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.

Peterborough Butter Cross Market
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, tearooms, 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 nightclubs 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

Content by Susanne B

Places of Interest to Visit in Peterborough

Peterborough Cathedral

Peter CathedralOne 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 gravedigger, 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

Longthorpe Tower

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

Opening times: pre-booked guided tours only, 1st Sunday of the month, Apr to Sep - Admission Charge
Location: Thorpe Rd, Peterborough PE3 6LU
Tel: 01536 203230

River Nene and Old Customs House

Peterborough Customs HouseLocated 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 riverfront 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 Museum

marine reptile exhibitPeterborough'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

Peterborough Lido

Peterborough LidoOpened 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

Railworld Wildlife Haven

UK Hover TrainDesigned around a theme to raise awareness on sustainable transport and the need to cut global emissions in the field of transport. The attraction 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). The site was transformed from a derelict coal yard into an inner-city green space, a landscaped haven with ponds and waterfalls, creating increased biodiversity and habitat for our wildlife. Located nearby is the city terminus for the Nene Valley Steam Railway.

Opening times: times vary see website for details - Admission Charge
Location: Oundle Rd, Peterborough, PE2 9NR
Tel: 01733 344240

Ferry Meadows Country Park

Ferry Meadows Roman RemainsA 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

Map of Peterborough

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Peterborough’s largest independent power tool and garden tool dealer. Suppliers for a wide range of major tool brands and accessories

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