Wells Heritage Centre now open


A brand new centre celebrating the rich and varied history of Wells-next-the-Sea launched last week – and chose Norfolk Day, Friday 27th July, to throw opens its doors to an eager public.

Over its first three days, well over 600 people visited the centre’s four galleries devoted to the town’s history, stories and well-known characters from the past. Ideal for families and perfect for the summer holidays, there are all sorts of interactive activities, such as a Smugglers’ Trail where visitors solve clues hidden within the Heritage Centre and crack a code in order to join the Smugglers’ Gang.

This fascinating facility, which is part of the brand new £5m Wells Maltings arts, heritage and community centre, is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund in addition to a range of charitable funders and private donors.

Two galleries, developed by Ugly Studios, from Norwich, in consultation with the local community, are packed with panels, digital screens and other interactive props. Elsewhere, there are two further galleries which offer additional sensory experiences.

Firstly, in the attractive Kiln Room, which was part of the original mid-19th century maltings building, there is a specially commissioned animated film – Water Marks by Tracy Satchwill – providing an interesting insight into the town’s close connection to the coast, delving back into the history books to see how this busy port and tourist destination has developed over the centuries, as told by its people.

There is also an immersive soundscape – Guella by Bill Vine – enveloping visitors in the voices, noises and sounds of Wells.

Simon Daykin, director of the new Wells Maltings complex, said: “We’re really excited about the opening of the Wells Heritage Centre and it was fitting that it opened for the very first time on Norfolk Day. So far, visitors love it – we’ve had dozens of glowing comments, from the 600+ visitors this weekend. It’s a fascinating place, telling the history of Wells via land, sea and shore and is aimed at visitors of all ages. It you haven’t visited yet, you are very welcome.”

The Wells Heritage Centre is now open daily from 10am to 6pm, with free entry during Carnival Week – until Sunday, 5th August.