VISITING a chocolate factory is every child’s dream – and the good news for parents is you don’t have to go to find a golden ticket to get you through the gates of Cadbury’s Bournville factory.
Cadbury World has become one of the Midlands’ premier attractions, winning many awards since it was opened in 1991 by then Prime Minister John Major.
And almost 25 years on people are still piling through its doors in their thousands with the chance to learn more about this great British institution. On the day of our visit anyone not having pre-booked faced a four-hour wait for a slot.
Aside from the free chocolate, of which there is a generous amount on offer, this really is the place to take your children for other reasons.
It maybe the school summer holidays but this is also live history lesson for all ages, telling the story of how chocolate arrives on the shop shelves from its humble beginnings as a cocoa bean via Bournville’s world famous factory that in recent years has become a global centre of excellence for chocolate research and development. It is where every new chocolate product created by the company anywhere in the world starts life.
It also tells the story of the Cadbury brothers who not only ran the company responsible for some of our favourite chocolate bars, they also built houses and leisure facilities for their workforce, and introduced staff benefits such as a set hours working week, sick pay and a pension – things we now take for granted.
Anyway, back to the chocolate and on the way round the many zones you are also taken on a trip down memory lane with interactive displays telling the modern day story of Cadbury’s through the company’s television adverts which have themselves become somewhat iconic, including the one with the drumming gorilla.
But it is easy to forget you are in an actual chocolate factory, and the hour and a half trail does take visitors into operational packaging areas.
Sadly, my visit during the school holidays meant there was little time to read all of the information boards with the stream of people keeping each other moving quickly; the ensuing hustle and bustle also made some of the audio displays difficult to hear and we decided against an hour-long queue for the latest addition – the 4D cinema however with young children it probably wasn’t a necessity anyway.
With that in mind and if the weather is as kind as it was on our visit, you can make this a full day out as there is also large outdoor play area and picnic tables to enjoy. That all helps to make the £15.95 adult and £11.70 child entry fee (family tickets cost around £50) fairly decent value for what is a pretty unique attraction. There is a discount for booking line which is also the only way to guarantee you can get in on a busy day.
Review by Chris Smith.
Picture by Naomi Hands-Smith.