Looking for a group trip that is guaranteed to work? Here’s the first of GTW’s ‘tried and tested’ group itineraries
10.00am Arrive at Woburn Safari Park. Stay on coach to enjoy the road safari, which begins by winding through wide grassy areas with zebra and rhinos. The route then takes vehicles through high security gates into ‘Kingdom of the Carnivores’, home to tigers, wolves, bears and lions.
11.30am Leave coach in car park and enjoy coffee in the Swan Kiosk, which overlooks Swan Lake complete with pedal-powered swan boats. This café serves hot and cold drinks and plenty of cake and pastries.
1.30pm Group meets for lunch in the Safari Restaurant. Groups can reserve a table and enjoy table service by booking ahead by calling 01525 290406 or emailing email@example.com. The restaurant offers a range of hot and cold meals including jacket potatoes, salads and baguettes.
2.30pm Group members look round the rest of the zoo, which includes (among much more) monkeys, wallabies, penguins, meerkats, adorable tiny free-ranging marmosets, irresistible otters and ‘Land of the Lemurs’, where four species of fluffy lemurs have developed a habit of jumping onto the shoulders of visitors.
5.00pm The coach takes the group into the village to The Inn at Woburn, an 18th century property that has been tastefully transformed into modern accommodation. The hotel has 48 comfortable en-suite bedrooms and seven charming additional guest cottages round the central courtyard. The group dines in the hotel’s Olivier Restaurant, which has two AA rosettes. Executive Chef Olivier Bertho provides a superb menu of contemporary English and continental cuisine, served with flair and imagination.
10.00am Coach takes group to Woburn Abbey. Group members visit the 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments and stroll through at their own pace, enjoying the manicured lawns, colourful flower beds, peaceful woodland glades, ponds, the bog garden, the Doric Temple, rockery and grotto. Information boards throughout explain more about the history and details of the garden and plants. More energetic group members can also explore the 3,000 acre deer park, home to no less than nine species of deer.
12.30pm The group meets up again at the Duchess’ Tea Room to enjoy coffee, tea and cakes, or something a bit more substantial if required. Afternoon tea is said to have originated with Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford, who entertained her friends in the Blue Drawing Room at Woburn Abbey, so the tea room is named after her. Groups can pre-book their refreshments by calling 01525 290333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.30pm Time to see round Woburn Abbey. Groups can pre-book guided tours, or take advantage of the audio tour or the guidebook. Or, they can simply follow the route round the house asking questions of the Room Wardens as they go. Woburn Abbey contains world-renowned collections of silver, gold and porcelain, and one of the most important private art collections in the world, which includes paintings by Reynolds, Van Dyck, Canaletto and Gainsborough. Key highlights include the 21 views of Venice by Canaletto in the Dining Room, which were commissioned by the 4th Duke of Bedford after he visited Venice in 1731. The ‘Armada Portrait in the Long Gallery is another important painting; executed by George Gower in 1588, it commemorates the battle against the Spanish Armada and portrays Elizabeth I as empress of the world and commander of the seas. Highlights of the other collections include a celebrated selection of porcelain from the Sevres dinner service presented to the wife of the 4th duke by King Louis XV and the 4th duke’s wedding present to his second wife Gertrude, which was commissioned from Paul de Lamerie, one of the finest Huguenot silversmiths.
3.30pm The coach returns the group to Woburn village. Group members can take a stroll around the picturesque village, enjoying the wide range of boutique and traditional shops, which sell everything from antiques and art to gifts and clothing.
4.30pm Group reassembles back at The Inn at Woburn for afternoon tea. The ‘Duchess Anna Maria Afternoon Tea’ includes assorted finger sandwiches (including favourites such as smoked salmon, and cucumber with cream cheese), freshly-baked scones with jam and clotted cream and a selection of cakes including fruit cake and chocolate éclairs. The sumptuous spread is served with tea or coffee, and champagne if desired, and is a perfect finish to two days in Woburn.
Info: Discounted joint group tickets are available which include entry to Woburn Abbey, the gardens and deer park (including the Duchess’ Tea Room, Duchess’ Gift Shop and Pottery), and Woburn Safari Park. Benefits include free entry for the group organiser (and a free fam visit beforehand as necessary), coach driver’s/group organiser’s £10 retail voucher, savings on pre-booked guided tours, savings on pre-booked refreshments and meals (including afternoon tea). Group visits, tours and meals must be pre-booked, but no pre-payment is necessary as payment is taken on arrival.
email@example.com 01525 290333 www.woburn.co.uk/groups