I’ve lost count the number of times that I’ve been to Cadbury World. We took my German exchange friend there, I’ve visited with extended family and as university students back on summer holiday, we celebrated a friend’s birthday. I’ve always been keen on the ‘chocoholic’s paradise.’ An afternoon tea at Cadbury World seemed an opportunity to good to miss.
My friend, Laura, spotted a deal Cadbury’s were offering on Facebook – a ticket and afternoon tea in its cafe for £22 per person available on a Sunday. Normally, this deal is only available Monday to Friday, so the three of us (Laura, Tom and I) decided to set off on a day trip.
Firstly I think seeing the factories where stuff is made in huge quantities is mesmerising, but also, as a PR person in my day job, I also appreciate the marketing and creation that goes behind the brand. As Laura said staring that the shelves in the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop that each bar ‘really does have its own personality.’
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A bit of history…
The tour takes you through how chocolate was revered by the Aztecs, stolen by Cortez and brought back to the fashionable courts in Spain and eventually most of western Europe. You’re then ushered through a recreation of John Cadbury’s first shop in 1824, where he employed a chinaman to serve customers and create a bit of spectacle.
As Quakers, they considered tea, coffee and chocolate to be acceptable alternatives to alcohol and John developed the company with his brother Benjamin and two sons, Richard and George. In 1893 the family bought land outside of Birmingham near the Worcester canal and the railroad and established Bournville factory and the accompanying village, believing that it was neither good for business, their products or their staff to be working in the grimy and polluted inner city.
They built houses for their factory workers as well as recreation grounds and established pensions, a five and half day working week and health services. It was pioneering for the 19th century. Dairy Milk was launch in 1905 with its iconic purple wrapper and as they say, the rest was history.
I remember feeling when I first visited Cadbury World, aged eight or nine, feeling like I’d emerged from Willy Wonka’s loaded down with chocolate handed out as we made our way around. And although staff are friendly and in this health-conscious age, there’s probably more than enough chocolate for your to chop on, I can’t help but feel that it’s not quite the same.
For example, the, areas where you could see chocolate bars being wrapped on machinery is all gone, shielded off from visitors. There’s still the liquid chocolate tasters, but there’s more room given over to having your photo taken in front of a green screen. And let’s not get started on Cadabra, which was always cringey even when I was eight. (Still queued for it though!)
Afternoon tea at Cadbury World
And the afternoon tea. It was perfectly pleasant, with everything you’d desire and a bit chocolatey – brownies, muffins, crispy cake bars, hot chocolate etc. There’s a designated area for afternoon tea guests, but you just have to flag down a random member of staff in the cafe who shows you to your seat. There’s plenty of food, so don’t be shy in asking for a take takeout we were offered one, so it’s obviously a common occurrence!
I think until Tom and I have small people of our own, that I’ve got Cadbury World out of my system.