Preview: Peterborough Heritage Festival 2017

Peterborough Heritage Festival
Peterborough Heritage Festival

The highlight of Peterborough’s Cultural calendar - the Heritage Festival - will take place on Saturday (17 June) and Sunday (18) in the city centre.

It is a chance to experience 3,500 years of history in this unique, living history festival. Held in the historic heart of the city and the stunning surroundings of the cathedral precincts, this is the city centre’s most popular event, attracting over 37,500 people last year.

Each year the festival grows, having witnessed the first city-centre joust for centuries, in 2015, plus a full Viking invasion last year.

The highlight for this year will commemorate the 375th anniversary of the start of the English Civil War, seeing Parliamentarians and Royalists battle in a full blown re-enactment of the siege of Woodcroft Castle.

Visitors will be able to see Roundheads and Cavaliers battle for control of Peterborough in a spectacular display of fighting skill with period weaponry, armour and siege tactics – the main performances are at 3pm each day - plus see the soldiers warm up for battle each day with a drill display at 12pm.

The Heritage Festival also features a large programme of fringe events which run through to 24 June, where people can get involved with the multitude of heritage societies and attractions across the city – see details online or pick up a brochure from around the city for more information.

Peterborough Heritage Festival

Peterborough Heritage Festival

While the main arena displays take place with historical entertainment for all, the little ones can enjoy some traditional entertainment designed exclusively for them with Fiery Jack, the court jester, in the cathedral grounds. There are also plenty of fun things to do throughout the day, including family trails, scavenger hunts and even a drawing competition with a wide range of prizes to be won!

New for 2017 is Horace the Pliosaur - a giant, 35 foot-long sea lizard. Fresh out of the Jurassic ocean, he is a 165 million years old unique blend of engineering, film and live performance with fact-filled, fun, family entertainment. A great opportunity for families to discover Jurassic history in an interactive way.

Following sell out success from the likes of David Starkey, 2017 welcomes Keynote Speaker, TV and radio favourite Professor Kate Williams (BBC2’s Restoration Home and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour).

In this beautifully illustrated talk, Dr Williams uncovers the truth about Queen Victoria: The First Royal Rebel and her Struggle for the Throne, showing how she was a wild, vibrant girl, with passions that often got her into trouble – very much amused.

The free festival, now in its ninth successful year, is presented by Vivacity in association with Perkins Engines Company Limited, Peterborough Cathedral and Peterborough City Council.

Tickets for the Keynote Speaker can be bought from the Key Theatre on 01733 207239.

Main weekend events

- Saturday 17 June:

10am: Civil War music by the arena

10.30am: Falconry display

11am: Official opening including grand parade

11.30am: Roman drill display

12 noon: Civil War drill display

12.30pm: Wars of the Roses

1pm: Vikings

1.30pm: World War 1 display

2pm: Falconry display

2.30pm: Normans - The Battle of Lincoln, 1217

3pm: Civil War – The Siege of Woodcroft Castle

3.30pm: Wars of the Roses

4pm: Vikings

4.30pm: Grand Parade of all performers

- Sunday 18 June:

11am: Civil war music by the arena

11.30am: Falconry display

12 noon: Civil War drill display

12.30pm: Wars of the Roses

1pm: Roman drill display

1.30pm: World War 1 display

2pm: Normans - The Battle of Lincoln, 1217

2.30pm: Vikings

3pm: Civil War – The Siege of Woodcroft Castle

3.30pm: Falconry display

4pm: Wars of the Roses

4.30pm: Grand Parade of all performers

- see full festival details and listings online at www.vivacity-peterborough.com/heritagefest.