How to celebrate Peterborough's fantastic culture and heritage

The country’s largest festival of history and culture returns this weekend – and there is a lot to see and do across the Peterborough area once more.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Scores of volunteers will be turning out to welcome visitors at events to celebrate the fantastic history and culture of buildings in the city. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.

Here is what you can look forward to, this weekend and next.

St Mary’s Church Open Day

Heritage Open Days - Norman Cross Napoleonic PrisonHeritage Open Days - Norman Cross Napoleonic Prison
Heritage Open Days - Norman Cross Napoleonic Prison

Church Drive, Orton Waterville

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

September 9, 10am-4pmAn introduction to the church building and churchyard with explanation of its purpose, use and history.Information about links with the local community.For those who already know the church there will be new insights into things they never knew.For newcomers there is the opportunity to learn more about a building in the centre of their community which has provided a place of worship for a thousand years.No booking required

St Margaret’s Church FlettonFletton Avenue, Fletton, September 8, 9, 10This is a chance to see inside St. Margaret’s Church and look at the Saxon Stones.

Heritage Open Days -  St Mary's Church, Orton WatervilleHeritage Open Days -  St Mary's Church, Orton Waterville
Heritage Open Days - St Mary's Church, Orton Waterville

There will be members of the congregation on hand to guide you through the displays. Trace your family history. Absorb the wonderful architecture. Enjoy the peace of these wonderful surroundings.On the Friday there will be a talk at 7.30pm on ‘Building the Brickopolis’ The expansion of Fletton: A story of railways, brickyards and people.

No need to book.

St Andrew’s ChurchChurch Street, Northborough, September 9, 11am-4pmDiscover a Medieval church dating back to the 12th century, the west wall possibly earlier. It has connections to the Cromwell and Claypole Families and the poet John Clare. It has two bells housed in a double bell cote, one of only three local examples which still exist today. Its organ is a rare example of John Avery’s work built in 1783 and rebuilt in 1991.No booking required

Heritage Open Days - Peterborough Cathedral library.Heritage Open Days - Peterborough Cathedral library.
Heritage Open Days - Peterborough Cathedral library.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Peterborough CathedralSeptember 16, 11am-3pmFree highlights tours of Peterborough Cathedral 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pmFree precincts tours of Peterborough Cathedral grounds 10.30am and 2.30pmCathedral library open for visitors 11am-3pmThe fantastic 60-minute highlights tours explore the key features of this ancient sacred space. Visitors will learn how two queens came to be buried in the cathedral, visit one of the most unique pieces of Saxon sculpture anywhere in England and marvel at the glorious fan vaulting and Romanesque architecture.The beautiful grounds are well worth exploring with an expert guide - visit the sites of former monastic buildings, consider the architecture of the famous west front, admire the work of the cathedral gardening team and much moreThe cathedral library will be open for one day only. Visitors can view this 14th century former chapel and some items from the archivePre-booking: Preferred

St John’s Church

Heritage Open Days -  St John's churchHeritage Open Days -  St John's church
Heritage Open Days - St John's church

Peterborough City Centre, September 9 (10am-4pm) and September 10 (2pm-4pm)

From family friendly activity to doorstep discoveries.Be inspired to learn about the architecture and architects of the building with local history displays and a visual presentation covering 616 years of its existence.Take time to explore what the local community groups have to offer. Sample Tai Chi and even take a tower trip.

Booking not necessary.

Norman Cross Napoleonic Prison DepotNorman House, Norman Cross, Peterborough, September 16/17,10am-4pmNorman Cross was the site of a large prison depot (in use from 1797 until 1814) during the Napoleonic Wars with accommodation for 7,000 captives. Many of these men remained in the depot for up to 11 years.It was the first purpose-built war prison and was the major industry in the area during this period.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To occupy their time, and make money in the prison market, prisoners made bone models of ships, domino boxes and straw pictures and marquetry boxes. This event unwraps their creativity.Displays of prisoner of war arts and crafts, and modern interpretations of the Norman Cross site throughout the day.

Visitors are welcome to bring items of POW work for discussion and appraisal. Deeds of arms will tell the story of the Royal Navy during the time of Nelson, with displays of naval uniforms and equipment throughout the day.1000 - Event opens.1030 - Talk on the arts and crafts of prisoners of war at Norman Cross Prison Depot (Gallery).1130 - Life & conflict aboard warships at the beginning of the 19th Century (Paddock).1230 - Display of prisoner of war arts and crafts. A guide will be present to tell the story of these items (Gallery).1330 - Prisoner escape – naval communication when ashore (Paddock).1430 - Talk at the corner of the depot site on life in Norman Cross Prison Depot (Agent's House and Boundary Wall).1530 - Display of prisoner of war arts and crafts (Gallery).The Battle of Trafalgar as told by the sailors... (Paddock).

LyvedenLyveden Manor, Oundle , September 9/10 and 16/17, 10am-4pmCared for by the National Trust, Lyveden is a Grade I listed park and garden and a remarkable survivor of the Elizabethan age. Begun by Sir Thomas Tresham to symbolise his Catholic faith, Lyveden remains incomplete and virtually unaltered since work stopped on his death in 1605.

Visitors can discover the mysterious garden lodge and explore the Elizabethan Garden with its spiral mounts, terracing and canals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The site also includes a café, archaeological garden, and second-hand bookshop.Local producers will hold an apple & ale festival onsite.

Cambridgeshire ChattelsMilton Hall, Milton Park, Milton, September 8, 10.30am and 2.30pmAn opportunity to view chattels of historic or artistic interest. Not suitable for children under 14 years.Pre-booking required, call 01733 843921

Thorney Village WalkThe Abbey Church of St Mary & St Botolph, Abbey Place, Thorney, September 9, 2pmThis walk introduces the history of a village and parish centred around the higher ground which used to be an island in the Fens. The local history has been collated and displayed in the village museum since 1987.No booking required

Thorney - the East EndBus stop outside the Duke of Bedford Primary School, September 16, 2pmA walk around parts of the east of the historic village, talking about housing, schools, the Women's Land Army and the Prisoner of War/European Voluntary Workers’ camp.No booking required

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Fen Edge Trail visiting Thorney and TonehamMeet outside Thorney Abbey, September 10, 2pmThis is an opportunity to join a 2.3 mile/3.8km walk in the Fens which looks at the landscape and heritage of a former island, which became surrounded by dry land through drainage, particularly in the 17th century.This walk will be led by the local tourist guide.Pre-booking required, contact Dorothy Halfhide on 07990587567 or email [email protected]

For more events in Ramsey, Wisbech, Huntingdon and other areas of Cambridgeshire, visit

Related topics: