Heritage & Culture

Heritage Festival 2015 

The Peterborough Heritage Festival returns with a host of thrilling events celebrating the region’s history, from the Bronze Age to the present day. This year’s theme is ‘Stories’, both fact and fiction... 

The Peterborough Heritage Festival is a unique chance to experience 3,500 years of history in the UK’s only city centre-based multi-period living history festival. Held in the historic heart of the city centre and the stunning surroundings of the Cathedral precincts, this is the city’s most popular event, attracting over 30,000 people last year.

The Heritage Festival features over 300 costumed re-enactors from some of the country’s top Living History groups, giving you a chance to meet characters from our past, from Bronze Age warriors to World War II airmen. Costumed characters including King John and Edith Cavell will be mingling with the crowds and holding audience sessions. Over 30 local history societies, community groups and historic attractions put on displays to show off the best of our local heritage.

‘The Heritage Festival started in my second year here, and last year there were 30,000 folk coming to the city centre and precincts to enjoy it. The city really does have a lot to celebrate, including a very rich medieval history. And your history is part of your identity. It’s not just the case that if you forget your past you’re condemned to repeat it; actually, if you deny your past you are denying part of what makes you what you are now. It’s living history, a living tradition. Tradition for me is not something that is preserved in aspic, it’s your story, and that story is still going on. We’re still making tradition. Some of that is looking back at our roots, as well as looking forward and thinking where you might be going.’

Charles Taylor, Dean of Peterborough

Relax with the family in the Children’s Zone – an activity area for the kids with jesters, storytellers, games and activities on St John’s Square. There will be fun family activities, too, in the hands-on science marquee on Cathedral Square, as well as a chance to find out the story of local company Perkins Engines and share your memories.

There’s also a chance to do some speciality shopping! The period market is held in the precincts, including displays of historic crafts and trades alongside a chance to buy a historically themed gift. A craft fair on Cathedral Square provides other shopping opportunities, alongside the ‘Food Fayre’ where you can discover an exciting taste of unusual produce, food and drinks to sample or buy.

This year’s festival highlight will be the twice-daily Joust of St Peter, where visitors can see knights tilt at each other on a specially laid surface, experiencing the excitement of a medieval tournament!

‘We were approached by Vivacity to see if we were interested in supporting the Heritage Festival and we felt it was a great idea. It’s a fantastic cultural event for Peterborough, just as the Perkins Great Eastern Run is a great sporting event. This was an opportunity for us to get involved with the local community and support thousands of visitors coming to the city and surrounding area. Perkins is part of that heritage – a major employer in the city – and we want to do our part to help.’
Adrian Talbot, Perkins Marketing Centre of Excellence Manager

Historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey

Historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey

Keynote lecture
Magna Carta and us: an evening with historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey
Saturday 20 June at 7.30pm Peterborough Cathedral. Tickets: Adults £13, Children/ Concessions £10 (includes intermission drink)
The Heritage Festival is delighted to welcome back David Starkey, after his sell-out talk in 2011, this time to talk about the importance of Magna Carta in its 800th anniversary year. Dr Starkey will be talking about the 13th century agreement, which limited for the first time the power of the monarch by stating the basic rights, privileges and liberties of leading citizens and clergy. He will then show how later monarchs such as Henry VIII made fundamental changes which have shaped our country ever since and discuss the resulting weaknesses in our current constitution, in a talk designed to amaze, entertain and challenge his audience.  For tickets, please call the Key Theatre Box Office on (01733) 207239 or book online at www.vivacity-peterborough.com 

Fringe Festival Events
There’s a whole host of historical events taking place in and around the city, from guided walks to concerts. You’ll find complete listings in our What’s On pages, but here’s our own pick…

An Audience with Mary Queen of Scots
Friday, 12 June 2015 at 6pm, Burghley House, tickets: £16, including a glass of wine
Enjoy a performance in the grandeur of Burghley and learn about Mary’s imprisonment, the role of William Cecil and about life in general during Tudor times. There is a complimentary glass of wine in the Orangery Restaurant from 6pm, with the lecture beginning at 6.30pm.
Call 01780 752451 or visit www.burghley.co.uk for more details and bookings

Death in the Garden: Poisonous plants, Magic, Myths, Passion and Murder
Saturday, 13 June at 2pm, Prebendal Manor, tickets: £10
Over the centuries poisonous plants have been used to remove an unwanted partner or rival, as aphrodisiacs, for pest control and the means to foretell the future or speak with the gods. Learn about the mysterious mandrake and how a pot of Basil helped to conceal a savage murder, until…
For more information and to book please call 01780 282575

Time Team and Archaeology: past and present An evening with Time Team’s Phil Harding and Francis Pryor
Saturday, 13 June at 7.30pm, John Clare Theatre, Peterborough Central Library, tickets: £10 Adults, £8 Concessions
Find out how the series began and developed, the many programmes filmed in this area and some of the secrets from behind the scenes. This event has been organised with the Francis and Maisie Pryor Charitable Trust (FMPCT), an independent grant giving trust set up to promote awareness of archaeology, heritage and the natural environment.
For more information on the Trust visit www.francisandmaisiepryorct. org.uk. For tickets, please call the Key Theatre Box Office on (01733) 207239 or book online at www.vivacity-peterborough.com

An Audience with Lindsey Davis
Friday, 19 June at 7pm, John Clare Theatre, Peterborough Central Library £5 (£4 concessions) Travel back to Roman times with bestselling historical novelist Lindsey Davis, who will be joined by a Roman re-enactor at this special heritage festival author event. Lindsey, author of the popular Falco series, will be talking about her books and the research behind them.
For tickets, please book at any library in the city, Peterborough Museum or Waterstones Bridge Street.

Open-Air Theatre… The Three Musketeers
Saturday, 27 June, 7pm start (doors open at 6pm – picnics welcome), Flag Fen Archaeology Park. Adults £12, Children £8
All for One – and One for All! Young D’Artagnan is desperate to become an elite Musketeer of the King’s Guard. To prove himself he plunges headlong into an adventure across France to retrieve the Queen’s jewels and restore her honour – but it will take their combined power to survive the deadly Milady de Winter! Join us for a whirlwind of excitement, comedy and dazzling swordplay in this open-air production from Illyria. Romance, Swashbuckling, Intrigue – it’s got it all! Please bring your own seating/rug if required. Refreshments will be for sale.
For tickets, please call the Key Theatre Box Office on (01733) 207239 or book online at www.vivacity-peterborough.com

THE HERITAGE FESTIVAL BIG WEEKEND IN ASSOCIATION WITH PERKINS 20 & 21 June, 10am – 5pm daily Cathedral Precincts, Cathedral Square, St John’s Square Admission FREE

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