 position. From the Penthouse Suite to the Executive Room, the Honeymoon Suite to the Family Room you will be spoilt for choice. "Hotel is first class, the food is excellent. Well worth every penny. You would not be disappointed," says one reviewer. Double rooms from  £200.


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