Peterborough Heritage Festival returns
Saturday 16 - Sunday 17 June 2018

Peterborough Heritage Festival is the UK's largest multi-period city centre living history festival and this year takes on the theme of a ‘Festival of Celebrations’ marking 900 years since construction began on the Cathedral building that still stands today.


This year, experience:

  • Over 300 re-enactors
  • Over 3,000 years of history
  • Over 30,000 people

All in one big weekend of fun - a FREE day out for all ages.

Take a look at last previous festivals with our video opposite when the Vikings invaded Peterborough.

Plan Your Day

Take a look at our main arena schedule below, plus our tips for how to get the best out of your day.

Saturday 16 June


Medieval music


Morris dancers


Opening ceremony and parade


Roman military drills

12 noon

Vikings - Battle of the Holme


Cultural treasures - gems from Peterborough communities.


Medieval knights in battle


World War One


English Civil War


Cultural Treasures - gems from Peterborough communities.


World War Two


Napoleonic era drill displays






Closing ceremony and parade

Sunday 17 June


Medieval music


Morris dancers


12 noon

Roman military drills



Vikings – Battle of the Holme



Medieval knights in battle



English Civil War



Napoleonic era drill displays



Cultural Treasures - gems from Peterborough communities.









Closing ceremony and parade

Heritage Festival Top Tips

What to bring with you


Peterborough Heritage Festival takes place in the middle of summer in the wide open spaces of Peterborough City Centre so it’s important to keep yourself protected from the inevitable UV rays, especially if you’ve got kids with you. Last year, temperatures hit highs of over 30 degrees.

The NHS website recommends a UVB sun protection factor of 15 or above and a UVA protection rating of 4 stars or above

A waterproof

As mentioned above, the festival takes place in summer. However, being a British summer, the actual weather on the day can sometimes be anyone's guess. All events will be going ahead whatever the weather and, as such, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities.

A mac-in-a-sac or roll up poncho is a useful thing to keep on hand as they can fit into bags quite easily (unlike an umbrella, is unlikely to poke someone in the eye)

Bottled water

A day in the sun can be particularly dehydrating, but even if the weather is not as clement, it’s good to drink plenty as you’ll likely be active for most of the day.

The NHS Eatwell guide recommends 6-8 glasses a day so it’s wise to bring a litre or so to keep you topped up during the day.


Food is available from a number of concession stands throughout the festival, as well as some traditional comestibles to take home from our historic trade fayre. It’s always a good idea to keep something on hand however, just in case you feel those hunger pangs kicking in during an arena display you don’t want to miss. A banana or a small packet of nuts are a couple of good options to give you an energy boost when you find yourself flagging.

Your Smartphone

Our official photographer will be onsite capturing all the best angles of the events of the day. However there will be lots of opportunities throughout the day to join in with social media and chances to get photos with characters from history. Having your smartphone on you will help you be the first to know what's going on and when.

Making sure the people you've come with have your number will also help you avoid getting separated and keep you safe.

Stay safe

With over 30,000 people expected to attend the Heritage Festival this year, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case you and your group become separated.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure you have the mobile phone number of anyone you're attending the festival with
  2. On arrival, agree an easily identifiable area to return to if you get lost (The Vivacity Information point is in a good central location)
  3. Make sure you have any medication or mobility equipment you may need
  4.  Make sure any children know not to go off with strangers

Any Questions? Let us know

You can use the details below to contact our Heritage Team directly about any queries or you may have before the day.

Simply e-mail or call 01733 864663.

Please be aware that responses to emails may take up to five working days.

City Centre car park map

Cathedral Square sits at the centre of the city. There are a number of car parks around Peterborough as well as regular bus and train links.

For full details on all car parks, visit the council car park locations website - this includes all disabled access

From the bus station or train station, the Cathedral is signposted and is less than 10 minutes walk


This is Peterborough

Peterborough Heritage Festival's Saturday programme culminates with this brand new garden party performance at Peterborough Cathedral..


Peterborough is old. Really old. This year our glorious cathedral celebrates its 900th birthday and we’re throwing the entire city a party!

