One of the many things I did with L this year was visit the East Anglian Game and Country Fair. We had a fabulous time and watched the famous JCB Dancing Diggers perform. What I didn’t realise is that just by purchasing tickets I had been entered into a competition and I only went and won it! A tour of the JCB Worldwide Headquarters.
As you had to be over 14 years old to enjoy the tour husb and I made a weekend away of it, we booked a hotel and visited Bolsover Castle and Croxden Abbey before heading to the the JCB Worldwide Headquarters.
As we were heading cross country to the factory we missed all the signs pointing us in the right direction and ended up in the wrong car park, the site is vast, despite having driven past many times previously, I didn’t get a feel for the scale of it until we actually visited. We soon put right and were greeted at the VIP centre. We were a bit early for our tour, so popped off for a walk around the lake.
Our tour started with a delicious lunch, three courses of fabulous food, all served on JCB crockery. They source most of the ingredients from their own farm. It was superb. I would have gone for lunch alone if I’m honest. That in itself would have cost a small fortune in a restaurant.
Our tour started with a short film about the history of JCB, before we were taken to an amazing musuem tracking the history of the brand, the machines and the Bamford family. With so much to see I’m glad we had a tour guide to guide us through it! For me the only downside to the visit, was discovering this fabulous museum existed and could only be visited as part of a tour. It is amazing. With full sized machinery, countles displays, more information than we could possibly read. I would pay to go to the museum again, if only that were an option. Oh and L would adore it!!
Our trip round the museum was finished off with a visit to the gift shop. We picked out a few bits to take home to L which we were able to leave with them, ready to be collected at the end of the tour. Everything had been separately wrapped and popped into a lovely JCB branded bag. As L has been lucky to be a JCB Kids Brand Ambassador previously there was a lot of merchandise we already had for him and more we were familiar with. We still managed to find a few bits extra, a nice wallet for his pocket money, a key ring for his school bag and a cute pin badge that he wears with pride on his coat.
The next stage of the tour takes you onto the factory floor. With high vis jackets, eye protection and headphones on so we could hear our guide we were shown everything. From where parts deliveries arrive and finished machines are taken for testing. We wandered through the offices and past the on site doctors and dentists. We got to see people at work, machines cutting and welding. Robots in action and humans at work. It was fascinating. It was also loud and overwhelming and entirely understandable why the have an age limit.
The tour ended with a walk along the production line for the Backhoe Loaders. It was brilliant seeing them gradually constructed, starting from next to nothing, bits of metal that meant nothing to me and ending up as the machines, that thanks to L, we have come to know and love.
Out tour guide was brilliant and made the experience brilliant for us, his knowledge was amazing. Probably as he had worked for JCB for so long. We got a real sense of what it was all about and it’s more than just diggers.
I can hand on my heart recommend this experience and if you have anyone with even the slightest interest in JCB’s then you really must look into it. I’m so happy we won our tour and hope that when L is old enough we can visit again and show him everything.
I cannot thank the East Anglian Game and Country Fair enough for our prize, or the team at JCB enough for hosting us and providing such a wonderful experience.