In our annual guided tour feature, Val Baynton highlights attractions and venues that offer expert led visits. Discovering the secrets of an attraction or looking behind the scenes are ways to make your group outings even more appealing!Learning the secrets of how things are made, how organisations such as cruise lines operate or even the stories behind a city make great themes for a group outing.
Located in the historic village of Bournville in Birmingham, Cadbury World has been welcoming groups for over 28 years and brings one of the nation’s most loved brands to life.
Groups can enjoy a self-guided tour, travelling back 1,000 years in the Aztec Jungle to discover the origins of the cocoa bean before watching talented chocolatiers in the Chocolate Making zone and taking a delicious taster for themselves.
Groups can step back in time in Bull Street to learn of the humble beginnings of Cadbury before heading to Advertising Avenue for a trip down memory lane with some of the brands most famous advertising campaigns – including coming face-to-face with a certain drumming gorilla!
There are also several interactive digital zones including the 4D Chocolate Adventure zone, where visitors can experience the feeling of diving into a pot of liquid Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate and the Crunchie Rollercoaster! Refreshments are available in the Cadbury Café and The World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop is on site.
Discounted entry rates are available for groups of 15 or more with free onsite coach parking and complimentary admission for one driver. Groups of 20 or more also receive free admission for the GTO. Cadbury World is accessible for wheelchair users.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter opened its doors at the studios, where the films were produced just outside Watford, in 2012. The unique attraction offers visitors the chance to get close to authentic sets, discover the magic behind special effects and explore the secrets of making the Harry Potter film series. The Studio Tour is the winner of the Best Family Day Out category in the 2019 Group Travel Awards.
Earlier this year the studio expanded the tour to add in a new area dedicated to Gringotts Wizarding Bank, including a gallery devoted to goblins, the marble pillar lined Banking Hall, the Lestrange Vault full of its treasures and the Destroyed Gringotts, as featured in the film, Deathly Hallows Part 2. The Goblin Gallery reveals the prosthetics, costumes and artistry that brought characters such as Bogrod, Griphook and other goblin bankers in the films to life.
Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. Learn how it took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook for his film role, which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look! There’s also a new 17,000 square foot lobby and café serving food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World and seating up to 500 people.
Greatdays specialist department Manchester Sightseeing Tours, has launched ‘Secrets of the City’, a unique bus tour that celebrates Manchester’s innovative spirit and shares stories about the city and its people, and its heritage as the birthplace of ideas and inventions.
The 90-minute tour includes a live commentary delivered by specially trained Blue Badge Tourist Guides and passes sights such as the Free Trade Hall, the Central Library, Manchester Town Hall, the Pankhurst Centre, Chetham’s Library and Manchester Cathedral.
Passengers will hear more than 100 unusual facts and quirky tales about Manchester covering architecture, history, science, art, culture, sport and politics and about the city’s famous residents and music scene.
The branded double-deck bus is fully enclosed and heated, meaning tours can operate in any weather. The bus and guides are also available for private trips for groups wanting a bespoke Manchester tour.
While cruising at sea, you may even have the option of a tour to find out what happens behind the scenes on an ocean going vessel! That’s just what Editorial Director, Peter Stonham did on his recent trip with Cruise & Maritime Voyages (C&MV) As part of the onboard enrichment programme, C&MV offers behind the scenes tours on some cruises. These include a ‘Galley Tour’, led by the ship’s Executive Chef to learn just what it takes to cater for the passengers and crew on board, and ‘Bridge Visit’ hosted by the Captain to give an insight into the operations and skills required to navigate safely.
You can read more about Peter’s cruise on our new blog.