A family of 5 with a zest for life

Why we were disappointed with our trip to Cadbury World


Before I planned a trip to Cadbury World, I'd read lots of mixed reviews. Nobody sang their praises, most people said it was ok and a few people really hated it. I wanted to experience Cadbury World for ourselves before making our own judgement and Jack especially was dying to visit a real chocolate factory. I booked a bus trip via National Holidays which in hindsight wasn't the best way to see Cadbury World (we were only given three hours to explore which on a peak visiting day in the Easter holidays wasn't long enough). We arrived at around 1pm and left at 4pm.



Admission to Cadbury World is timed and the tour starts with each group going through a series of rooms at timed intervals. I enjoyed this part as we learned all about the history of chocolate, how chocolate is made and the history of Cadburys. It was fairly interesting but it was mostly watching videos so may not be of great interest to younger children. My three enjoyed it though - especially as we were shaken in our seats like a cocoa bean.






One of the huge plus points for me is all of the chocolate you're given as you walk around - we were treated to a full-size crunchie, dairy milk and curly wurly bar plus a chocolate pot with sprinkles (everyone was given this - even us grown ups). These are perfect for keeping kids quiet in the queues or as they watch the videos. I'd recommend packing baby wipes and taking change for the water machines or taking bottles of water with you as chocolate eating is thirsty work! I bought this handy bag for £1 at the entrance which keeps all of the samples in one place.


The second part of Cadbury World was the chance to watch chocolate being made. We had to queue for around 30 minutes to get into this room but it was interesting to hear how temperature is everything and to watch the experts at work. We then had the chance to write our names in chocolate ourselves. After this part, there is a green screen where you can pay to have photos taken in various Cadbury scenarios. This wasn't for is though so we skipped it.



We joined the queue for the main Cadbury ride but noticed a sign that said 40 minutes from this point. My three aren't bothered about smaller rides anymore and didn't want to queue for a short (and non-thrill-seeking) ride so we left the queue after around 5 minutes and headed down to the chocolate sampling zone. Here we were treated to a chocolate pot and watched chocolate decorating live through the windows.


The last indoor zone was all about advertising. I loved seeing the famous gorilla and old crunchie advert on a surfboard but it was all lost on the kids who are too young to remember these. There's an interactive games area here which they enjoyed and actually wasn't too busy.



We skipped the gift shop entirely as I knew it would be expensive and as it was Easter, they weren't exactly short on chocolate. We did pop into the cafe for a drink though. It was pretty expensive if I'm honest (a hot chocolate was £4.95!).


The final part of Cadbury World is outside, we joined the queue for the 4D cinema experience but again, there was a notice saying the queue was 40 minutes long. It was a warm and sunny day and the 4D cinema is right by a park so the kids naturally did not want to queue. I was also really conscious of time, our bus was leaving in one hour and if we joined the queue, there was a chance we would be late. So again, we decided to skip this bit.


Just as we left the 4D cinema queue, they were closing the doors to the 3pm panto in the entertainment tent. There wasn't another showing until after our bus had left and I was frustrated that we'd missed this too. Some show timings as you enter the outdoor area would have been useful.


So we spent our final hour in the outdoor play area and visiting the Bournville experience which is all about the history of the town. I think these two attractions are free to visit for anyone and although good, it was frustrating that we'd missed out on a lot of the 'paid' activities.


We're pleased we visited Cadbury World. We now know how chocolate is made and it was really interesting to see how the Cadbury brand has evolved. I was frustrated with how busy it was though and when you pay to visit an attraction, it's annoying to have to spend most of your time queuing rather than enjoying the experience. We had to skip the 4D cinema, Easter panto and Cadbury ride due to the crowds and queuing which was annoying. The whole experience wasn't very personalised either. We felt like cattle being herded through the experience with standard monologues being repeated by staff time and time again, There was no injection of fun or enthusiasm and the whole experience was just very bland and commercialised. We visited West Midland Safari Park the following day and our experience was completely different with staff taking the time to chat and the whole day being a lot more chilled rather than busy, busy, busy like it was at Cadbury World. Engaged staff really do make the world of difference to the public when visiting an attraction.

I know our time was limited at Cadbury World but we had to queue A LOT. If we'd have spent the full day here we'd have queued for over three hours  - first to get inside, then for the first 'history of chocolate' section, then again to wait for the chocolate making zone, then again for the ride before a final queue for the 4D experience. There isn't really anything to entertain the kids during all of this queuing and I am betting most people will just queue because they kind of have no choice after paying. Queuing like this would not have been fun for the kids who would have ended up bored and started bickering or for myself who would have been stressed with bored kids in a long queue with nowhere else to take them and nothing to distract them with. Sort it out Cadbury!

I also feel like a lot of the exhibits weren't particularly child-friendly, especially for smaller kids who may not have the attention span to watch a film about the history of Cadbury. I'd love to see more up-to-date and interactive experiences for kids that were free-flowing, kind of like the last part of Legoland Discovery in Manchester.

Finally, I know this is probably kind of obvious and I am so naive for not realising this before but Cadbury World is actually just one big advertisement for their products and it kind of stings that we have to pay for that. I'd love to see them going back to their roots and giving something back to the community with free factory tours and a play area - that's all people want really. There is lots of propaganda about how great Cadburys are to work for, how innovative they are and how much they invest in their workforce. This might be the case but it left me rolling my eyes a little and there's certainly no mention of Cadburys in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list. 


