Iceni Centre, formerly the Iceni Village, closes despite attempted revival

PUBLISHED: 06:35 15 July 2014

The Iceni Centre closes. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Iceni Centre closes. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

An attempt to revive a Breckland heritage site has failed after dwindling visitor numbers forced the owners to close the attraction.

The Iceni Village, just of Swaffham, reopened its doors for the summer season at Easter under a new guise and a new name, the Iceni Centre.

The mock Iceni village no longer existed and as part of a refurbishment programme, the main farm building was redecorated and reorganised to include a new entrance area, an exhibition of 1800 carriages and what was hoped to be the main attraction - a showroom displaying the remains of a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age giant.

It had been hoped the attraction would be able to help double its number of visitors from 10,000 to 20,000.

But within three months, the owner, Sir Samuel Roberts, who lives at nearby Cockley Cley Hall, said they have closed the site after their attempt to move away from the Iceni village had not drawn in enough visitors to make the attraction viable.

He said on one day, they took just 70 pence.

Sir Samuel said they will now attempt to make the site a hub for arts and crafts.

He said: “Over the last 40 years, the idea of the Iceni village was so entrenched in people’s minds that when they arrived they wanted to see the Iceni village.

“They wrote some negative comments on Trip Advisor and we were not making enough money to cover costs.

“It was not unfair what they said on Trip Advisor because we didn’t have the Iceni village there any more but without throwing a huge amount of money at it, which I couldn’t do, we couldn’t keep it open.”

The museum complex was founded by Sir Samuel’s father, also Sir Samuel Roberts, in 1975 after he had become interested in the history of the area.

Sir Samuel had decided to scrap the mock Iceni Village because it had been described as an “inaccurate historic attraction”.

He said the centre’s five part-time staff will be redeployed and that the recently refurbished buildings will be put to a different use. “We will redirect it,” said Sir Samuel.

Are you trying to boost tourism in Breckland? Email


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

20 minutes ago

Teachers and pupils alike had a great time celebrating Red Nose Day at Old Buckenham High School.

Shoppers can nominate their favourite independent shops, eateries and salons for the first time in this year’s South Norfolk Independent Retailer Awards.


A buyer has been found for a Norfolk carmaker which went into administration - but it has been confirmed that 25 jobs have been lost in the process.

A desperately-needed link road to the south of Attleborough could go ahead if the county council agrees to lend £18m to development promotion company.

Most Read


The terrorist who carried out the Westminster attack served time in a Norfolk prison and had a string of criminal convictions.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

The chairman of a group working to open a permanent museum in Watton has said it has “taken longer” than expected but progress is being made.

Read more
Breckland Council

An attempt to revive a Breckland heritage site has failed after dwindling visitor numbers forced the owners to close the attraction.

Read more

A £105,000 fund to support community groups across Norfolk and Suffolk has been announced today.

Read more
Norfolk Community Foundation
Friday, January 27, 2017

MPs and officials were told improvements to a major bottleneck on the region’s railways could begin in three years’ time.

Read more
Elizabeth Truss

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 3°C


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter