Where to find Peterborough’s Heritage Open Day events

Every September thousands of volunteers across England organise events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture.

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 6:24 am
Peterborough Cathedral will be hosting heritage events.
Peterborough Cathedral will be hosting heritage events.

It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – as part of Heritage Open Days - all of which are FREE to explore and most do not need booking, just turn up at the specified times.

Across Peterborough, there is:

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J W D’Arcy, Jewellers, 7 Westgate, Peterborough city centre.

A final opportunity to see behind the scenes of this historic jeweller’s shop. The building dates from around 1799 and has served as a shop since 1855. Visitors will be able to see behind the scenes of this city-centre shop and learn the history of the building and the current business that has traded as J W D’Arcy since 1923.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and Sunday 12 September at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00

Booking required. Email: [email protected]

All Saints Parish Church

Park Road, Peterborough

Guided tours of the church built in 1886 by the renowned Victorian architect, Temple Moore, with various fittings also designed by the architect.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 12:00 - 16:00 and Sunday 12 September from 12:00 - 16:00

Alwalton Church - 
St Andrew’s

Views of the church which is the last resting place of the motor car pioneer and developer Sir Henry Royce with a small display of his life.

Explore this medieval church in the quiet village of Alwalton. Earliest parts date from 1170. Tower built in 13th century. Extensive restoration in 1840s and further improvement works in the 1960s. Light lunches available from midday to 2pm. Teas and coffees available all day.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 1000-1600 and Sunday 12 September from 1000-1600

Cambridgeshire Chattels

Milton Hall, Milton Park

Cambridgeshire Chattels on display.

Event Times: Monday 13 September at 10.30 and 14.30. Pre-booking required on01733 267740.

Northborough Parish Church - St Andrew’s

Explore the heritage of St Andrew’s, a Norman, Grade I listed church dating back to the 12th century, with 13th-century nave and aisles, as well as a 14th century chantry chapel. Dedicated to St. Andrew, the church has strong connections to the Claypole and Cromwell families and the poet John Clare.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 11:00 - 16:00

Peterborough Cathedral

Discover Peterborough Cathedral and the One Small Step artwork, and even have the opportunity to explore the cathedral at night with candlelight.

Come and explore this beautiful building where guides will be on hand to answer questions or take this chance to listen to the monastic service of compline at the end of the evening. There will be a special evening opening to coincide with Heritage Open Days where you can discover the hidden secrets of this magnificent site by 

Event Times: Friday 10 September from 09:00 - 17:00 (Candlelit event 18:30 - 22:00); Saturday 11 September from 09:00 - 17:00; Sunday 12 September from 12:00 - 15:00; Monday 13 September to Saturday 18 September from 09:00 - 17:00; Sunday 19 September from 12:00 - 15:00

Railworld Wildlife Haven

The Railworld Wildlife Haven off Oundle Road is a much-loved visitor attraction and community asset.

Volunteers, with the help of many companies, groups and individuals, have transformed the derelict coal yard into an inner-city Green space, a landscaped haven with ponds and waterfalls, creating increased biodiversity and habitat for our wildlife... plus restored and repurposed Victorian aqueducts and bridges in true ‘Circular Economy’ style!

Over 30 years, Volunteers have also created the ‘Globe Hall Earth Centre’ with a solar-powered ‘World’ – Plus over 2,000 sqft of intriguing, exciting model railways!

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 10:30 -18:00 Guided tours at 11:00, 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30

St Andrew’s, Woodwalton

A spectacular church glimpsed by hundreds from the East Coast train-line each day, but a church few have seen inside...

In terms of architectural history, the tower dates largely from the reconstruction of 1860, but substantial areas of the shell and much of the interior are medieval. A particularly striking feature of the interior is the disparity between the south arcade which is early English in date and the north arcade which is distinctively perpendicular in its use of shields on the capitals. Contents include a collection of early stone coffin lids and fine neo-classical monuments in the chancel.

Event Times: Sunday 12 September from 14:00 - 17:00 and Sunday 19 September from 14:00 - 17:00.

St Botolph’s, Longthorpe

St Botolph’s on Thorpe Road is just completing Phase 1 of a major Reordering Project. This is the chance for visitors to see what work has been done so far and admire the newly-located font and restored organ as well as the beautiful Ancaster granite floor in the west end, chancel and sanctuary. History displays will tell the story of the church from its building in the 1260s and will include displays on links in the graveyard to local X-Ray pioneer, Alfred Caleb Taylor, and the Paralympics.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 10am to 4pm

St John the Baptist Church

St John’s is situated in a prominent position in the heart of Peterborough’s Cathedral Square and is an iconic feature of the city centre.

