"Peterborough, Medehamstede and the Big Cathedral" Top 5 Page for this destination Peterborough by Airpunk

Peterborough Travel Guide: 105 reviews and 198 photos

Peterborough has not the reputation of being an attractive city. Parts of it originate in the city development plans of the city council to make a new town of it. That means to create living areas in order to solve housing problems in larger cities. Results of it can be seen in places like Harlow and Milton Keynes. And indeed, Peterborough is not the most beautiful among the Cathedral cities. However, it is not that scary. Despite the shopping malls, Peterborough's centre has retained some of its old character. And its cathedral is among the most beautiful in the country – something Harlow and Milton Keynes don't have at all. If you like to see the cathedral, Peterborough makes a good daytrip destination from Cambridge or any other of the nearby cities. And if you don't, there are still the multitude of shopping malls.

The cathedral is the landmark and the main attraction of the city and for many centuries, it was the city's main employer. However, it is far older than the cathedral. Settlements have been here already in the bronze age, traces of a Roman town have been found and during Anglo-Saxon times it was known as Medehamstede. It was in this time when an abbey was mentioned for the first time which would become later the Cathedral.
Peterborough remained a rather small city until the construction of the railway lines in the mid-19th century. It was located on the crossing of two main railway lines: One leading from the industrial north in Yorkshire to London, the other one was leading from Birmingham via Ely to Norwich. This position attracted industries, with brick making becoming a major economical factor. Peterborough managed to attract service-sector companies in the second half of the twentieth century, widely escaping the demise of cities in the industrial north. The low unemployment rates attracted high numbers of Eastern Europeans when the barriers fell in the early 2000s. Thus, Peterborough has one of the largest Polish communities in Britain. Unfortunately, low unemployment rates do not always mean that crime rates are low too. All in all, Peterborough has a bad reputation and is often associated with drug criminality. And being the place where the world's oldest vomit was found in 2002 does not make the thing necessarily better. In fact, it even made it onto the 18th place (of 50) in “Idler's book of Crap Towns”, although it doesn't seem that the vomit played any role in the evaluation.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The magnificent Cathedral
  • Cons:Little else to see and do
  • In a nutshell:Better than its reputation
  • Last visit to Peterborough: Jan 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (2)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Lovely little page about Peterborough here. The Guild Hall looks indeed interesting.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I've enjoyed your page, especially the tip on the Catherine of Aragon festival, sounds something worth seeing. Peterborough's only similarities to Peterborough in south Australia, is the railway!~

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Oct 12, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Most of our towns are named after British & Irish cities, sometimes the countryside is similar, probably to stop home-sickness.

    • Airpunk's Profile Photo
      Oct 12, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      I did know about the names, but I didn't expect the countryside. In my imagination Australia is always hot and dry. I remember that I asked my Aussie friend (of Irish origin, of course...) how they call the big bushfires. He said: "Summer".


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