Where to enjoy a good sit down in Peterborough city centre

A s I get older the simple things in life become far more appealing – a quiet night in watching the telly, a decent cup of coffee at one of the many Peterborough cafés – a tasty beer in a bar or pub and, perhaps most important of all, a good sit down (writes Peterborough Civic Society’s Toby Wood)!

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:23 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:26 pm
The Civic Society's favourite city centre seats

For me there is nothing better than sitting in the city centre and watching the world go by on a bright spring day. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of places where I can indulge this simple pleasure. However, there are still improvements to be made, and I will suggest a few later.

On my most recent wander round town I discovered 10 central and easily-accessible public locations which include adequate seating. The actual type of seating is remarkably similar – perhaps there is a Peterborough City Council template. I found all the seating to be sturdy and functional and easy to sit on. All the benches generally cater for a reasonable number of people, but they are not so comfortable to encourage people to curl up and fall asleep. Indeed the cold metal edging on some of the seating encourages you to get up and move onwards pretty quickly!

Here are my 10 locations, some better than others and, in traditional Top Of The Pops order, starting with number 10. 1. Cathedral Square (the busiest and most used seating, particularly in summer) 2. Green Square Long Causeway (complete with its quotes from poet John Clare); 3. St. John’s Square (facing the glorious front of St John’s parish church); 4. Bridge Street (busy and shady – sadly sometimes care has to be taken to avoid bird droppings. Nevertheless, from here you can watch speeding mobility scooters and cyclist being done (for riding); 5. Lower Bridge Street (near the Magistrates’ court and the Henry Penn Bellfounder artwork); 6. Church Street next to St John’s Church (close to Barclay’s Bank); 7. Long Causeway (near Boots’ opticians); 8. Laxton Square (outside the Market); 9. King Street (off Cowgate); 10. Cowgate Crescent Bridge roundabout (on the way to the bus station).

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Perhaps my favourite place to sit is on Cathedral Square, not on one of the benches but on one of the square marble cubes facing the entrance to the cathedral. These one-man resting places are ideal for the people watcher and offer the sitter the chance to swivel round through all four points of the compass. Marvellous!

There are other places to sit in town, notably in Queensgate. However the seating there is generally little coloured pods which look comfortable enough but are quite hard to get out of. 

Perhaps the most surprising place to sit in the city centre is also the quietest. I refer of course to the cloisters which are on the south side of the cathedral. Go through the precincts, follow the little path round to the right there you are. Quiet, out of the way and certainly the best place in town to grab a lunchtime sandwich and sit and contemplate the world.

Of course, dear reader, I may have missed one of your favourites places. Please write and let me know.