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Center Parcs Woburn Forest
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 June 2014

We have visited various other Center Parcs (Elevedon Forest and Longleat) and would say that Woburn ranks up there with the best. It was under occupied whilst we were there and I think the pool area will get incredibly busy. As others have said on here, the rapids are not as good as at Elvedon and the pool area is not as large but we really enjoyed the new water rides, plus it was great not having to queue as there were so few guests when we were there.
The customer service could not be faulted and all of the staff seem to have taken their training to heart. It was great to see so many happy faces.
Accomodation in the hotel was lovely and we had a wonderful stress free break away from two adult children!
The spa at Woburn is particularly impressive.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Lucinda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,465 - 5,471 of 5,630 reviews

Reviewed 20 June 2014

the site is very hilly the swimming pool is very very poor lazy river poor rapids useless bowling ally bland and no atmosphere hotel nice staff ok the whole site very expensive on food drinks use other center parcs sites till they sort woburn out staff take all the near car parking spaces wish i had gone to a nother site for my break as this site is poor and boring

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank old777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
linda_pike, Guest Services Executive at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, responded to this reviewResponded 23 June 2014

Hi there

Thank you for taking the time to post your review following your recent visit to Woburn Forest.

Whilst we are very proud of our new Village we appreciate your feedback, please be assured that we listen to the views of all of our guests to enable us to make improvements wherever we can.

I do hope that we may welcome you back to Center Parcs at some time in the future.

Kind regards
Linda Pike
Guest Services Executive

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

Woburn Forest Center Parcs feels a bit different from the other ones we've been to in the UK. not massively, but enough. That could be because it's so newly opened, but it's also because it's got the most modern facilities yet and feels very compact. Also, the staff are really friendly and always ask if you're having a good time. I thought that might grate after a while, but it's actually nice!

We stayed in the Pine area near the cycle centre and car park, and it was only a few minutes' walk from the plaza, and only about 3 further minutes' walk from the Village Square. In Elveden we never thought bikes were necessary, and that's even truer here in Woburn. As it's so new it is obvious that there are many trees still to grow etc before it looks as intended, and during our stay there were definitely fewer people than there will be when it's at full capacity. The electronic wristbands are a great idea - they act as keys for your accommodation and lockers, and can be linked to a card to be used to pay for things in the swimming and Aqua Sana. In time they may expand this to enable payment in other places too (if they do, keep an eye on your spending!), but right now it works really well.

The indoor area with badminton courts etc is nicer and less hot than in Elveden, and the sports bar is a lot nicer too. The tennis courts are hidden away a bit, but they are signposted and not too hard to find. The swimming feels a bit different to the other Center Parcs in that there's no place you get a sense of spaciousness like in the others - everything is annexed off a bit. The pool is smaller and shallower here even at maximum depth, which is child friendly I suppose but not so great if you're older. The rapids aren't very rapid, and you get stuck a lot. However the chutes are. Much more exciting than at the other Center Parcs - they are much faster, and you can go in 2s on two of them and in 2s or 4s on the 'big' one! They call them 'rides' and they do have more of a theme park feel to them than just water chutes.

The World of Spa in the Aqua Sana is amazing and is surely the best of any Center Parcs. The perfect way to start a holiday and forget about work!

All in all we had a great time and would consider going back, but it'll be interesting to see what it's like after the plants have grown a bit and the whole place has been in use for a while.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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4  Thank James G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

We stayed for 4 nights 16th June and had a fantastic family stay. I think this was helped due to draining issues in the original 3 bed lodge we d booked as we were upgraded to a 4 bed exec lodge with games den and sauna.... Amazing. Obviously as the park has only been open a week everything is brand spankingly new and the customer service was exceptional but again as it was only 50% full this may change but for us it was great.

We have stayed at Sherwood previously and Woburn does seem a little smaller but maybe that's because all the facilities are closer together. We loved this as it meant hardly any walking anywhere but then we also enjoyed the walking at Sherwood so it's kinda down to personal preference. We did however miss having a country club to walk to like in Sherwood.

Absolutely loved the keyless system - issued a rubber wrist band - especially as you used this to access lockers in the swimming area for free and you could top them with money to save you carrying cash in the swimming pool which again is brilliant.

Loved the beach and the fact the pancake house would serve drinks to the beach.

We took our 8 month old and he had an absolute ball however we did feel it could have done with a couple more soft play areas for him to enjoy. Specifically in the leisure bowl as there was nothing for him to do in there.

