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Review: Cadbury World Factory Tour, Bournville, Birmingham

by Angela Johnson. Published Fri 16 Dec 2011 13:06, last updated: 19/12/11

Christmas is upon us, and, more than any other time of year, my mind always turns to one thing...Chocolate!

During a weekend stay in Birmingham, we decided to visit the wonderous Cadbury World Factory tour, located in Bournville (just south of Birmingham city centre) which really is the perfect family day out any time of year.

Visiting in the busy festive spirit, with the usual tour was given added diversions such as the Christmas Pantomime and the chance to visit Santa. Every visitor, young and old, is provided with several samples of free chocolate which is excuse enough for me to stay the entire afternoon!

The tour begins with a fascinating and educational trip through the history of chocolate in the Mayan Rainforest, where the cocoa bean was first discovered, and later exported by Spanish invaders to bring chocolate to Europe. Many children on our tour were clearly fascinated by the larger than life depictions of Aztec scenes, while munching on the free Crunchies and Curly Wurlys handed out as we entered the tour, it is rather mind-blowing to comprehend that the yummy treats are thanks to such an exotic commodity.

Continuing our journey through the ages, we arrive in the early 19th Century where ‘Chocolate Houses’ (The ‘Starbucks’ of their day) became popular, but in which only the Victorian rich could afford to gather. It is here that the humble beginnings of John Cadbury’s small ‘drinking chocolate’ shop, in Birmingham’s Bull Street, opened in 1824. The scene is brought to life extremely vividly, with video pieces and marvellous scenery there to bring the experience to life throughout the 3 hour tour.

As his business grew, John Cadbury purchased the necessary machines to produce his own drinking chocolate and the business took up larger factory premises in countryside village ‘Bournbrook’ – which they re-named ‘Bournville’ to give their brand a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’!

George Cadbury created a countryside home for his workers, providing them with housing, education and training. Pension schemes for employees and medical facilities ensured a healthy and dedicated work force. George Cadbury was far ahead of his time and regarded the employees as part of his family and treated them well and with recognition for their services. This dedication to the brand comes across as clearly from the modern workers as it must have done back in the 1800s, with staff welcoming every visitor with a genuine smile.

By 1881 the company, taken over by his sons, had mastered the art of producing ‘Milk Chocolate’ in a bar form. Witnessing the genius behind the birth of the ‘glass and a half full’ Dairy Milk we know and love today, gave me goosebumps, and, along with watching the magic of today’s modern machines packaging the many varities of chocolate Cadbury produce, was the closest to the imagined ‘Willy Wonka’ experience secretly craved by all visitors.

There’s plenty to keep the little ones amused, including the Cadabra ride and, not least the chocolate available from the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop in just one of the fourteen different zones that make up Cadbury World. Let’s face it, it’s a day for adults just as much as the kids and we were giddy with excitement as we were treated to nostalgic 70s adverts screened right through to a real-life glimpse of a mechanical version of that now infamous drumming gorilla, along with the chance to have your photo taken in the Cadbury Flake Bath!

9/10 Choc-tastic.

For more information about a visit to Cadbury World, visit www.cadburyworld.co.uk.



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