As a lover of chocolate, a trip to Cadbury World sounds like a dream. It is somewhere I have wanted to go for a long time. I had actually been before a long time ago (so long I don’t remember anything about it), but my parents had never been particularly positive about the trip. I also wasn’t in a desperate rush to visit Birmingham, and so it had seemed unlikely that I would get to Cadbury World any time soon. However, as Birmingham is a useful midway point between the north and south (who knew?!) it became a natural meeting point for me and James, meaning that Cadbury World was very much on the agenda last weekend.
After some difficulty getting our tickets as the online booking system wasn’t working, we were ready for our trip and had no idea what to expect. We had both been to chocolate experiences/museums before so couldn’t see how this would be too different. I had read both good and bad reviews online and was slightly concerned that it would be too childish, but we both couldn’t help get excited as we saw the Cadbury sign on the factory.
The self-guided exhibition tour takes you through a range of different zones which cover different topics such as how chocolate first came to England, the Cadbury story and manufacturing techniques. It is suggested that the tour takes approximately an hour and a half, but we spent considerably longer doing it. There is also a 4D cinema experience which is included in the ticket price, and The Bournville Experience which is slightly separate to the rest of the tour. You can enter the tour any time after the time allocated on your ticket. As we arrived slightly early we headed to the 4D cinema experience first, then did the main tour, had lunch and then visited the Bournville exhibition. As with all popular attractions it is advisable to arrive early, but this doesn’t have to be as soon as it opens. Our ticket time was 11am and we were surprised at how quiet it seemed. By 2pm the place was packed! There are a number of tickets available on the day, but to guarantee entry it is best to book them in advance.
Whilst there were some parts of the experience which were very much aimed at children, there is something for everyone. We had great fun, but also learned quite a lot. My favourite fact of the day was that 21,000 giant chocolate buttons can be produced in a minute! Great news if you are a giant chocolate button lover like me! The only part of the day which was slightly disappointing was the packaging plant. You can walk through the zone and see a static packaging production line, but this is not operational or particularly interesting on its own. However, this zone is in the process of being developed so will hopefully be more interesting soon!
You should also be aware as you head through to the packaging zone that you may get stuck in the queue for the green screen experience. This is fine if you want your photo taken, but if not it’s not immediately obvious that you can skip the queue to get to the packaging area. If you do have your photo taken, it’s a pretty pricey souvenir. However I have become quite fond of my personalised dairy milk wrapper.
The big question everyone seems to ask is ‘do you get chocolate included in the ticket price?’ Without giving away too much, yes you do. Expect to receive some on entry and part way through the tour. At the end of the tour you find yourself in the world’s biggest Cadbury shop which is pretty exciting. Whilst there are some great deals, a lot of the chocolate is fairly standard prices but you’ll find yourself forgetting what chocolate usually costs as you try and fill your basket with goodies you’ve convinced yourself are a great price.
Once you’ve completed the tour I would thoroughly recommend heading into the village of Bournville itself. It is incredibly picturesque and is a beautiful place to walk around in the sunshine. It is also home to Selly Manor, which is apparently the oldest house in Birmingham, and was moved to Bournville by George Cadbury. Unfortunately the museum was closed when we were there (it’s only open at the weekend from Easter till the end of September) but we could still admire it from the outside.
Cadbury World was everything I hoped it would be and if you have been considering going, I would certainly recommend it. For now, I’ve stocked up on far too much chocolate but hopefully I’ll be able to return at some point in the future…