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Despite Lockdown, Oakman Group continues growth with opening of biggest project yet: The Woburn

Woburn’s locals may have been perplexed by the swarms of builders and decorators who have been hard at work in recent weeks on the former Woburn Hotel, now renamed The Woburn.

Part of The Bedford Estates and standing in the heart of one of Bedfordshire’s larger villages, The Woburn, has been closed for over a year. But one of the areas best-known pub companies, The Oakman Group has taken over the lease and their changes to The Woburn’s pub and restaurant interiors.

The 48 luxury bedrooms together with seven cottages within the large courtyard, have helped to create 60 new local jobs, a team that will be led by new General Manager, Christine Wondracek, who is well known in the area. She has run The Oakman Group’s White Hart in nearby Ampthill for the last six years, and she is thrilled by her new responsibilities. “It’s been like waking up a giant who’s been hibernating for a year. My team and I have been discovering so much about this wonderful place, which has responded to our makeover and all our TLC. It’s a joy to watch it come alive again and all it needs now is the buzz that comes from looking after our guests whether they’re dropping in for a drink or staying overnight.”

The first visible change that guests might spot outside is that all cars are being directed to the designated car park, beyond the large courtyard. This has freed up space which now provides a choice of outdoor seating for up 100 guests, including a weather-proof and heated awning on the lawn.

As the doors to the vaulted conservatory-style entrance are opened tomorrow, guests will see a warm and welcoming bar heralding a transformed interior with a focus on comfort and relaxation.

Once inside the 18th century building, guests will be spoilt for choice in the bar and dining areas which have a stylish informality, as well as the friendliness of a traditional English pub.

Providing seating for up to 140, each of the connected public rooms has been redecorated in a distinctive and elegant style creating a great sense of light and space, while the furnishings provide a rare level of luxury in this far-from-typical pub.

As well as well stocked bar, providing cocktails, local ales such as Hornes, teas and coffees, The Woburn’s brigade of chefs will be preparing wide-ranging dishes cooked to order throughout the day. And, with a nod to its inheritance from the old hotel, they will be serving a traditional Afternoon Tea with a choice of home-made cakes and loose-teas specially blended for them by local tea connoisseurs, Two Spoons Tea.

New Head Chef, Matt Stokes, who has been promoted from another Oakman pub, the Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne, is thrilled with his new role: “We’re open from breakfast until late, and all our dishes are all cooked from scratch. Our menu has an all-encompassing range of healthy, freshly prepared, responsibly sourced dishes, some cooked on our Josper charcoal grill, that I’m sure will please every palate and diet in the region. As well as our Mediterranean-inspired dishes, we are also offering some great British classics and a special kids’ menu. For our daily specials, Woburn’s venison will be a regular feature.”

The Oakman Group’s CEO, Dermot King, said: “I think The Woburn could easily become the jewel in the Oakman Group’s portfolio of historic pubs and hotels. Our design and management teams have worked tirelessly on this initial refurbishment so that we could open this week, in time for the summer. With local attractions re-opening, and staycations on the agenda, The Woburn is perfect for those looking for a much-needed mini-break. We think our regulars will be surprised and delighted at how we’ve given each of the areas their own individual character and I’m sure they will quickly find their favourite corner to meet their friends and families.”


Image Credits: Oakman Group