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Bournville and the Cadbury Experience: The Village That Chocolate Built

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by John Burns (subscribe)
I am a writer and teacher, out and about in the world but with Nottingham never far from my heart.
Published March 7th 2015
Indulge your love of chocolate in Bournville
The story of Bournville a small village to the south of the UK's second largest city, Birmingham is known only to the most committed of chocolate fans. It's a curious one to say the least, but has spawned one of England's prettiest villages.

It's also a great destination for anyone with a sweet tooth. Today the village is home to Cadbury World; a factory-cum-theme park dedicated to the production and celebration of everyone's favourite confection.

The History

The village began life back in 1861 when the Cadbury brothers, taking over the chocolate-making business from their deceased father, decided to relocate from the cramped conditions of inner-city Birmingham and set up shop somewhere new.

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Workers at the Cadbury factory in 1901

They choose a greenfield site just outside the city; a land of rolling countryside and a few scattered farms and buildings. The site was perfect, so they bought up the land and built their factory. The only problem was, there was no existing infrastructure on the site to house the legions of workers necessary to run the factory.

"Not a problem! cried the brothers, presumably while munching on one of their delicious products. "We'll build it!" And so the village of Bournville was - *ahem* - 'born'.

It soon became something of a utopian society, with the Cadbury brothers keen to give the best possible quality of life to their workers. They built recreation areas, encouraged regular exercise for residents, and commissioned the construction of the Rowheath Park and Pavillion for their workers to enjoy. To this day, Bourneville is described as "one of the nicest places to live in the UK".

The Village

Today, Bournville has a population of over 25,000. While the village is now open to residents who do not work for Cadburys, the chocolate-producing giants remain one of the region's largest employers.

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Rowheath Lake

The village serves as something of an antidote to the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Birmingham. The main attraction in the town other than the famous chocolate factory of course, but more on that later is the idyllic Rowheath Park, with its boating lake, pavilion and rest house.

Resembling something from a Tolkien novel, the Bournville Rest House is a curious building, modeled on the traditional Yarn Houses of the 17th Century. The charming house was constructed to mark the silver wedding anniversary of George Cadbury and his wife, and continues to be popular with residents and visitors alike.

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The Bournville Rest House

Cadbury World

Of course no chocolate-lovers pilgrimage to Bournville would be complete without a visit to the Cadbury World Experience. The experience itself involves a tour through the chocolate-making process via a series of themed, interactive exhibits, from the cocoa trees of South America's rainforests to the purple packaged chocolate bars for which the firm is famous.

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An actor in Cadbury World's Aztec Jungle area

It also provides an in depth look at the history of the firm and how chocolate is produced today, and of course, there are plenty of opportunities for sampling the wares and purchasing special edition chocolate bars en route!

Cadbury World also runs a calendar of events from themed performances to special exhibitions for the whole family. Check their website for more details and to decide on the best time to visit.

Tickets start at 15.44 for adults and 11.35 for kids, with under fours going free. In case you were wondering, the slightly odd prices quoted above are due to a 5% discount for online purchases. Special deals are also available for families, so get everyone together, keep some room in your tummy and head down to Bournville to enjoy the village that chocolate built!
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Why? A journey into the past, present and future of chocolate making
When: Usually 9:30am to 4:30pm, daily. Check website for changes
Phone: 0844 880 7667
Where: Cadbury World, Linden Road, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 1JR.
Cost: Cadbury World tickets start at 15.44 for adults and 11.35 for kids. Under fours go free.
Your Comment
Great article! Now I wish I'd visited when I lived in the UK.
by Celeste Lorraine (score: 1|31) 2496 days ago
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