When I'm having a rubbish day, my poor husband is despatched to the nearest shop to return with a certain bar of chocolate. It's the only one that will do it for me really, from the moment that I remove its trademark purple covering to the moment that the first chunk melts on my tongue; I'm a Dairy Milk girl through and through!
Therefore visiting Cadbury's World in Birmingham is, quite frankly, my idea of Nirvana!
We were fortunate enough to be provided with free entry tickets into Cadbury's World by the marvellous Superbreak who offer a great range of family days out. They also have a great range of Birmingham hotels on offer if you wanted to combine the trip with another break, as we were. They even offer a specific Cadbury World Short Break if you don't have time to search around.
Driving up from Cardiff yesterday, we found that it was really well signposted from the moment you leave the motorway. We drove through the beautiful surrounding area of Bourneville with its chocolate box cottages and idealistic village green, before arriving at the majestic Cadbury's factory.
A little logistical talk here: Parking is not a problem, there is a huge amount around the back of the factory; the queue for tickets is well organised with it being split into pre-booked and pay on arrival; there is a screen up with information showing when the next available tour is if you haven't booked (and there's plenty to do if you do have to wait an hour or two); and the tours leave every ten minutes with another large screen showing displaying which tour needs to queue up at that point. The cafe is large and well stocked, and typical prices for a large tourist attraction. The toilets are plentiful throughout, clean and well-kept. One more practical note; there are oodles of bins for both general waste and recycling throughout the site.
Back to the fun! On joining the tour, each member of your party is given two bars of chocolate; we had a Curly-Wurly and a Crunchie each. My philistine of a husband had never experienced a Curly-Wurly before, which I was appalled at! That was soon rectified, and The Boy quite happily munched his way through daddies (I might have been frugal and kept his for another time!). As you meander through the tale of Cadbury's inception from the discovery of cocoa in Aztec times to the expansion of the Cadbury's factory, there is plenty to keep you informed, interested and nostalgic. Cadbury's have transferred their mixing skills over to blend together videos, displays, the written and spoken word, along with interactive displays to keep everyone interested. This part of the tour is aimed at older children, The Boy was kept entertained by the sights and sounds, but at two years old he wasn't able to fully enjoy it. However, the highlight of this part of the tour for me was the second theatre show with the interactive seating!
Following the history part, there is a walk-around the packaging plant. We were really lucky because it was operational that day and they were packing up none other than my favourite bar of purpleness: Dairy Milk! It was fascinating to see the huge slabs of chocolate in a sterile environment (you're behind a wall with windows in it) and the size of the foil wrapper canisters was astounding. And yes we had a bar of that too! At the end of the tour is a carriage-ride that takes you through a Cadbury's version of 'It's a Small World' and this was one of the best bits for The Boy! He adored seeing all the little moving figures. His second best bit was being given a small pot of liquid Dairy Milk to eat afterwards! Absolutely divine.
At the very end of the tour is a section full of interactive displays. This part contained The Boy's final favourite part of the visit; a very clever and nifty screen which has balls projected onto it. Somehow, they can be bounced around the screen. He had great fun chasing and trying to catch these balls; simple things hey?
There are lots of bargains to be had in the shop, although I can imagine it would be only too easy to spend a small fortune in there. I stocked up on Old Jamaica because I find it impossible to find anywhere else! Additionally, there is another theatre show called 'Essence' around the back of the main attraction, but we didn't go into that because The Boy was getting tired and irritable. However, this is right next to two brilliant children's playgrounds.
I would recommend a trip to Cadbury's World; in hindsight and in my opinion, at two years old,The Boy was a little too young for it, but for three or four year olds and up it is a brilliant trip. And I loved it there!
We were provided with two free adult tickets by SuperBreak. My thoughts and opinions are my own and, as always, honest.