Overall a great place and would definitely go back :-)

Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
2  Thank ManPick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014 via mobile

Just got back from a 4 night stay and it was good not hear as it normally is, it seemed a little small and we stayed in a villa in the 800s it's up a steep hill which if u have mobility problem s u will struggle.
On the walk to the center it's very boring with no nice views to look at or little pools to stop at.
Pool very nice if a little small, rapids very poor. All seemed a little compact and no nice walks, room very nice but very hot, shower very poor not enough power to have a nice shower. While I was there the shelf above the toilet came off while I was having a shave resulting in a smashed bottle of aftershave, could not ring guests services as no phone in room and no mobile signal.
Next morning went to guests services and only got a. " I'm sorry about that we will send someone out to fix it " no mention of replacing the aftershave which I thought was very poor.
Would I go back to Woburn maybe but only if other centers were full

Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
Thank Daniel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

We have just returned from a Weekend break, as a much needed rest after my hubby completed 8 weeks of radiotherapy treatment. We just needed chance to chill without having to travel far. Seventeen miles seemed just right, but also very strange. However, once in the middle of the forest, we could have been anywhere.
We stayed at the hotel in one of the self-catering rooms that had a kitchen. Our initial booking of an end room had to be changed due to repairs needing to be done, and we were phoned beforehand and our £19 booking fee was refunded. The rooms were really lovely, very cleverly thought out, I couldn’t fault them. The bed was super comfy, my only gripe was that the pillow cases constantly slide off the satin pillow protector, so several times a night I had to wrestle it back on as it was too hot to lie on, but then I am a fidget in bed! The bathroom was lovely and the large shower was a joy although I would have liked a hand rail of some description as I had a fear of slipping. The kitchen was perfect. Halogen hob, an oven that does everything except sing and dance, a small dishwasher, good-sized fridge and a wine cooler. Alan, the concierge was a darling and couldn’t have been more helpful. A definite asset to the hospitality element of the hotel, and the cleaners were all very friendly too.
The wristbands were a brilliant and innovative idea instead of keys, as they gave us access to the hotel corridors (a good security feature), use of the pool lockers without the need to have cash handy, and we linked them to our debit card which meant that we could pay for food by the pool.
The pool which is the main attraction for most CP visitors (as it is the only free activity) was rather a disappointment. All the pre-opening hype had led me to believe that this was going to be the crème de la crème of pools. The changing rooms were excellent. Spacious, plenty of family rooms, ample showers, a vanity room with hair dryers and straighteners, and large body driers which fit the whole family in for a £1.
BUT
The pool itself, in my opinion, had far too many plants in, almost to the point of being claustrophobic. There were too many hidden areas and it made it difficult to keep an eye on the little ones. We bought day passes for all of our family (6 adults and 6 children aged 8, 3, 3, 3, 2 and 1yrs) for a Father’s Day visit. Regarding security - our visitors who arrived separately, in 3 cars, didn’t even have to give a name or hotel or booking number. Rather surprising after paying £20 per adult and £15 per child for friends to visit – just waved through and told to drive straight in!! Back to the pool. Not only was it markedly cooler than the 29.5 degrees stated, but there is NO real pool to speak of for swimmers - the Wave pool doesn't count as the waves are too violent for young ones, who have to be dragged out every 30 minutes. It is tiny compared to other Centre Parcs, only 1.5 meters at the deepest point, and I dread to think how it will cope with the summer holiday influx, as it was full during our visit, and I did wonder how the lifeguards were managing to keep an eye on everyone. They will have to have some means of restricting numbers just for safety when the wave machine is switched on. Because it is narrower than at other pools when the ‘stormy’ wave mode is switched on they are extremely rough. I was knocked to my knees as I was leaving the pool, and because of the ferocity and speed, I simply couldn’t get up. I was hit in the back of the head by one strong wave and got a severe nose bleed, and had to be rescued!! We were also disappointed that there was not Jacuzzi pool, plunge pool, or just a general swimming area. I can only presume that the 'larger size' stated for Woburn must refer to the size of the facility size, not actual water area. All in all it seemed like a really poor utilisation of the space available.
There are plenty of options for eating out although we didn’t try them all. Everywhere is fairly pricey but I had expected that. We have previously visited Sherwood, and our family regularly visit Elveden. We had our best food at the Sports café; their Fish Shop Platter was amazing, although the service was a bit slow and we had to go and find a waiter. The Pancake house was lovely, and we had a family dinner at Hucks which I wasn’t particularly impressed with, although the staff were lovely and very efficient. Their idea of a child portion of burger is to cut the adult portion in half and present it to two children!!!
The Parcmarket was very well stocked with an excellent choice food, and if we had stayed longer we would certainly have made use of it.
I thought it a shame that a lot of the activities weren’t being used much and can only guess that the cost was prohibitive. Half an hour messing about on the lake would be a pricey £15. Laser combat costs from £22 a person and paintball from £20. Bike hire is £25 for adults and £18 for children so a family of four is looking at just under £100 added on, even without helmets which cost extra, which I think is extremely poor. I feel a better atmosphere could have been created by lowering the prices and tempting people to try things. Let’s face it, an empty badminton court is not making money plus the staff are standing around at a loose end. Lower the prices a bit, it makes business sense.
I know you weren’t at full capacity during our stay but it was perfect for me and enforces the fact that I would avoid peak times at all costs, despite the fact that the cost would more than double as well.
Landscaping has been done as sympathetically as possible considering the huge building project that was involved, and there is plenty of new planting in view which will take some time to establish. Lack of seating or benches on the long walks was a disadvantage if you have mobility problems, but still want to take advantage of the outside areas.
I hope I don’t come across a too negative. There are some excellent points, but also more negatives than I would expect from a business that is building its 5th complex and should have learnt from any previous errors. Woburn should really have been the jewel in the CP crown, and unfortunately it’s more of an upmarket tiara. I would go again, but probably more because of the proximity to my home, and the benefits of not have to travel miles.
I spoke to several families while we were there and I think my views are similar to many others. For couples it is fine, but for those with 2-3 children to please, and a budget to consider, it can be hard to keep everyone happy without spending a fortune.

