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. Also establishing a 27 acre fortress (now located beneath Thorpe Wood golf course) and developed the local pottery production, 'Nene Ware', into a major industry.
The Ancient Butter Cross in the Market Square © TAB
The crowning glory of present day Peterborough is its cathedral, one of the finest Norman buildings in Britain. The site 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 then 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 remaining chancel of the 14th-c 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 this is Peterborough's ancient parish church of St John the Baptist. Built around 1402, using stone from the nave of the Chapel of St Thomas of Canterbury.
While exploring Peterborough's historical city centre, you can enjoy refreshments in the town square, which is fronted by a range of, tea rooms, coffee shops and restaurants. 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 a lovely view of the Weeping willows that edge the River Nene.
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:
|Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HJ - Tel:+44 (0)1733 452336|
One of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the UK. The nave (circa 1194), has 11 bays and massive piers, built from local cream-coloured Barnack stone. The high wooden roof is decorated with 13th-c paintings. Thousands of pilgrims are drawn here annually to visit the tomb of Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife) who was interred in a simple tomb in the centre of the cathedral. Within the nave is a painting of Old Scarlett, a 16th-c grave digger, who buried Catherine of Aragon and also Mary Queen of Scots, within the cathedral building. Daily Eucharist and Matins and Evensong services (see website for times). Guided Tours of the Cathedral, Tower and Precincts are available (charges may apply).
Opening times: Mon-Fri 9.00-5.15pm,
Sat 9.00-3.00pm, Sun 12-3.15pm - donations welcome
Location: 2 Minster Precincts, Peterborough, PE1 1XS
Tel: 01733 343342
A three-storey building constructed around 1300,
which contains the best-surviving examples of English
Managed by the English Heritage.
Opening times: pre-booked guided
tours only, 1st Sunday of the month, Apr to Sep - Admission
Location: Thorpe Rd, Peterborough PE3 6LU
Tel: 01536 203230
Image Credit: Philip Halling (CC2)
Located near the town bridge is a 16th-c 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.
Peterborough's Museum at Priestgate, houses the largest Jurassic marine reptile exhibit outside of London. The museum is also noted for its displays of local Roman finds, plus 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
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
Location: Bishops Road, Peterborough, PE1 5BW
Tel: 01733 343618
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 (see image). Ideal for children and railway enthusiasts. Located next the museum is the city terminus for the Nene Valley Steam Railway.
Opening times: Tue-Thur, Sat, Sun, 11am - 4pm - Admission Charge
Location: Oundle Rd, Peterborough, PE2 9NR
Tel: 01733 344240
A large open expanse of parkland, waterway, meadows and mixed woodlands, situated within a large meander of the River Nene. Facilities include a golf course, shop, restaurant and miniature railway. Sailing and water sports are available on Gunwade Lake. The outline of an excavated Roman Aisled Barn and Roman Temple can be found in the centre of the park (see image).
Opening times: open all year for walking, cycling and informal recreation - Car Parking Charge
Location: Ham Lane, Peterborough, PE2 5UU
Tel: 01733 234193
Anglesey Abbey | Barnack | Chilford Hall Vineyard | Clare Cottage | Denny Abbey | Ely Cathedral | Houghton Mill | Nene Valley Railway | Flag Fen | Gog Magog Hills | Prickwillow Drainage Engine | Ramsey Abbey Gatehouse | Raptor Foundation | Sacrewell Farm | Wicken Fen | Wimpole Hall