Peterborough: Where new and old combine

Peterborough is a pick-and-mix of everything: cobbled streets, cosmopolitan avenues, historic buildings and buzzing bars. Its central UK location means the largest city in Cambridgeshire is easy to get to, too.

Here are the best things to see and do in Peterborough, the great places to grab some grub, the perfect places to pitch up for a pint and where to head for some retail therapy. Plus the secret spots you might never have heard of.

Things to see and do in Peterborough

No trip to Peterborough is complete without a visit to the city’s stunning cathedral. Breathe in history as you visit the final resting place of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and explore a treasure trove of fascinating archaeological, cultural and artistic artefacts. Why not take a picnic and sit in the cathedral’s beautiful grounds, drinking in the architecture around you?

Elsewhere, Peterborough Museum is a hive of family-fun-things-to-do. Thanks to its 2012 multi-million-pound redevelopment the museum has a fresh, vibrant feel and is home to more than 200,000 items. General admission is free.

For a family day out in the open air, Nene Valley Railway is a must. The children will just love the railway’s ‘official’ Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas will be in action to the end of June before he’s taken to hospital for a check-up, so make sure you visit now.

Shopping in Peterborough

Whether you’re looking for high street names or quirky independents, Peterborough is the place for you.

You’ll find established retail names such as Accessorize, Marks and Spencer and Next at Queensgate Shopping Centre and home and garden shops at Peterborough Garden Park.

Peterborough’s city centre is a melting pot of independent shops and national retailers. Ahead of your trip check out this map of more than 30 independently owned local retailers in Peterborough.

Food and drink in Peterborough

From fine cuisine to bangers and mash, high-end ballrooms to pub karaoke and everything in between, Peterborough has a wide range of options for grub.

Clarkes Fine Dining has a friendly, relaxed feel and, under the stewardship of chef Lee Clarke, a philosophy of using locally sourced ingredients. Clarkes’ a la carte menu is mouthwatering – we loved the line-caught brill, mussels and bean ragu, and make sure you take a look at the restaurant’s tasting menu too.

For something a little more pub-grub, head to the Beehive  for fried haddock and chips, toad in the hole and corned beef hash.

If you want to get your dancing shoes on, head to the Cherry Tree where hosts Ann and Gess oversee some of the best live music events in the city. Real ale fans? Make sure you enjoy a drop of the good stuff at the Palmerston Arms, or the Palmy, if you’re feeling friendly.

Hidden Peterborough

Here are two of the city’s hidden gems…

The Old Copper Kettle cafe is charm personified. Take a step back in time in this quaint tea shop as you enjoy a quick snack.

Longthorpe Tower is a historic marvel and a wonderful medieval building. It’s not the easiest place to find in Peterborough, but well worth the trip.

Upcoming events in Peterborough

Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival (14 June) The ancient Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing is celebrated every year – head to Peterborough Rowing Lake to join in the fun and help raise cash for charity.

The Peterborough Heritage Festival
Peterborough Heritage FestivalThe Peterborough Heritage Festival is back even bigger and better than before! This year’s historical extravaganza will take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 June, with fringe events running 13 – 29 June 2014. 

The Festival offers plenty of FREE activities for the whole family to enjoy. Visit the new ‘Food Fayre’ on Bridge Street, to discover an exciting taste of unusual local produce, foods and drinks for you to sample or to buy and take away. Plus, commemorating the First World War, there will be a large Living History Encampment on site, along with a full-sized replica of a tank.

Find out more about the Peterborough Heritage Festival here.

Enjoy your trip to Peterborough.