Posted on October 21st, 2007 by Alex
As you can probably tell by the photo above and the title of this entry we spent our last proper day of the trip at the chocolate factory, yes, Cadbury World in Birmingham - the home of Cadbury chocolate. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what I found and I wasn’t disappointed.
The journey west from Alcester was an easy one and we arrived in Birmingham at about 9:30am. Being a Saturday the place was packed! This is England though and these people know how to organise and be part of a queue. We had ordered our tickets online while we were still back in Perth, so getting in was easy, just a case of holding tight until you made the front of the queue.
It took about 10 minutes to get to the front where we were rewarded with a couple of Cadbury bars (a Dairy Milk and a Caramello) before being ushered inside to a museum (of sorts) showing the history of the cocoa bean, right back to the South American rainforests. The whole place is very much geared towards kids, but as everyone knows, I’m still a big kid at heart so thoroughly enjoyed it.
The next stop is a Victorian (I think!) street scene where you find out about the origins of Cadbury (they actually started out as team merchants). Like Jorvik and Warwick Castle, Cadbury World makes excellent use of holograms to present the information. You then enter a theatre to find out how the Cadbury company became involved in chocolate and how they established their company. After the show you enter another room where (once again) pregnant women and people with back problems are warned to stand up as you go through the process of being made into chocolate. Not really, obviously, this isn’t Willy Wonka’s factory - just a video with moving seats!
This leads on to the factory part of the tour and we were lucky enough to be there on a day when you were allowed into the packaging area to see the chocolate wrapped and packaged. I have never seen so much chocolate! The smell is overpowering and after a while actually gets a bit sickly. Who would have thought they’d ever hear me say that?
After the factory section you climb on board a little buggy for the Cadabra ride, which is a very kiddy, musical trip through the world of Cadbury (think the Cadbury people ads on telly) where kids can have their photo taken and put onto an array of items. All through the tour leading up to now our hands were filled with chocolates, I think (I can’t remember I’ve eaten them all now) we ended up with about 5 bars by the end.
The tour ends with another museum-like experience with information on Cadbury and advertising. It was great fun watching all the Cadbury advertisements since the 1960’s. The best bit of the whole tour though is the very end, the Cadbury Shop. We spent over an hour in there and way too much money, but we have lots of chocolate! I think I know what I’ll be eating for the next month…
Back to London
We finally managed to tear ourselves away from the place and begin the journey back to London. This is where things started to go a little badly. We stopped just outside Birmingham for fuel and supplies only to find the ATM at the servo wasn’t going to accept our cards. No problem I thought, we can buy food with the petrol, unfortunately mum misheard me and paid for the fuel without the supplies, so in a huff we decided to leave it and find a Motorway Services on the way back to London.
Good plan but not so easy. It seems every ATM in any Service area the full length of the M4 Motorway uses the same brand of ATM and each was just as discriminatory towards our cards, so we were unable to get any cash. Not to worry, we had plenty of chocolate to keep us going, but even that after a while gets too much. All I wanted was a sandwich, but no, nothing. At least there would be something at the hotel at Heathrow.
How wrong I was. After rolling into the carpark with the petrol light on (smell of an oily rag) because we couldn’t find the access road to get into the hotel, we checked in only to find the ATM issue was going to continue as the hotel foyer’s machine did the same thing. So here we were, in the middle of nowhere, miles from the actual airport in a crappy hotel with no way of accessing our money. By now I was totally fed up and I think Mum was too, so we just stayed in the room and snacked on what we had. Maybe tomorrow we’ll venture out and find something.
Things are really getting annoying now, I think it’s definitely time to come home. Funny how things go, but I’m really missing the dogs, and my own bed and a good meal. I’ve had a great time, but it’s definitely time for a rest.