‘This Is Peterborough’ is a very special kind of garden party. Join us in the Peterborough Cathedral Precincts, bring your own picnic and prepare for a summer evening of fun! Get ready to laugh your socks off at our brand new play which tells the whole history of Peterborough in just 75 minutes and enjoy live music and dancing until dusk.

From plagues, fires, Viking raids and Stone Age burials to Tudor Queens, notorious highwayman, famous poets and gravediggers, Peterborough’s history is packed with grisly stories, exciting tales and hair-raising adventures. Bring a low-backed, foldout chair or a picnic blanket, and join us on a journey back in time, through the history of our marvellous city.

Suitable for all aged 6+.

Tickets are £3 Full Price, £10 Family Ticket (family of 4 people).

Seating is unreserved - simply find the best spot on the grass for your picnic blanket or fold out chair and enjoy the show.

Please note, family tickets can only be purchased through the Key Theatre Box Office - call now on 01733 207239.

Click here to go to the booking page

Part of Peterborough Heritage Festival 2018.

In partnership with Vivacity launching the Our Journey digital timeline.

Lamphouse Theatre is a Peterborough based theatre company committed to making work for Peterborough, touring the surrounding areas and nationally. 

They tell epic stories in intimate settings, packed with live music, comedy and spontaneity.

Find out more at

Events at Peterborough Cathedral

900 Years of Church Music: a Whistle-Stop Tour

Friday 15th June at 7:30pm

The Cathedral’s Director of Music, Steven Grahl, will be your expert guide (accompanied by the Cathedral choir) through nine centuries of church music – illustrating the creativity and continuity of the English church music tradition. The evening will last around 70 minutes.

Tickets: £10, £8 concessions. Book online via Peterborough Cathedral's page at Oundle Box Office or call Oundle Box Office on 01832 274734 or Peterborough Information Centre on 01733 452336.

Tower Top Climbs

Saturday 16th June, 10.00am to 4.00pm

Feeling energetic? Especially for the Heritage Festival, there will be tower top climbs – every hour, on the hour. This will involve a straight climb up the steps of the north-west tower onto the central tower outside, for stunning views across the city. Conditions apply.

Tickets: £5 per person, or £16 for a group of four. Ages 8+ only. You can book via this link or call Peterborough Information Centre on 01733 452336.

Lou Lou’s Peterborough Vintage Fair

Saturday 16th June, 11.00am to 4.00pm

Lou Lou returns to Peterborough with her award-winning vintage fair.  Shoppers can expect a vast array of stalls from some of the UK’s best vintage traders, as well as a classic tea party and a retro hair and make-up salon for those interested in a makeover. Don't forget to get your outfit for the evening's 1940s themed party!

Entry: £2.50 on the door (under 12s go free). For more details please visit

1940s Themed Party

Saturday 16th June, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

In the beautiful setting under the tower and in the transepts of the Cathedral, guests are invited to put on the Ritz, get their glad rags on (period costume is positively encouraged) and get 'In The Mood' for a fabulous time. Ration books will be in use, but there will be complimentary food with a glass of punch. There will also be a vintage tea room and a bar run by The Stoneworks Bar. The music will come from Rita and The Rogues – a live band with a big sound whose set list will include songs from The Andrews Sisters and other 1940s classics.

Tickets: £25 per person, or £120 for a group of six people. Book via or call 01733 452336.

Choral Evensong

with the installation of the new Mayor

Sunday 17th June, at 3.30pm

An act of worship in the centuries-old tradition of Church choral music, with Peterborough Cathedral Choir. The new Mayor of Peterborough will be installed during the service.

Peterborough Artists Open Studios Exhibition

In the Cathedral Visitor Centre is an exhibition of work by five artists who work in the city. There will be mosaics, paintings, drawings, prints and photographs by Mahemuda Aralani, Stacey Ann Cole, Josephine Kelly, Tony Nero and Paul Saunders.  

Open during Heritage Festival Weekend, Saturday 10.00am to 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am to 4.00pm.

Getting around

As the festival takes place in Cathedral Square and around the Cathedral, most of the terrain is smooth and fully accessible. Into the gardens around the Cathedral, the ground is flat but onto grass. Adverse weather may affect the firmness of the ground in the gardens but won't affect the hard-standings or paths around the gardens.