It has been a living heritage of faith serving the people of the city since 1407.

Event Times: Tuesday 14 September from 09:00 - 14:00; Friday 17 September from 09:00 - 14:00; Saturday 18 September from 09:00 - 17:00; and Sunday 19 Septemberfrom 12:30 - 16:00

St Michael & All Angels,

Discover this parish church, also used as a community meeting place, in a beautiful setting close to the River Nene at 

St Michael & All Angels was built in the 12th century as a chapel-of-ease to St Kyneburgha, Castor, for the benefit of the villagers of Sutton and to serve the Peterborough Abbey Grange Farm and Manor in the village. The church was enlarged c1170 when the original South wall was removed, the two Norman arches erected and the South aisle added. The Chantry Chapel (which now contains the vestry and organ) added about 1225 was originally dedicated to St Giles, the patron saint of lepers and cripples.

Event Times: Sunday 19 September from 12:00 - 16:00

St Pegas Church and 
medieval wallpaintings, peakirk

The most striking feature of St Pegas Church is its extensive 14th century wallpaintings, including a passion sequence and a St Christopher, as well as two lively morality paintings. The smaller (and rarer) of these depicts two women enjoying a good gossip, encouraged by a devil pushing their heads together, while a larger painting depicts the story of the three living and the three dead, illustrating the transience of life and the meaninglessness of material pleasure.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 12.00 - 16.00; Saturday 18 September from 12.00 - 16.00; and Sunday 19 September from 12.00 - 16.00

St. Margaret’s Church

St. Margaret’s church in Fletton Avenue is the home of the nationally important Saxon Stones.

Event Times: Saturday 11 September from 1300 - 1700; and Sunday 12 September: 1300 - 1700

Thorney Village Talk and Tour

Meet at the abbey for a talk on the history of this Fenland village followed by a tour of the church formed within the remnants of this major Benedictine Abbey.

The tour of the Victoria model village will finish at the community museum.

Event Times: September 13 at 17.30-18.45 and September 18 at 13.30-14.45.

Crowland Abbey

Originally a Benedictine monastery, the current building dates from 1170.

A wealthy abbey due to income from pilgrims to the shrine of St Guthlac, the building was surrendered to the king at the dissolution. Dissolved and partially demolished in 1539.

In 1643 Crowland was a royalist town with Cromwellians in Spalding and Peterborough. Crowlanders kidnapped the Revd Ramm from Spalding, 
resulting in a siege.

Event Times: Friday 10 September from 13:00 - 17:00; Sunday 12 September from 13:00 - 16:00; Monday 13 September to Friday 17 September from 11:00 - 16:00; Sunday 19 September from 13:00 - 16:00

Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay

Set alongside the River Nene, Fotheringhay Church has a superb octagonal lantern tower. In addition to being an important place of worship, it has numerous and notable links with history. 
Guide books available.

From the time of the Normans to the advent of the Stuarts, it was directly linked to the royal families of both Scotland and England. Here a future king of England, Richard III, who would die on Bosworth Field was born; here a queen of Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots, accused of murdering her husband and plotting the destruction of Queen Elizabeth, was publicly executed.

Here a royal duke, killed fighting the French in battle at Agincourt in 1415, was buried; here too a royal duke and his son killed in battle nearer home, at Wakefield in Yorkshire, were re-buried. Here an English King, Edward IV, plotted and failed to replace the king of Scotland with his brother, just as his own brother, The Duke of Clarence, had plotted against him.

Meanwhile, the church in Fotheringhay deformed but defiant stands testament to the destruction wrought by Henry VIII’s Reformation.

Event Times: Saturday 18 September from 09:30 - 17:00. Pre-booking required at [email protected]

St John the Baptist, ACHURCH

Explore this beautiful church at Achurch near Oundle, dating from the 13th century. Join a guided tour or use the self-guided leaflet to explore at your own pace. 
 For children there is a free trail available.

The church of St John the Baptist stands on the Nene Way, a short distance from the village of Achurch. Traditionally, its foundation is linked to the De Waterville family, lords of the manor, who are said to have built the church as a thanksgiving for a safe return from crusade.

The Rev. Robert Browne, a controversial figure linked to the foundation of the non-
conformist movement, was rector of the church for some 40 years.

Later becoming the church for the Lilford estate, it houses monuments from Lilford church which was demolished in the 18th century, including some well preserved 17th century memorial tablets.

Event Times: September 11/12 and 18/19 from 10:00 - 16:00 for guided tours on request or self-guided tours all day;