Visit Peterborough and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, is a prosperous city with an outstanding cathedral.
In its centre is the Market Place where the old guildhall, built in 1671, predominates. This was once used as a butter market and above its open ground floor on Tuscan columns is the chamber, reached by a tiny spiral staircase. It was built to commemorate the Restoration of Charles II, and has a hipped roof and a steep gable. Nearby is St John the Baptist's Church, built in 1402 and containing the nave of a church that was in the precincts of the cathedral. In its tower, of rubble and ashlar, are l6th-century embroidered pictures of the Crucifixion. The octagonal font is large with quatrefoil panels, of about the same period as the church. Of the many monuments, an interesting one is by Flaxman, 1826, showing a mourning Grecian beside a tall pedestal and a medallion with the heads of Mr and Mrs Squire.
In Cumbergate are the Feoffee Almshouses, dated 1903, and the 17th-century old workhouse, of rubble on the ground floor with an overhanging timber-framed upper floor. Through a passage in the Causeway is Peterscourt, formerly St Peter's Training College, built in 1856 in Gothic style. In Westgate is the Bull Hotel, an early-l8th-century low two-storied building. The Georgian Royal Hotel is plain and handsome and the Wortley's Almshouses are early Victorian in a Tudor style, with an inscription above the entrance from a previous building of 1744. In Lincoln Road are Victorian cottages.
The best Georgian houses are in Priestgate, on the corner of which is the three-storied Angel Hotel with its original staircase.
The town hall, in Bridge Street, built in the 1930s in a neo-Georgian style, has an imposing faade with Corinthian columns, a turret and cupola. The entrance hail and staircase are spacious and the whole building is in keeping with the architecture of the city. The gaol, in Thorpe Road, is Victorian but of Norman style with a gatehouse in the middle, and the Victorian St John's Close, formerly a workhouse, is now a hospital.
In Priestgate is the museum and art gallery, which was built in 1816 and has served as a private house, an infirmary and now a museum. It contains a fine collection of local exhibits, including the carved bone and marquetry work made by prisoners-of-war who were detained at Norman Cross Camp during the Napoleonic wars. There are archaeological finds from Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon times, and the natural history section has fossils from the local clay. The Mary Queen of Scots Room contains her own needlework and tiles and fragments from the castle at Fotherinchay where she was executed. The art gallery has interesting paintings.
The bridge which crosses the River Nene was built in 1934 to replace a Victorian iron structure. By its side stands the former customs house, built about 1700, of rubble with a hipped roof and cupola. From here can be seen delightful views of the river which has good fishing and boating.
Peterborough Cathedral is a breathtaking sight. It was founded as a monastery in 655 by King Peada of Mercia, soon after he was converted to Christianity. It was destroyed by the Danes in 870 and refounded 100 years later by King Edgar. Hereward the Wake attacked and plundered it in about 1070 and 46 years later it was destroyed by fire. In 1118 the rebuilding of the present church started. After 80 years the nave was completed, and in 1238 the church was dedicated. Apart from restoration work, the only new building which has taken place since that date is the Retrochoir or New Building at the east end, about 1500.
The cathedral is of Barnack stone, and is 481 ft long, 206 ft wide and 81 ft high. Its tower reaches to 143 ft. It stands in a garden and the precincts are entered by a large gateway with the King's Lodging and Abbott's Prison on one side and St Thomas's Chapel on the other. A few yards past the chapel on the left-hand side is a large detailed map showing places of interest in both the interior of the cathedral and its surrounding buildings. The interior of the west doorway is of finely carved woodwork. The wooden nave ceiling is superbly decorated with saints, kings and grotesque monsters, and in the south aisle is heavy quadripartite ribbed vaulting. The carved wooden choir stalls, pulpit and bishop's throne are all Victorian, but the brass eagle lectern is 14th-century. In the Retrochoir beyond the apse the ceiling has magnificent fan vaulting, and the Hedda Stone, an important piece of Anglo-Saxon sculpture, dates from about 800. The font, a decorated marble bowl, is l3th-century with modern pillars.
Just in front of the Retrochoir are two important burial places. On the left is that of Catherine of Aragon, whose ex-husband Henry VIII established the church as a cathedral in 1541, two years after the Dissolution, and on the right is that of Mary Queen of Scots. Her son, James I. instructed that the body should be removed to Westminster Abbey, where it now rests. During the Civil War and Commonwealth the contents of the cathedral as well as carved stonework were savagely destroyed by soldiers, but after King Charles II came to the throne services were resumed in the building, which has been gradually restored through the centuries.
Nearby towns: Bourne, Corby, Huntingdon, Oundle, Wellingborough, Spalding, Stamford, Market Deeping, Wisbech, Whittlesey
Nearby villages: Crowland, Empingham, Ramsey, Wansford, Yaxley
Have you decided to visit Peterborough or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Peterborough bed and breakfast (a Peterborough B&B or Peterborough b and b)
- a Peterborough guesthouse
- a Peterborough hotel (or motel)
- a Peterborough self-catering establishment, or
- other Peterborough accommodation