John Bull World of Rock was one of the first things my son wrote on his summer bucket list. It’s located on the outskirts of the Carnaby Industrial estate, near Bridlington in East Riding of Yorkshire. Our son loves sweets and he loves rock so you can probably guess why this was top of his list. John Bull World of Rock has a working factory and they are only open weekdays during selected school holidays. This means that when you visit you can see the working factory in action. Please read on for my review of our visit to John Bull world of rock.
This was day 41 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.
About John Bull Rock
The history of John Bull Rock dates back to 1911 when Ernest Hodgson opened an emporium of rock and seaside novelties at 19-20 Prince Street in Bridlington. They produced rock and other sweets using basic equipment. The public were allowed to watch them make the rock, which is what you can now do today at their much bigger factory premises in Carnaby near Bridlington. They have expanded and they now also produce chocolate products and biscuits.
They have a number of shops across the UK including two in Bridlington and a large shop at the factory in Carnaby. Their shops are a great place to visit for gifts and other fun products.
Factory Visit at John Bull World of Rock
We arrived a bit before the tours start at 10:30 am. We were on the first tour but we wished we’d arrived for the tour after as it was very busy and the next tour wasn’t as busy. It’s a self-guided tour in that you walk around at your own pace and you can join in with a couple of activities along the way.
You start in a small room by watching a video about John Bull Rock. After this, your group moves into the rock making room. As you walk around you are seeing a working factory. There were a couple of ladies packing up some rock and some men were heating up the sugar to make some rock. In here a man gave us a talk about the process of making the rock. We loved the wall backdrop of Bridlington.
In here and in a few of the other rooms they had samples laid out for you to help yourselves. While we were waiting in the rock making room they had a variety of sweets and some fudge available to try.
You will then be shown the processes for making the rock. If you can’t see they have a few TV screens showing what is happening. You all line up along a shelf. If you wish to roll your own rock with your chosen initial in you pay £1.50 and you are handed a warm roll of rock to roll. You get a lot of rock for your £1.50. It was quite a challenge rolling it and stopping it from sticking. It is up to you from now on how quickly you move through the rest of the tour.
Next, we walked past some displays showing how the old John Bull shop in Bridlington used to look. This was very interesting and things have certainly changed in the process of making the rock and sweets.
We then moved into another room where they make biscuits. There was a basket set out in front of the factory room full of biscuits to sample. We each took one and they were very good. The smell of biscuits was just wonderful. From in here we also got a glimpse of the next factory room which was clearly the chocolate room.
Before we went into the chocolate room we passed through another room with posters providing us with lots of information. In here we started to get the first wafts of chocolate.
The next room was the most lively during our visit and it was really fascinating to just stand and watch. In here they have a big machine that was weighing out chocolates and these were then going into bags which in turn were being sealed and then packed by hand into boxes.
Also in here, there is a separate room where you can make a chocolate lolly. This is an additional £1.50 each. If you are making a lolly you have to wear an apron and you get a paper hat to take home, plus of course the chocolate lolly. This then takes just a few minutes to go hard and there’s another basket full of sweets and fudge to try while you wait.
This then concludes the tour and you now enter the very tempting shop. I would be amazed if anyone comes out of this shop without buying anything. The shop is full of confectionary delights and we loved looking at all the traditional tubs of sweets on the shelves behind the counter. There are all sorts in here, rocks of many flavours, rock with words running through them, fudge, biscuits and so many choices of sweets. We came home with some Kendal mint cake which I know they don’t make but I struggle to find it anywhere local at a good price (which this was), some cinder toffee and a bag of chocolate buttons with sprinkles from the sweet jars.
Also on site, there is a cafe where we had our lunch. It’s good value for money and also serves the Candy Kingdom soft play. Peak prices for Candy Kingdom are 6-12 months – £1.25, 1-4yrs – £4.80
5-12yrs – £5.40, Adults – 50p and under 6 months are free.
As mentioned above the factory is only open weekdays during selected school holidays. If you would like to see up-to-date times and prices please follow this link. Their main season starts from the first day of the Easter Holidays and finishes at the end of the October Half Term holidays
Admission prices are £4.00 for an adult, £3.00 for children aged 4 and over and under 4’s are free. Extra activities such as rolling a stick of rock or making a chocolate lolly cost an extra £.1.50 each per activity.
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