There is another, more modern train station (Pic: Ian Child, SINO)
Although not often heard of, Peterborough is a large and vibrant city at the heart of rural East England and bridges the Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northampton borders. The city, which has a population of approximately 200,000 is rich with history however it is also a modern city as it continues to grow each year.
First of all, no trip to Peterborough is complete without a tour of the magnificent cathedral. Described as the ‘jewel’ in the city’s crown, Peterborough Cathedral has an impressive 1,300 year history. It is one of the finest Norman cathedrals in England and was founded as a monastic community in 654 AD. The cathedral is also the final resting place of Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon and was briefly the resting place of Mary Queen of Scots before she was moved to Westminster Abbey in 1612.
The cathedral is open for visitors every Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Tours of the building take place at 11:30am and 2pm, Monday to Saturday. Focuses of the tour include: the great West Front and portico, the medieval font as well as the Romanesque arches of the nave and the unique painted wooden thirteenth century ceiling. The tours are absolutely free but donations are invited to help the upkeep of the building.
Following the tour of the cathedral, why not visit the beautifully restored Peterborough Museum and City Gallery. It currently houses more than 200,000 items with key specimens of national and international importance.
A tour of the museum takes around 90 minutes and covers the major items on display, the history of the museum and can sometimes include a look behind the scenes. A large selection of refreshments are available at the Squires Coffee House.
If museums and tours aren’t your thing then why not experience the thrill of riding a steam engine whilst exploring the exquisite Nene Valley Railway. This is the UK’s leading steam engine and locomotive attraction.
Your journey begins from Wansford or Peterborough station and at the other end of the line are the stunning villages of Nassington and Yarwell. Both of which are definitely worth a visit.
One of Peterborough’s most famous attractions is Flag Fen Archaeology Park. This has been described as the finest Bronze Age archaeological site in northern Europe. It is home to a unique ancient wooden monument and a kilometre-long wooden causeway and platform which are both perfectly preserved in the wetland. It was built 3300 years ago and was used by the prehistoric fen people as a place of worship and ritual.
There’s also a great range of ancient objects on display including Britain’s oldest wheel. Flag Fen is only a few minutes drive from the city centre or can be reached easily by cycling along the beautiful cycle route known as the Green Wheel.
If shopping is your hobby, then why not visit one of Peterborough’s three shopping centres.
First up is the Queensgate Centre which is situated directly in the city centre. The centre is home to over 90 shops, includes 15 places to eat and has spaces for 2300 cars. The Queensgate centre is open every day and has late night shopping on Thursday night.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for then Peterborough also has the Brotherhood Retail Park and the Serpentine Green shopping centre. Both filled with shops and places to eat.
A tourism piece about Petebrorough wouldn’t be complete without mentioning it’s stunning greenery. Less than three miles away from the city centre, you’ll find Ferry Meadows. Ferry Meadows is a beautiful, safe and an unspoilt collection of meadows, lakes and rivers where visitors can cycle, horse-ride, go fishing or jog. There is something for everyone at Ferry Meadows whether it’s on water or on land with activities including boat trips, canoeing and sailing.
That’s the daytime sorted, but there’s just as much to do in Peterborough in the evening as well.
Visitors to the city can see shows all of types at the Peterborough Key Theatre. Situated in the city centre overlooking the river Nene, the Key Theatre plays host to many nationally touring shows, dancing, comedy, live music and much more.
There is also, The Cresset, which is located just outside of the city centre, and has regular visits from famous touring comedians, variety shows and musicians.
Peterborough also has a number of restaurants and bars situated on Cathedral Square. Many of these have outside tables allowing visitors to dine in the summer months in front of the city’s water features.
Sticking with being outside, Peterborough has four sports arenas - Peterborough Greyhounds, Peterborough Phantoms, Peterborough Panthers and an all seating stadium at Peterborough United Football Club.
Nicknamed ‘The Posh’ Peterborough United play their home games at the London Road football ground which is just a 5 minute walk from the city centre.
For more information on Peterborough and the events please visit http://www.visitpeterborough.com.