What could be more heavenly to a bunch of children than a visit to a sweet factory? Our French cousins live just minutes from the Haribo factory which boasts a museum and a factory shop. Unlike the usual museum visit this one generated a great deal of interest from the triplets and Theo and we even benefited from free admission thanks to one of the cousins working there for her summer job. Even so it is only 7 Euros for adults and 5 for children, perfectly reasonable for any average sized family.
On arriving we were handed tokens with no idea what they were for, but suspecting they would have a significance Nick held on to them for everyone as we made our way round. The whole museum was designed to appeal to children with brightly candy coloured rooms and reading panels on the history of sugar and candy in three languages posted around the walls. It was after the 1st world war that candy really took off as a treat for families of all classes.
However with the best will in the world, children in a candy coloured room act like they are already full of e numbers just at the prospect of all those sweets! Thankfully the museum anticipated this and had plenty of interactive games to play along the way and display stands of sweet making from times gone by.
Drums showing the sweet making process really brought it all to life, although the simplified style of the displays had the children dreaming of all the sweets they could make at home. Coombe Mill will turn into a sweet factory if they have their way!
The penultimate zone took us out across a draw bridge to the factory. Unfortunately there was only a screen of the workers from long ago with the real factory window all blacked out. Apparently the workers complained at being stared at all day and so this was to protect their privacy. A shame as I would loved to have looked down at the production process and seen the source of the wonderful candy smells drifting across to the museum, but I guess being on show all day would become tiresome.
The best in this case was most definitely saved till last, a room full of mini machines filled with a variety of different Haribos. Here we discovered what our tokens were for. Each token whirred a machine into action, the sweets lifted up the mini conveyor belt and dropped into packets which sealed and popped out the dispenser in packs of four.
Loaded down with their bounty we headed out. However this is only possible via the vast factory shop. Any remaining Euros soon disappeared, with only Clio opting for a t shirt instead of more sweets.
Overall it was a great use of our damp morning, but it is really only a couple of hours to see everything so not something I would recommend travelling miles for, but ideal if you happen to be in the area with children.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.