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Where Chocolate comes to life!
Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Member Name: cdsmiler81
Cadbury World (Birmingham)
Date: 22/09/09, updated on 23/09/09 (619 review reads)
Advantages: Great for chocolate lovers, free chocolate, modern and interactive exhibition.
Disadvantages: Price of entry, some parts of the exhibition can be boring for younger visitors.
My husband and I visited Cadbury World near Birmingham this past Sunday. I had never been there before, but my husband had many years ago. The only reason we decided to make the journey here was that we'd managed to get £20 worth of Tesco Clubcard tickets to take the sharp edge off the price of entry. We still had to pay over £6 extra however.
The price is a bit much for what you get. It's not a full day out, but the exhibition is very well thought out and designed - so at least you feel like you're paying for a bit of quality.
It's definitely a family day out, however some of the information given can be a bit boring for younger children (or older ones with a short attention span.). The tour details the chocolate making process (with a bit of a thrill ride!), where cocoa beans come from (lovely jungle decorated walkthrough), how Cadburys started, and a brief walkaround around part of the packing area in the factory. This was fascinating for us, well presented through clever video and interactive techniques, but some of the information would go over younger children's heads.
However, Cadbury make up for this by giving free chocolate throughout the tour (packet of buttons and a curly wurly per person on entry, and a dairy milk as you enter the factory part) and there is a gentle ride through a fictional cocoa bean world - perfect for little ones!
Although photography is allowed throughout the Cadbury World exhibition (with the exception of the factory itself), there are two main photo opportunities, conveniently in a location where you can't take pictures yourself, where either Cadbury world staff take it or it's an automated photo during the ride - both of which you are able to purchase later in the tour. Obviously the cost of these photos in its different guises are overpriced. We didn't look closely as we didn't want them, but you'd be looking around £5 per photo!
The demonstration area is fascinating, where members of staff show you the traditional methods of cooling chocolate, writing with chocolate, and creating filled chocolates by hand.
There was a fascinating part of the exhibition called Purple Planet. Cadburys made full use of modern technology here incorporating interactive computer illusions (stamp on chocolates to make them break!) or seeing yourself moulded into chocolate! Very inventive and a great distraction for children!
The main exhibition/tour finishes with you entering the Cadbury shop - which I'll talk about in more detail in a bit - but that's not the end. If you travel outside the building and around to the play area (quite a nice play area from the looks of it - again, we had no children so can't give more of an opinion than that!), you'll find the Bournville Experience and Essence.
The Bournville Experience looks quite dry on entering, but on closer inspection there are interesting videos, an area where you can design your own chocolate bar wrapper (digitally!) and build your own virtual Bournville village in competition with 3 friends.
Essence is possibly the bit most visitors are waiting for! You get a clever 3D video show of the creation of the Dairy Milk, which leads on to you creating your own chocolate! In all honesty, you just get to choose a filling from a variety of options - which possibly change daily - things like popcorn, biscuit, marshmallows etc, and then have it covered with warm melted Cadbury chocolate! When I say covered, I mean SMOTHERED! In all fairness, they're not tight with their chocolate! Imagine a LARGE shot glass filled with chocolate. And what's even better? You don't HAVE to have a filling....just the chocolate. Guess what we did! At the end of Essence, as you're enjoying your large pot of chocolate, there's again a little shop - which is basically a smaller version of the main shop in the main building. It has mostly the same products but not all, but could save you a walk if it has everything you want.
The main shop itself is a decent size. Because of the time of year we encountered a small Christmas product selection, some lovely looking handmade Halloween chocolates, along with many many other Cadbury products - most of which you'll find in normal shops, some not so much. I am really pleased to report that the items are not over priced. They're not cheap, but they are not above the price you'd normally pay for Cadbury chocolate in your local supermarket for example. There's also a factory outlet section - unfortunately there wasn't much in there the day we visited, which is a shame. It would have been lovely to see some bags of 'misfits' or broken products that we could have picked up a bit cheaper, but there we go. It wasn't due to the fact that everyone had gotten there first either, as we were some of the first visitors of the day.
We didn't pre-book our tickets before visiting Cadbury world, but as we were there for opening time, it didn't matter. They recommend that you do pre-book your tickets as they try to limit the amount of visitors (so it doesn't clog up the exhibition/tour!), so in peak season if you just turn up without booking, you may have to wait for hours to get a time slot to enter. We didn't have this problem at all, and went straight in, but it's worth bearing in mind.
There was also a café on site, but we didn't use this so are unable to comment.
We were there for about 2 ½ hours, and enjoyed ourselves. It's a shame the price is so high!
Summary: A good half day worth of entertainment, if a little overpriced!
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