Discover the real life Willy Wonka sweet factory experience near Manchester

From Love Hearts to Drumstick Lollies, Swizzels makes our favourite sweets - and now fans can win a once-in-a-lifetime magical tour at its HQ
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New Mills based Swizzels is the UK’s largest family-owned independent sugar confectionery business, and one of the few confectionery companies to still manufacture sweets in the UK. 

The Peak District company makes a range of well-known sweets including many of our favourites such as Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Rainbow Drops, Double Lollies, Parma Violets, Squashies, Fizzers and Fruity Pops.

Now, the sweet manufacturer is making sweet dreams come true by giving fans the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime magical VIP tour at its sweet HQ.

To win this money-can’t-buy experience, fans simply have to find one of five golden Love Hearts rolls hidden in Swizzels’ variety packs.

We took a trip inside to see what the real-life Willy Wonka experience involves.

Behind the scenes at the Swizzels factory

The Swizzels factory is housed in a former textile mill where wicks for miners’ lamps were once made.

Around 550 people work at the New Mills factory, which operates 24 hours a day to produce over 20 different sweet brands that have been enjoyed since 1928, and still taste as good as they did back then.

We start our tour on the top floor, working our way down through floors of machinery, the air smelling so sweet and delicious you could add it to a 10p mix.

Drumstick Lollies come tumbling down chutes, Double Lollies fill vast vats, Double Dips are packaged up, and Rainbow Drops labels roll off a printer.

Over the years, Swizzels has created some of the UK’s best-loved sweets, and many are older than we might think. 

Rainbow Drops and Fizzers came in the 1930s. Then Parma Violets in 1946, Love Hearts in 1954, and Refreshers in 1955.

How are Love Hearts made?

Since the 1950s, Love Hearts have always been especially popular – and today, the factory produces a whopping 1.75 billion of them a year.

The fruit flavours famously feature a short, love-related message on one side of the sweet, with new additions, including emojis more recently, added every couple of years.

Believe it or not, it takes several tonnes of pressure for the message stamp to imprint onto the sweet. 

However, the process of how this stamp actually works has been kept top secret for the past 60-odd years – they don’t want anyone to steal their idea, after all – but it’s one of the things visitors can see on the tour.

How to win a VIP tour

Swizzels will open its factory doors and welcome the five lucky people who will have exclusive access to explore the sweet creation centre alongside three friends or family members. 

Not only that, but winners will also get the opportunity to channel their inner inventor and work with the Swizzels experts to have a go at creating their very own sweet.

The five winning golden Love Hearts rolls are hidden in Swizzels’ variety pack range which includes Loadsa packs, Lots of Lollies, Chew Crew and Bumper Bag packs, now on shelves in major retailers nationwide.

‘‘We’re so excited to be able to offer fans this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit our wonderful world of Swizzels,” said Claire Lee, senior brand manager at Swizzels.

“It really is a magical experience to see how our most-loved sweets are made – the winners are guaranteed to have lots of fun on the day. 

“The search is on to find the golden rolls which are out there in packs right now, so hurry!’’

If you’re lucky enough to find a golden Love Hearts roll, simply take a picture of the roll and enter the lot code on the back of your Variety pack here: swizzels.com/vip.

Those who don’t find a golden roll can still be in with a chance of winning one of thousands of runner up prizes. Simply enter your lot code number on the Swizzels website to find out if you’re a winner.

The competition closes on 31st May 2022 and is open to residents within Great Britain.

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