Performances and reenactments will take place in the main arena on Cathedral Square in front of the Guildhall. There are also performances on the far side of St John's Church and into the Cathedral Precincts. Pathways reach across the whole of the city centre making access throughout the day easier.

The city centre is a 10 minute walk (800m) from Peterborough train station or 7 minute walk (650m) from Queensgate bus station. It is well signposted from both stations.

The longest distance throughout the day is 480m - from Peterborough Museum to the back of the Cathedral. The centre is just 300m from end to end.

We have placed seating areas half way around the graveyard, in the Deanery Gardens and in the Bishops Palace gardens should you need to take a rest.

Getting the best view

There will be a designated viewing area next to the main arena for any visitors with mobility/accessibility requirements which includes a hearing loop. To access this area, please contact any member of festival staff on the day. They will be recognised by purple Vivacity t-shirts.  

Unfortunately the cinema inside Horace the Pliosaur is not wheelchair accessible, but you will still be able to enjoy most of the performance.

Getting to the Festival

The closest accessible parking spaces to the Festival is the Car Haven on Bishops Road

We do not have baggage drop off facilities. 

Parking: There are many public car parks throughout the city centre.  For those who require blue badge spaces, we recommend the Car Haven Car Park is 6 minutes walk (480m)

Public transport: The city centre is a 10 minute walk (800m) from Peterborough train station or 7 minute walk (650m) from Queensgate bus station


Where are the toilets?

Toilets are located at the Wheelyard entrance to the Cathedral Precincts, on the way to the Cloisters and half way up the Cathedral graveyard.  At all three points there are accessible toilets.  If you require better facilities than portable toilets, the Cathedral Visitors Centre has an accessible toilet too.

There are no toilet facilities (other than inside the local restaurants) at the viewing area. Performances do not last any longer than 25 minutes.

What to do on arrival

Peterborough Heritage Festival is a free, open festival for all ages. There is no need to register or check in with anyone, just head to Cathedral Square and enjoy yourself.

Events run during the main festival weekend from 10am - 5pm on Saturday and 11am - 5pm on Sunday.

Some tips on getting the most out of your day:

  1. On arrival, head to the Vivacity Information point and pick up a Heritage Festival schedule
    1. Let the information tent staff know if you have any concerns about accessibility during the day and if you have sensitivity to anything (such as loud bangs or tight spaces). They will be able to advise of which events throughout the day will best suit you and how best to enjoy them.
  2. Make sure to book for any workshops
    1. Let the staff at each sideshow know when booking if you have any additional accessibility requirements. They will be able to advise you as to what provisions they can make for you.
  3. Explore
    1. Inside the Heritage Festival schedule is a map – take some time to plan your route around the site using information on this page as well as by asking advice from staff and volunteers on the shortest routes between activities. You will be able to recognise staff and volunteers by their purple t-shirts.

Accessing Performances


Our interpreter will be on hand throughout the day to provide assistance should you require it. Please go to the Vivacity Information Point for this service.

Medical services 

There will be a fully equipped ambulance and first aiders based in the Cathedral precincts next to the Wheelyard entrance.

Is there strobe lighting?

One of the biggest attractions at Peterborough Heritage Festival is our programme of battle re-enactment displays in the main arena throughout the weekend. These are performed in broad daylight and with as much historical attention to detail as possible. As such there is no theatrical lighting employed during any of these performances. However, there may be some loud bangs - if you are concerned at any point as to when these may occur, please visit the Vivacity Information point by the main arena on Cathedral Square on the day or call Peterborough Museum before the day on 01733 864663.

Occasionally, some sideshows may include audiovisual elements such as video screenings. If you would like to know more about the content of these sideshows please ask the individual attendant when booking.

Can I bring an assistance dog?


Of course you can! Please be aware that certain areas can get quite busy, but if you need any assistance throughout the day, just make yourself known to someone in a Festival t-shirt or go to the Information Point in Cathedral Square.

Anything not covered here? Let us know?

Call Peterborough Museum on 01733 864663 if you have any further questions about accessibility issues or ask at the Vivacity Information point on the day.