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Peterborough's history goes back nearly 6,000 years. The Romans also had a great influence in this area circa AD 50, when they built the nearby town of Durobrivae, plus a 27 acre fortress (now located beneath Thorpe Wood golf course), and developed the local pottery production 'Nene Ware' into a major industry.

The glory of present day Peterborough is its cathedral, one of the finest Norman buildings in Britain. The city began as a monastery dedicated to St Peter in 656. The Danes sacked this in 870 and it was rebuilt 100 years later. It was destroyed by fire in 1117 and the core of the present cathedral was built on the site as an abbey church between 1118 and 1143.

Fronting the Cathedral Square is a great Norman Gateway. The chancel of the 14th-century Chapel of St Thomas of Canterbury stands to the left of the gate; its east window has a beautiful tracery. In the town square is the impressive old Butter Cross (known as the Guildhall), which dates from 1671. Next to it is Peterborough's ancient parish church of St John the Baptist. It was built around 1402, using stone from the nave of the Chapel of St Thomas of Canterbury.

While exploring historical Peterborough city centre, you can take tea at Harriet's at Cumbergate renowned for its old-fashioned tea rooms. Peterborough has two theatres, Key Theatre and The Cresset, offering drama, ballet and concerts. The city center has a wide selection of restaurants serving cuisine for every palate, with cocktail bars and night clubs open until the early hours. You can also enjoy a meal on one of the town's floating restaurants, with lovely view of Weeping willows that edge the river Nene walk.

The Town Museum provides a range of Guided Walks around Peterborough City Centre, in the daytime and during the evenings. The tours, which range from ghost walks to medieval, Victorian and wartime history, provide a fascinating and informative insight to different aspects of the city's past.

Tourist Information Centre:

9 Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HJ - Tel:+44 (0)1733 452336

Content by Steve B

Places of interest to visit in Peterborough

Peterborough Cathedral

For one of the finest examples of Norman architecture visit Peterborough Cathedral, where you can see the tomb of Catherine of Aragon one of Henry VIII wives. The nave (circa 1194), has 11 bays and massive piers, built from the local cream-coloured Barnack stone. The high wooden roof is decorated with 13th-century paintings. Within the nave is a painting of Old Scarlett, a 16th-century grave digger, who buried Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife) and Mary Queen of Scots, within the cathedral building.

Opening times: Mon-Fri 9.00-5.15pm, Sat 9.00-3.00pm, Sun 12-3.15pm - Free but donations welcome
Location: 2 Minster Precincts, Peterborough, PE1 1XS, Tel: 01733 343342 - View location map

Longthorpe Tower

A three-storey building constructed around 1300, which contains the best-surviving examples of English medieval wall-paintings. Run by the English Heritage

Opening times: pre-booked guided tours only, 1st Sunday of the month, Apr to Sep - Admission Charge
Location: PE3 1HA, To book call 01536 203230 - View location map

River Nene and Customs House

Located near the town bridge is a 16th-century Customs House (not open to public), surmounted by a light that once guided vessels to a wharf on the River Nene. The attractive river front is lined with weeping willow trees, a favourite mooring for river cruisers and narrow boats. The Key Theatre and Lido are also located in the River Embankment park.

Location: River Embankment - View location map

Peterborough Museum

Peterborough's Museum at Priestgate, houses the largest Jurassic marine reptile exhibit outside of London. The museum is also noted for a fine collection of carved bonework and straw marquetry made by prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars.

Opening times: Tue to Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 12noon to 4pm - Admission Free
Location: Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1LF; Tel: 01733 864663 - View location map

Peterborough Lido

Opened in 1936, it is one of the few surviving Lidos of its type still in use in the United Kingdom. Facilities include, 3 heated outdoor pools (main, learner and paddling pool) a grass sunbathing area and a refreshment area.

Opening times: every day in May to Sept, 9am - 6pm - Admission Charge
Location: Bishops Road, Peterborough, PE1 5BW, Tel: 01733 343618 - View location map


Designed around a theme to raise awareness on sustainable transport and the need to cut global emissions in the field of transport. The museum contains a number of indoor and outdoor model railways, plus a variety of full size steam and diesel-electric locomotives, including one of the two Birmingham Maglev's and the first British built hover train. Ideal for children and railway enthusiasts.

Opening times: Tue-Thur, Sat, Sun, 11am - 4pm - Admission Charge
Location: Oundle Rd, Peterborough, PE2 9NR, Tel: 01733 344240 - View location map

Ferry Meadows Country Park

A large open expanse of parkland, waterways, meadows and woodlands, situated in a large meander of the river Nene. Facilities include a shop, restaurant and toilets. Sailing and water sports are available on Gunwade Lake.

Opening times: open all year for walking, cycling and informal recreation - Car Parking Charge
Location: Ham Lane, Peterborough, PE2 5UU, Tel: 01733 234193 - View location map

Places to Visit Near Peterborough

Anglesey Abbey | Cambridge University | Clare Cottage | Ely Cathedral | The Fens | The Gog Magog Hills | Kimbolton Castle | King's College Chapel | Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse | Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre | Wandlebury Ring | Wimpole Hall

Other Towns and Villages in Cambridgeshire

Cambridge, Chatteris, Ely, Huntingdon, Linton, March, Peterborough, Ramsey, Stilton, Sawtry, St. Ives, St. Neots, Wisbech, Whittlesey

Car Parking in Peterborough

Craig Street; Lincoln Road; Bourges Boulevard; Brook Street; Bishops Road; Oundle Road; London Road; City Road; Cattle Market; Brook Street; Queensgate.

Map of Peterborough

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