CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Peterborough

Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough Cathedral: magnificent architecture
 
VIDEOS
  
By Tim Saunders
 
“What brings you to Peterborough?” enquires my uncle as we meet in a pub in the city. “To see you of course,” I reply, “as well as seeing it for ourselves.”
Peterborough is a city in Cambridgeshire. First impressions are that it’s a bit of a poor relation. There’s a lot of building going on giving the area a brighter future, billboards proclaim.
We stay at Yew Tree Cottage at River Nene Cottages in Water Newton about five miles from the city centre. The quaint 19th century stone cottage proves an ideal base for our week-long family jaunt. Comfortable and peaceful it has all the mod cons families have come to expect with the addition of well considered décor and original paintings. Open plan living works nicely with our young family. It provides user-friendly self-catering accommodation and is accessed through electric gates giving added security. Generally our routine during the break is for Caroline and I to relax in the morning with the children watching television. Then we leave for our day out.
On arrival we take a little stroll down the road to the mill and the River Nene then down on to St Remigius church. It’s very picturesque.
 
Heidi Henry and Harriett Saunders outside Yew Tree Cottage lr
Our children at Yew Tree Cottage
 
 
We quickly discover that there’s a lot of history and culture in Peterborough, looked after by Vivacity, which runs Peterborough Museum, Longthorpe Tower, The Key Theatre and Flag Fen. About 3,500 years ago there was a Bronze Age settlement at Flag Fen. An example settlement has been created. It certainly makes you appreciate the luxurious lives we lead today. We’re introduced to eel traps and log boats. Just imagine if the eel trap had no catch; no dinner that night. Life was certainly tough. Interesting to note that sheep were typical cattle of the time and there’s a flock here.
There’s so much to see at Peterborough Museum we visit three times. Our first trip is to the excellent Time Travellers family workshop. Our three children Harriett (7), Heidi (5) and Henry (2) plant a green bean to learn about self-sufficiency. We make a rosette to understand about voting and women’s suffrage. We’re also given a kit to make a tank.
The museum is crammed with interesting and really well put together exhibits. This is the place to learn about Peterborough and its economy. Engines and bricks are made here. The first x-ray machine outside London was created here. There are poems by soldiers from WW1. The children really enjoy the brilliant wildlife area.
Longthorpe Tower is a historic three-storey tower built in the 14th century by Robert Thorpe who went on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Paintings on the first floor depict religious and moral themes. These were whitewashed over during the Reformation and rediscovered in the 1940s.
Henry hasn’t been to the theatre before and so a 50min performance of Little Red Hiding Hood and The Wolf at The Key Theatre is a great introduction. Just one actress tells the rhyming story of the well-known tale from her bedroom. You have to take your hat off to her for remembering all the lines and delivering such an enjoyable performance perfecting at least five different voices.
For lunch we choose Carluccios in the main square where we experience Italian cuisine and excellent service from Patricia our waitress. Trading for 15 years this chain has restaurants across the UK and America. It is like one big family. We have a crab bruschetta accompanied by Peroni together with some homemade focaccia. The lasagne is a meal in itself and the meringue with raspberries is a joy. 
 
For more information visit:
 
Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn