We love to have a family day out to celebrate Christmas, it really gets us in the festive spirit, however despite our close proximity I had never really considered Cadbury World as a festive destination. We visited yesterday, on the first day of the Christmas season and it far surpassed our expectations. We had a brilliant day out at a really reasonable price, with just the right amount of Christmas magic.
It’s essential to book your tickets for Cadbury World online, you can’t just show up. There is a lot of information on the website about timings so make sure you read it before booking as you need to book the Santa Show and the tour and give yourself enough time for each. We went straight to the Santa Show which is in a markee by the car park. It is easy to find as it is right under the iconic Cadbury sign on the outside of the factory. In this area you can also see a Pantomime. You don’t need to book a time for this. The pantomime is based on Jack and Beanstalk with a chocolate themed twist. It has lots of cute puppets and fun songs. The actors were full of energy and there were lots of silly songs and audience participation.
The Santa Show is a lovely treat for children. You need to book a time for this show and then show your ticket at the entrance. You don’t need to go in the main door but can just go straight to this area, It is a fun show which lasts under fifteen minutes, so great for younger children who have short attention spans. There are seats for the audience but most of the children sat at the front next to the stage which means they can see all the action. The set, designed to look like Santa’s workshop is so lovely and welcoming. There are lots of postboxes so make sure you take your letter to Santa!
The girls couldn’t wait to see Santa arrive and hearing his feet crunching in the snow really added to the anticipation. Santa was happy and jolly and also hilarious and had all the audience laughing and joining in.
The girls loved hearing all the silly messages from the elves and had remembered lots of details to talk about later. Santa even used his magic for a great trick at the end of the show which had the girls shaking their heads wondering how he had done it – although the answer was obvious – Christmas magic of course!
At the end of the show, the children each get a present from Santa. They were very pleased. We really enjoyed the Santa Show and appreciated getting to see the big man without actually doing a grotto. I did feel it would be a bit early for the girls to say what they want for Christmas and also we like to only do a grotto once a year. Here they got to enjoy the excitement of seeing the man in red without it ruining the magic.
If you arrive at Cadbury World before your slot in the tour or the Santa Show there are lots of things to do. There is a fun adventure playground, the Bounville experience where you can learn about how the village, our favourite thing in this area was the 4D Chocolate Adventure. This is a fun experience which really feels like you are riding on a roller coaster. The 4D effects were great fun. If we’d had fun we’d have gone on it twice it was so good.
We loved how Cadbury World has been decorated for Christmas. There is Christmas music playing, but it is not too loud and obtrusive. There are trees everywhere decorated in Cadbury colours. We loved the choclate tree in the main entrance. There is a large button so you can make a Christmas wish and buckets so you can donate to charity.
There is also a giant cholate cracker with an explosion of all our favourite chocolate bars inside. If only we could have a cholate cracker this large for real.
Keep a lookout for the Cadbury characters on your visit. They are often found next to the African adventure play area. We spied the Cadbury bunny and Mr Cadbury’s parrot from out of a window but didn’t get to meet them. We were lucky enough to meet a couple of cuddly cocoa beans dressed for Christmas. They were very cuddly!
Our last Cadbury World day out was in 2013 so I was really interested to see it again. The tour starts with a journey through the history of chocolate with life-sized models, you walk through an Aztec jungle and see the first Cadbury shop on Bull Street. This looked so pretty decorated for Christmas.
While you go around the tour there is a Freddo and the Missing Hop challenge to complete. You just need to pick up a challenge sheet and pencil at the entrance. This is definitely worth doing as it keeps the kids focussed through the tour and they win a Freddo and a funny comic at the end. We did get a little confused at first because the symbols in the book numbering the clues look like the symbols around the tour for audio commentary but we worked it out when we found the first animal cut out hiding in the diplays.
There is a lot of local history but it is told in a fun and interesting way, with two different mini experiences which combine effects and video in a clever way. I was impressed with how all this part of the experience has a sign language interpreter throughout. There has also been a lot of attention paid to making the experience accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
After that, there is a chance to have a go making chocolate. This area is much bigger and there is more to do than when I last visited. We particularly loved this area as the girls all enjoy baking and they loved getting the chance to try some new techniques. The chocolate is all not edible as it is for demonstration only and they keep reusing it. Don’t worry though, there is plenty of chocolates tsatisfysy even the sweetest tooth.
The girls got to have a go tempuring the chcolate and also to write their names using squeezy bottles. This was so much fun.
You can watch some of the factory workers making incredible creations so it is brilliant to give it a try. It feels like you are part of the Cadbury factory. I loved the look of the chocolate teapots and handmade shoes being made in the factory. They would be a fantastic gift for a chocoholic.
There is also a demonstration of how chocolate is made which we really enjoyed. In this area, you get to sample a pot of liquid chocolate and add a couple of toppings. The girls were desperate for some chocolate by this point and loved being able to pick their own toppings.
The only time we had a queue during our visit was waiting for the Cadabra ride. The signs said we would have a thirty-minute wait but it was much shorter, more like fifteen minutes. We also appreciated the fact that there was a toilet next to the queue and also drinks machines, very important when you have young children. The toilets are near the front of the queue but you can skip ahead down the side to get to them.
The Cadabra ride is worth the wait. It is a lovely journey on a Cadbury coloured car down a chocolate road. There are sweet little animatronic cocoa beans as well as all the familiar Cadbury characters in a fantasy Cadbury land. The car seats 4 people, two at the front and two at the back.
We had such a fun day, topped off by a trip to the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop, Charlotte spent her pocket money on a mini version of the gorilla of course. This is a brilliant place to stock up on presents for Christmas, or just chocolate to share with your family and friends. There is a factory shop area where you can buy discounted chocolate too. Finally, enjoyed a very reasonably priced meal at the cafe.
We left with a big bag full of chocolate. It will keep us going for ages. We were even given a bag of Cadbury Snowbites to give away as a Secret Santa.
We thought this idea was really lovely. We were given a Santa mask and some top tips and the children are encouraged to hide the chocolate for someone as a special surprise. A sweet way to get them to think about others. You can join in by downloading a mask from the Secret Santa website and finding a place where you can get your own bag of chocolate to give away.
This is definitely a great place to visit any time of year but a trip at Christmas is particularly special, Cadburys is so much a part of our festive season after all. I was so surprised to see the price on the website as a ticket for a family of four costs £51. We spent over five hours at the attraction, saw two Christmas shows, went on rides, played on an adventure playground, learnt lots of history, made and sampled chocolate and came home with a big bag of treats. For me, that’s great value for money and a lovely way to kick off the festive season.
Disclaimer: We were given a family ticket for the purposes of this review.