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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Karen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2014

We stayed for 3 nights from 13th June as a family of four, out two children are aged 6 and 3.

We agree with most comments of the previous reviews.

We are regular visitors to Center Parca and have been to Longleat, Elveden and Sherwood. Woburn is not yet a patch on any of the locations we have previously visited. Staying with a young family the reasons which affected us and lead us to believe this were:

Not enough outside play areas. There are two play parks on the whole site. One is very small. The children liked them both but at other Center Parcs there are more/larger parks. There is not much else for them to do outside at Woburn so they soon tired of the two parks on offer.

No nice walks or routes for a bike ride. Everything was very close together, which on the plus side makes is easy to walk between the plaza/lake/village square but also for us made the park feel small, boring and not very adventurous.

Lack of activities. We left early on the Monday as ran out of things to do and were starting to get a little bored. We have never felt like that at Center Parcs before. Perhaps it is time to introduce some new activities. It didn't feel like all activities that are on offer at other sites were running.

Only restaurants with indoor play areas are hucks, sports cafe and pancake house. Would have been nice if strada and cafe rouge had one too as we would have then dined here for evening meals.

Swimming pool. Kids areas good, but not as good as Elveden. The rapids were good, but it is seriously lacking an outdoor pool space and space indoors for general swimming/jumping in and messing around. Also, other center parcs have little hot pools dotted around, there are none at Woburn. The 2 kids areas should have been combined as one child wanted to be in one area and one in the other. The steps to the children's slides means they have to exit the pool and go past the general walkway in and out of the pool, past the toilets. It was also a struggle to carry inflatables up two flights of stairs to go on the rides.

Village square had no atmosphere.

Sweet shop directly opposite the doors in and out of the swimming pool meaning that children were wanting sweets every time we went in/out of pool. Yes you can say no, but it still causes unnecessary difficulties.

Sports cafe- lovely airy space with great large screen. Could be good, bit doesn't feel like the central meeting place.

It's missing a place like the Country Club that Elveden and Sherwood have.

The main lake is the only lake. Other parks have little ones dotted around that you can stop off at.

On the plus side:

The villas were immaculate, as you would expect.

Staff were all really friendly and customer service could not be faulted.

Free wifi is available everywhere, including the villas

Wrist bands for lockers and villas worked well and meant you didn't have to fumble for keys/change for the locker

Food and drink in The Shearing House was excellent. We had the best fish and chips we have EVER had!

The lake was nice and has it is at a dead end, so no through 'traffic' the kids loved the beach and we loved the fact that the pancake house does a drinks service to the beach.

Looking forward to going to Elveden in November and enjoying all the bits that it seems Woburn is missing.


  • Stayed: June 2014
    • Value
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16  Thank MEP2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
linda_pike, Guest Services Executive at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, responded to this reviewResponded 20 June 2014

Hi there

Thank you for taking the time to post your comprehensive review following your recent visit to Woburn Forest.

I was so very sorry to hear that you were disappointed with many aspects of your stay however, I was delighted to note that you will be returning to Elveden Forest in November.

We look forward to seeing you then when hopefully we can restore your faith in Center Parcs.

Kind regards
Linda Pike
Guest Services Executive

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Additional Information about Center Parcs Woburn Forest

Address: Woburn Forest | Millbrook, Bedford MK45 2HZ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Bedfordshire > Bedford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Bedford
Hotel Class:5 star — Center Parcs Woburn Forest 5*
Also Known As:
Center Parcs Woburn Forest Bedford, Bedfordshire

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