Spice Exclusive Tour of Bournville Carillon

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Saturday 17 February 12:00 - 13:00

From £2.50

Listed by Spice West Midlands


Spice Exclusive!! Please note that we have limited spaces due to the configuration of the building.

Today we have the opportunity to see and hear the Bournville Carillon.

With 48 bells, Bournville Carillon ranks as one of the finest and largest instruments of its kind in Great Britain and is one of the finest instruments of its kind in the world

George Cadbury commissioned the Carillon as a gift to the Cadbury workers in 1906 after a visit to Bruges, Belgium.

Our visit will last 40 - 60 minutes and we will get a guided tour of the tower and playing cabin culminating in watching the carilloneur play.

Our tour will start from the Rest House - the octagonal building in the middle of the Green - and we need to arrive 10 or 15 minutes beforehand to sign in and go through the health and safety chat. 

What is a Carillon?

This very rare and unusual musical instrument has been in use since the 15th century and looks very much like an organ.

Carillon's have a minimum of 23 bells and played from a 'baton' keyboard.

The instrument and the carillon art are most commonly found in Belgium, Holland, France and even in the USA but are a rarity in the UK.

Bournville Carillon

The bells of the Bournville carillon are made from the customary bronze alloy of copper and tin. Centuries of experimenting has proved that this combination of metals produces the best musical tone.

The bells weigh a total of 17.5 tons, the largest being the bourdon at 3.4 tons, and the smallest being the treble bell at 12lbs (5.5kg).

Using the internationally recognised definition of a 'carillon', there are 15 instruments in the United Kingdom, but only 4 having 4 octaves of bells namely:

        Bournville;        Loughborough;

        St. Helens;        Aberdeen.

Bournville carillon is the largest in Great Britain, having 48 bells across 4 octaves.

How is it played?

The Carillon is played with the hands and feet, similar to playing an organ.

However, the instrument is percussive and tones are produced by striking batons on a keyboard with hands in the form of a fist.

Wide variations of expression are possible dependant upon the force with which each key is struck and hence there is the ability to produce sensitive music. 

Playing the carillon requires a considerable expenditure of energy.

After our tour we can return to The Rest House which has a history all of its own that we can investigate. We can also take time to wander around the shops on Sycamore Road and visit a cafe for tea and cake!

carillon 1


Spice admin and your host.


Please bring £5 cash to pay on the day.

Location & Itinerary

Meeting Point

The tours start from the Rest House - the octagonal building in the middle of the Green - and it's best to arrive 10 or 15 minutes beforehand to sign in and go through the health and safety chat. 

Getting There


The Bournville Carillon is not far from the A38 Bristol Road where it passes through Selly Oak in South Birmingham. From the old Sainsbury's in Selly Oak follow the A4040 Oak Tree Lane south. After a few minutes you will reach Bournville Village Green, with the visitor centre on the left and the carillon on the right. Parking in the area is not normally a problem.

If using 'satellite navigation', use postcode 'B30 2AA'


Alternatively, you can take the train (from Birmingham New Street) to Bournville. Leave the station using the main exit by the ticket office (not the canal-side exit) and turn left. Follow Bournville Lane, keeping the chocolate factory on your right. Turn right at the crossroads and after a minute or two you'll find the visitor centre on your right and the carillon on your left.

Availability & Pricing

Member 12.00pm£2.50Sold Out
Member 12pm£2.50Sold Out

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Woodbrooke Rd, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 1JY

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