Car-free adventures aroundPeterboroughCambridgeshire
Peterborough’s cathedral is more than 900 years old and the countryside nearby has Roman roads and villas buried under its green miles. The city's centuries of history are not immediately evident around the railway station, but head for the museum, just south of the nearby bus station, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the local heritage, which includes nearly four millennia of human habitation and marine fossils that date back 150 million years. Nearby, you can stroll beside the river, ride a steam train through the Nene Valley or take a boat trip on the lake.
1. Stroll round the City
Regular trains arrive in Peterborough from London, Leicester, Doncaster and Cambridge. Arriving by train from Cambridge means passing through Ely, with great views over the marina to the hilltop cathedral. The railway runs on, above rushy fens and riverside water meadows, to March (see 4 below). From Peterborough station, well-signed paths show you the best traffic-free routes into town.
- Check out the Brewery Tap on the corner with Westgate, an award-winning microbrewery serving Thai food near Peterborough bus station.
- Peterborough Museum, just south of the bus station, has all kinds of local treasures, from fossilised ichthyosaurs to a Victorian operating theatre.
- From the museum, it’s a five-minute walk to the cathedral. Turn right on Priestgate, left up Cross Street and right along pedestrianised Church Street, passing St John’s church and the columned 17th-century Guildhall. There’s a great market here Tuesday to Saturday.
- The Cathedral, nine centuries old this year, has a hand-painted 13th-century wooden ceiling – the only one of its type surviving in Britain. Katherine of Aragon is buried there and the cathedral is open every day.
2. Longthorpe Tower and Ferry Meadows
Longthorpe Tower is a square, medieval tower with unusual domestic wall paintings inside, dating from the 14th century. These include a Wheel of Fortune, decorated with pictures that represent the five senses: a monkey eating, a spider’s web, a hawk…
A short walk away are Ferry Meadows, where you can ride boats, bikes and miniature trains – or just stroll round the lake.
- Longthorpe Tower is open weekends seasonally.
- How to get to Longthorpe Tower without a car: hop on Citibus 2, which runs every ten minutes. After a 4 minute ride, get off at Woburn Close and walk a few steps forward to find the tower on your left.
- The Fox and Hound pub is a two minute stroll further up the road for refreshments before or afterwards and there’s another bus stop outside.
- Also nearby is Ferry Meadows with boat trips, outdoor centre, winding trails and a miniature train ride. Cruise across the lake or hire a bike from Rutland cycles.
- To get to Ferry Meadows, walk directly past the tower and keep straight on the cycle path, crossing over the main road. Turn right on the road beyond for 50m; then take the path on your left and follow it over the River Nene into Ferry Meadows.