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

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

Each year it helps bring the Hethersett community together in the name of fitness and friendly competition.


A former employee of RAF Marham has admitted stealing the waste aviation fuel from Tornado jets to use in his own vehicles.

It has been the focal point of marches and remembrance services for years.

Bread and milk worth about £30 were stolen from outside a village store after an overnight delivery.

Most Read

Just over two weeks ago, 10-month-old Jesse Langford-Daley was crawling around with his friends.

Read more
US Federal Reserve

A man armed with a firearm has been arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill in an incident in a village near Dereham.

Police, including armed units, were called to an address in Watton Road, Shipdham shortly after 9.40am on Friday following reports a man had made verbal threats to another man.

Read more
Wymondham Police Investigation Centre

A community remains in shock as a police investigation continues following the arrest of a man on suspicion of making threats to kill with a firearm.

Read more
Wymondham Police Investigation Centre
Thursday, February 6, 2014

It was its down-at-heel aura that first attracted Polly Grieff to the crumbling Old Manor at Saham Toney.

Read more
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three convenience stores could face closure, with up to 95 jobs at risk, after the owner placed them into administration.

Read more
United Kingdom

Local Weather



max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°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