New look for ‘Madonna’s bra’ visitor centre
PUBLISHED: 13:17 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:17 13 February 2020
Its “whimsical” tented canopies were once described as being like “Madonna lying on her back”.
But there is nothing controversial about the new-look Norfolk Visitor Centre next to Meadow car park in Cromer.
It re-opened on Saturday, February 8 after a complete redesign to showcase North Norfolk's Deep History Coast.
The 22-mile stretch of coastline between Weybourne and Cart Gap has revealed spectacular finds.
Happisburgh is the oldest archaeological site in northern Europe and West Runton yielded the most complete fossilised mammoth skeleton ever found in the UK.
The new centre features audio-visual, interactive and tactile displays explaining the finds and the evolution of the coastline.
Virginia Gay, North Norfolk District Council's portfolio holder for culture and wellbeing, said: "The centre will give the perfect introduction to the story of North Norfolk's Deep History Coast, a story which stretches back hundreds of thousands of years.
"But we're also very proud of the new facilities within the building, especially the new fully accessible Changing Places room which is the first in our district."
Working closely with the Norfolk Museum Service, the centre will be a hub for activities and will signpost visitors to where they can dig a little deeper, for example by visiting Cromer Museum's geology hub or the fossil collection at Sheringham Museum.
Visitors will also be able to learn more about the Discovery Trail, a series of 11 interactive sites stretching along the coastline.
Meanwhile, the public toilets at the centre have been refurbished and redesigned. They now include a new purpose-built toilet and changing room for people who cannot use standard facilities. The Changing Places toilet has a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and either a tracking or mobile hoist system.
The works to transform the building were part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, with NNDC funding the remainder and the costs of the refurbished toilets.
When the visitor centre opened in 2007, the structure was likened to Madonna during the times she wore a conical gold bra in her stage show. It replaced the previous tourist office at the nearby Prince of Wales Road bus station.