I'd struggle to recommend Cadbury World if I'm honest. I'd much rather spend the afternoon at the cinema and the park. If you are really keen to visit, I'd try and find out when the off-peak times are and visit then so the crowds and queues are minimal. A family ticket for the five of us would normally cost £61 if it wasn't booked as part of a bus tour. I can certainly think of better ways to spend this cash on a day out and would definitely advise looking for discounts before booking.

Have you visited Cadbury World? What did you think? 


Disclosure: We paid for our own day out.  

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Why we were disappointed with our trip to Cadbury World


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17 comments

  1. We visit several years ago (pre kids) which also meant it was off peak. I felt cheated a little when we went as I’m sure it’s just a show factory and we weren’t seeing real production.
    The gift shop when we went we’re sekking cream eggs at 10p each so we bought 2 trays!!

    Agree that off peak would be better. We hate huge queues too.

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    1. Now that you say it, it 1000% is a show factory isn't it! Bargain creme eggs though, bet you were sick of them after a while.

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  2. Oh no! This sounds so disappointing. I would of been super frustrated with so much queuing, especially with children - doesn't sound very child friendly at all!

    Hannah xx
    www.fabfatmama.com

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  3. I've been to the one in New Zealand (as an adult, with no kids) and enjoyed it - we were in a small group, we got to watch the chocolate being made in the factory, which was interesting and got loads of free samples! Totally agree that the UK factory sounds nothing like that and just one long queue... maybe an excuse to go to NZ :-P

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    1. I 10000% need to go to New Zealand now! haha

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  4. We went a few years ago now and I thought it was a complete rip off. Plus it is just really tired and could do with a revamp. Que’s into the different sections were frustrating and a lot of the interactive section was broken and not working it was very disappointing

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  5. I agree with everything you say here. I'm 24 now and I think I visited around the age of 17/18 with my dad and then 2 year old nephew. It was awful. I didn't think the free chocolate was worth it. It wasn't busy when we visited, in fact it was dead. But I took everything in, and the most interesting part for me was learning about how the chocolate was moved around, we live near their factory in Chirk, North Wales. The attractions were rubbish, the park was rubbish and even at the age of 18 I still liked getting involved in playing in the parks.

    We didn't end up going to the cafe, but we did go to the shop. I think I came out with a giant Bourneville bar for around £8.

    I feel the same way as you though, I'd rather to the cinema and the park. Or even the zoo. Ticket costs what £28 at peak time, but I know i'll get at least 6 hours of that!

    Sophie

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    1. Yes there are much better value days out there aren't there x

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  6. I’ve always wanted to go, but reading this I’d rather just spend £68 on Chocolate! I hate queues and anything that feels cattle marketish!

    It’s quite far from us too De would have been a very expansive mistake as we would’ve booked a hotel etc x

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    1. It was definitely like a cattle market! Might be different if you try and visit off peak although I bet there are often a lot of school trips to contend with too.

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  7. This makes me realise how lucky I was to have a proper authentic experience of a chocolate factory when I was at school. Rowntrees used to make their chocolate in Norwich, they had a huge factory and you could smell chocolate whenever you went to the city shopping (it was amazing!), in the 80s I went on a trip there with school and I remember it so so well! Back then there weren't really any health and safety rules so we were allowed to pick as much chocolate off the production line as we wanted and eat it (how mad is that!) and at the end we all got a huge huge goodie bag full of full sized chocolate bars! Unfortunately in the late 80s Rowntrees were taken over by Nestle and they shut the factory down and moved it to York :( So I feel very very lucky that I got to enjoy that experience. It feels pretty special now!

    Anyway, I'm waffling (I have a feeling this is going to be a long comment!) I'm not a huge fan of doing coach trips after going to Bruges for the Christmas market on a bus one year. It took FOREVER and by the time we got there we only had a few hours (this is because too many others on the bus wanted to stop at the hypermarche for tabs (bit of NE lingo for you there!) ... EYE ROLL! We spent our entire time in Bruges rushing about trying to eat waffles, drink cherry beer, buy chocolate and ice skate .. we didn't even get time to look round the markets!

    Wow it looks so so busy from your photos, all those people! I bet you were shuffling around the whole time, how frustrating! It definitely seems that this is all about making money rather than giving families a really fun and educational experience ... such a shame!

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    1. Ah that sounds amazing Chloe! My friends dad used to work at the Rowntrees factory in the NE and used to bring loads of seconds home when we had a sleepover - we loved it!

      I don't think all coach trips are the same (we loved our Spain trip) but I'd definitely not travel any distance with National Holidays again.

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  8. We visited Cadbury's World about 7 years ago and it doesn't sound like they've added anything new since then, which, given how much money they must be raking in, is a bit rubbish.
    We visited during the Summer holidays and it was absolutely packed. After the tour we did manage to see a magic show they had on, but we gave the Bournville experience a miss and, as it was a nice day, the kids just played in the park.
    I don't remember being particularly disappointed by the whole experience, but we did have a three month old baby with us, so my memory of the day may be somewhat clouded! Plus, the visit was tagged on to the beginning of a longer holiday, where we also visited Thomas Land and Alton Towers, so we hadn't made the trip down especially to visit Cadbury's World.
    Saying that, I wouldn't go back or recommend it to others, so that says it all really.

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  9. I went a few years back with my older two and thought pretty much the same as you. It's a very overpriced over-hyped attraction and I wouldn't bother visiting again unless they had a huge re-vamp.

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  10. We were disappointed when we visited too, luckily we had a whole day there and were able to see everything, but to be honest, you didn't miss out on a great deal, although Elodie really enjoyed it.
    We came away saying we were glad we had been, as it was somewhere we had always wanted to go, but definitely wouldn't return.
    I feel like it's such a shame, as visiting a chocolate factory should always live up to the dream! x

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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