Today's attraction is Yesterday's World

The interactive displays at the major new £4m tourist attraction at Yarmouth should bring a warm glow of nostalgia for a simpler age.

A station announcer apologised that the steam train was late - blaming leaves on the line. Some things, it seems, never change.

All the other interactive displays at the major new £4m tourist attraction at Yarmouth, however, should bring a warm glow of nostalgia for a simpler age.

An interactive museum called Yesterday's World, which aims to pull in more than 150,000 visitors a year, has been built on Marine Parade by a holiday-park millionaire from Hastings with a love of the past.

An original Victorian carousel forms the centre piece of the attraction, which has taken a year to build. Today the finishing touches were being put to exhibits in readiness for the grand opening.


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Peter Bull, who owns 24 holiday parks across the UK, was on the look-out for a new site to expand his other Yesterday's World based at Battle, near Hastings, which shows his collection of historical curios and memorabilia dating from the late Victorian period up to the 1950s.

He saw the current building at Yarmouth when on holiday there and decided that the area was ideal for something gentler to compliment the arcades and roller-coasters.

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“This is for the whole family, from nine to 90-year-olds,” he said. “It is nice for people to take a trip down memory lane and say I remember that and for kids to learn about where they come from. I love nostalgia and I think a lot of other people like to see it too.”

He added: “I started the collection when I was small and just kept on going. It is a mix of things. Normally a lot of this stuff would just be lost. People throw it away which is why it's getting rarer and rarer.”

Replica shops, including a cobbler, toffee shop, and toy shop, house original historic items brought from all over the world. There is also the preserved interior of a Victorian chemist, and creepy displays with waxwork models, some originally from Madame Tussauds, showing scenes from famous books from the period like Frankenstein and H.G.Wells' Time Machine.

“Some is donated, other pieces are bought from other collections,” explained Mr Bull, noting that he purchased an elaborate Victorian toy carousel from eBay for £3000.

Mr Bull hopes the attraction will also serve an education purpose as the interactive displays fit in with key stage 1 and 2 of the national curriculum. A computer-animated Queen Victoria teaches pupils about the period.

“Most children find museums sterile. We are trying to teach kids in the modern way. It is an interactive lesson in where we come from,” said Mr Bull.

t Yesterday's World opens on Friday. Tickets are £9 for adults, £7 for children, under 4s free, family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £28 with £3.50 per extra child.

t www.yesterdaysworld.co.uk.

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