Video and photo gallery: New Hoveton miniature model museum is eyeing a big future
The country’s largest indoor model railway opens today – with its owner hoping it can establish itself as a major attraction on the Broads.
Wroxham Miniature Worlds features more than 3,000ft of railway track and also includes a 75,000-brick Lego display, triple Scalextric tracks and the largest-ever collection of Sindy dolls.
It is being opened by Sean Green, his father Ray and brother Mark, who are directors of Semmence Coaches in Wymondham and Ambassador Travel in Great Yarmouth, as a way of capitalising on the thousands of tourists who visit the Norfolk Broads every year.
Mr Green said he had been inspired by his own love of modelling and the large-scale model museums he had seen on the continent.
He said: “I’d seen it elsewhere and thought that it’d be nice to have in Norfolk. Then I thought ‘Why shouldn’t the person who does that be me?’
“There’s always been a shortage on the Norfolk Broads of things to do when the weather turns bad.
“We could see a gap in the market for an attraction indoors, and something that could be done at a price where people can afford to come time and time again.”
The scenes painstakingly recreated at the model museum range from traditional English villages, where trains chug peacefully past cricketers on the green, to snow-dusted mountain villages and a Japanese cityscape complete with bullet train.
The 10,000sq ft space also has room for touring exhibitions and features smaller displays from local modellers. Set up on the site of Eric Bates and Sons furniture business on Station Road, it will also have a cafe and model shop.
Mr Green hopes to attract up to 50,000 visitors a year, and allow others to finally share his passion, after a fire at a neighbouring unit delayed last May’s opening.
“The collecting bug is a gene that some people have,” he added. “I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years but like all collectors there’s never enough space – here I’m lucky because I have 10,000 square feet.”
Wroxham Miniature Worlds is open from 10am to 4pm from Friday to Monday until May, when it moves to seven-day opening.
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For more on Wroxham Minature Worlds, watch Mustard TV.