Yes, we drove the entire route, but the photo may provide a clue where we stopped for a break. As retirees, we don’t do long drives at home, so why did we complete this one, especially considering it included the M5 & M6?
The previous week, we received sad news of the sudden passing of a good family friend, who we had known since the early 1970’s. We wanted to attend the funeral, so did my dad. However, we had his car, so he would have to catch a bus from St Andrews to Prestwick. At 86, we didn’t want him spending hours on buses.
Solution – cut our 5 days in Cornwall to 1 night and drive back to St. Andrews on Sunday.
When discussing our plan, most people asked how many days we planned to take – 1 day being the response. OMG!, it must be over 600 miles was a frequent comment. In fact, the total distance was about 630 miles, and Judi doesn’t drive on the left side.
We had an upper floor unit at Clowance Estate & Country Club
After a full day playing tourist on Saturday, we arrived at the condo about 19:00. Next morning we set the alarm for 05:00, making gallons of tea, before setting off at 05:30. It was dark when we arrived last night and on departure, it was still dark!!! To make matters even worse, as we reached the end of the driveway, the rain started and continued to just south of Bristol.
Our first stop was Bishops Cleeve, visiting our good friends Zak and Tracy, who only live a few miles from the motorway (M5). Andy and Zak worked together on Uganda, Oriana and Sun Princess, and our son even worked with him on the Aurora. After 220 miles of fortunately light traffic, we arrived on schedule at 09:00, to find Tracy had made us a full cooked breakfast. It was delicious. After breakfast, we sat out in the conservatory enjoying a good chin wag, as we hadn’t seen them since 2014.
Cadbury’s factory at Bournville
About 11:30, we said our goodbyes, headed back to the M5 and set a northerly course for Birmingham. Yes, we had 1 more stop to make before heading to St. Andrews – a tour of Cadbury World, which would probably include some sweet treats.
Entrance to Cadbury World
You can just turn up, but pre-booking tickets on-line is highly recommended, as many days are fully booked. We had tickets for 13:00. Costs (online) are UKP 15.91 (Adult) and UKP 12.01 (Senior 60+).
Cadbury World entrance foyer
Cadbury World is a self-guided exhibition that includes a variety of attractions. On entering the exhibition you enter the Aztec Jungle and Journey to Europe.
Aztec Jungle & Journey to Europe
We walked through a series of static displays that depicts the discovery of cocoa and shipping it to Europe. Departing the initial displays, we arrived at a replica street, with a Cadbury’s store, where an employee provided a presentation on the company’s history.
John Cadbury’s Original Shop – yes! a tea distributor, not chocolate
John and Benjamin Cadbury started in 1824, with a shop in Birmingham selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. Later, they were joined by John’s sons Richard & George. As the chocolate business developed, they needed to expand production. The company was very progressive and employee welfare was a key consideration. Therefore, they moved south of Birmingham, developing a factory and company town in a green field area, which they called Bournville. The town provided housing and all services for the employees. Milk chocolate bars were introduced in 1897 and the Cadbury Dairy Milk in 1905.
One of the theatre displays
The next attraction was a theatre for an audio/visual presentation, which included special effects. Those not wanting special effect had to use the rear seats. After the theatre we walked through the chocolate manufacturing area, where they make numerous special designs.
Selection of the special chocolate creations
We then walked through advertising alley, which is a compilation of Cadbury adverts throughout the years.
Judi walking through advertising alley
Before heading to the shop, we followed signs to the packaging area, which is no longer operational. All packaging has moved to another area of the factory.
In the shop we were like kids in a sweetie shop, as while they make Cadbury chocolate in North America, it just isn’t the same, or as good as real UK made chocolate. Needless to say, I was heavily loaded for the trip back to the car.
Departing Cadbury World about 16:00, the GPS wanted to take us back to the A38(M) then to the M6 via Spaghetti Junction. Having survived spaghetti junction many years ago, I had no desire to fight my way through that congestion, so we found an alternative route through Birmingham and up to the M6 Toll Road.
After a fairly slow trip through Birmingham, we got to the M6 (Toll) and with only minimal delays we arrived in St Andrews shortly before 22:30. Fortunately my dad had a couple of beers in the fridge, as I certainly earned a libation.