Peterborough, in the North East of Cambridgeshire, is known as the 'Gateway to the Fens'. A small city situated on the edge of this vast flat, expanse of farmland, Peterborough emerged as the region's industrial capital after the building of a major rail junction just outside the historic city centre. Today the city continues to grow relatively rapidly through immigration, and is home to a large second-generation Italian population as well as a favoured destination for Eastern European migrants. Many travellers will pass straight through Peterborough, perhaps stopping only to change trains, but the historical attractions in the city centre are only a short walk from the station.
Peterborough is on the East Coast Main Line from London to York, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh. It is 45 minutes travel from London on the fastest East Coast trains, but slower on the stopping First Capital Connect services. There is also services to and from Norwich on East Midlands Trains, where there is 1ph also stopping at Ely and Thetford. There is 1tph to Cambridge and London Stansted airport also stopping at Ely also at Leicester and Birmingham New Street in the other direction, this is run by Crosscountry. There is also a train service to Ipswich stopping Ely, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds, this is run by National Express East Anglia.
Peterborough Cathedral, tel 01733 355300, . Open M-F 9AM-6.30PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 7.30AM-5PM, NB: access may be limited during services, no set admission fee, but donations appreciated (£3.50 suggested). Originally founded as an abbey in 665, the present building was started in 1118 and completed in 1238. Highlights of the Cathedral include the West Front with its unique English Gothic Portico, the original 13th century painted nave ceiling (the only English example and one of only four in Europe!), the burials of Katharine of Aragon (1st wife from six of Henry VIII) and of Mary Queen of Scots, the fan vaulting of the New Building Ceiling, the Hedda Stone (an 8th Century Saxon carving from the original church) and St Oswald's Chapel with its original 12th century watchtower.
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, Priestgate, tel 01733 343329, fax 01733 341928, mailto:email@example.com, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12noon-4PM, closed most Mondays and public holidays. Free.
Flag Fen - Britain's Bronze Age Centre, tel 0844 414 0646, . Summer Opening Hours 2007: 31st March – 2nd November 2007 (inclusive) 10AM-5PM Tu-Su with last entry to the park at 4PM. In 2007 the site will be closed on all Mondays for maintenance work and care of the collections (Except for all Bank Holidays from Easter to October). The Flag Fen website is regularly updated and includes information on public events and developments in the archaeological park, educational programmes for schools, opening times and admission charges. It also carries news of the latest archaeological discoveries from the excavations.
Ice Skate, 1 Mallard Road, Peterborough, ☎ 01733 260222, . at Planet Ice, also used by the Peterborough Phantoms ice hockey team. Check availability before heading there
Nene Valley Railway, Peterborough Nene Valley Railway (15 mins walk from city centre), ☎ 01780 784444, . Ride the heritage railway passing through pleasant countryside, stopping off at one of the pretty villages for lunch
Shopping in the city centre is dominated by the large indoor Queensgate Centre, which lies in between the station and the historic city centre. Queensgate offers the usual range of chain stores found in most UK city centres. John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are the two main department stores. Once the stores close, at 1730, the city streets quickly empty of life.
Peterborough, due to its large Italian immigrant population, is the crucible of the UK pizza house. One of its most famous residents is Peter Boizot, founder of the Pizza Express chain of restaurants. Oddly, Peterborough is only now getting a branch of this chain.
But the oldest pizza restaurant in the city, started in 1980, is the Pizza House, in Cowgate, right in the heart of the city centre. It's a cafe-style pizza house, still owned and run by an Italian family, and pre-dates the invasion by US pizza chains and even Pizza Express.
Posh pizza ('posh' being the nick-name of the local soccer team as well as meaning top-quality) is served in many establishments, most notably Gastons, next to the Broadway Theatre
Another Italian restaurant well worth a visit is Riva, the cafe-bar adjoining the city's other theatre, The Key Theatre. Here, there is a bigger range of Italian cuisine.
There are a vast number of 'takeaway' restaurants but if you'd like to eat quality fish and chips, English style, try Parrotts Fish Parlour near the market, where you can sit down and munch in relative comfort.
Peterborough has a large number of average pubs but some which are outstanding.
The Brewery Tap is the former unemployment office, converted into a pub and microbrewery in the late 1990s. It has won awards from national magazines for its quality. It serves Thai food, but more notably a huge range of 'real ales' - traditional English beers which are not pasteurised or gassed with CO2. Its 'native' beer is brewed by Oakham Ales, , which once ran the micro-brewery you can see through the plate glass panels. The Brewery Tap is across Bourges Boulevard from the rail station, just a short walk.
On the river at Town Bridge, a converted Dutch grain barge, Charters, also serves a range of traditional beers. It has a restaurant, East, upstairs serving Asian 'fusion' food, and downstairs a bar which doubles as a music venue on some weekends, with late-night live blues and other music,  Additionally, Charters has a large 'bandstand' garden designed by noted UK landscaper Bunny Guinness.
The tiny Palmerston Arms is one of England's most traditional pubs. Instead of serving its traditional ales from pumps on the bar, it serves them downstairs in the cellar direct from the cask, and brings the ales to the bar. The 'Palmie' is south of the city on Oundle Road, very close to Charters
Ramada Peterborough, Thorpe Meadows, Off Longthorpe Parkway, PE3 6GA, ☎ 01733 564240 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 01733 565538), . checkin: 2pm (early check-in by arrangement); checkout: 11am (late check-out by arrangement). This Ramada hotel features 70 non-smoking rooms that include bath and/or shower, work desk, flat screen TV with freeview and complimentary WiFi. Some rooms have been adapted to allow for easier access. Full or continental breakfasts are available from £8.95.Mon-Thur £86.50, Fri & Sun £67.00, Sat only £75.00..