If you’re on your staycation and also staying local, there’s so much to do here in Peterborough and ESP is on a mission to give you some great ideas of places to visit right on your doorstep.

You might not even know we have a fabulous Museum in the city centre but after a modern revamp a few years ago it’s packed with loads of interesting stuff as well as housing the Art Gallery and a great coffee shop.

During City Culture’s Summer Festival of Family Fun there are also several special events planned including a children’s carnival at the end of August (see our What’s On section for more details of what’s on).

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

· 10 and 17 August - Rotten Romans

· 24 and 31 August - The Natural World

· 27 to 28 August - Children’s Carnival

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery is the beautiful Georgian building on Priestgate you may have wandered past – but now make this the time you pop in and take a look!

It’s served as a museum for over 70 years and should definitely make your Top 10 when it comes to things to do this summer especially if you’ve never been, and is a great venue for a rainy day activity too.

Forget any images of stuffy old displays, since its extensive revamp a few years ago when Time Team’s Tony Robinson reopened the attraction it’s now full of captivating curiosities that will entertain the whole family. The collections comprise more than 200,000 items of great national and international importance.

If the kids are fans of Jurassic Park there are amazing fossils to see up close, Roman artefacts and a host of fantastic interactive exhibitions and galleries which display inspirational historical objects. Even better it’s free admission (except on event days).

Laura Hancock, Heritage Engagement Manager from City Culture which now runs the museum told ESP – “There are some stories from Peterborough's past which might surprise visitors to the city, and residents alike. Did you know that the building which now houses the museum was the city's hospital, up until about 100 years ago? We still have the original Victorian operating theatre, where you can discover the (sometimes gruesome!) truth of early surgery. Or that in Jurassic times, Peterborough used to be underwater. The amazing fossil collection on display includes some real giants of the sea, who lived at the same time as T. Rex on land.

“Although located in the heart of the city centre, just a few minutes' walk from Queensgate shopping centre, this really is Peterborough’s hidden gem. It seems many people still don't realise they have a museum in their city which they can come and visit for free.”

The ground floor has a shop and café and two main spaces providing a dynamic programme of changing exhibitions and events so even if you have been there before, it’s always worth a fresh visit. As it’s also known as one of the city’s most haunted buildings a visit around Halloween is a whole new experience!

If you work up an appetite taking it all in, the new Georgian Kitchen café downstairs is great for a quick pit stop – and actually is well worth a cake break even if you’re just meeting friends on a shopping trip!

It’s open on Priestgate in Peterborough from Tuesday - Saturday from 10am - 4pm, Sunday 12noon -4pm and Mondays during school holidays from 10am - 4pm.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/peterboroughmuseum

Twitter: twitter.com/pboromuseum

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Photos: Emma Bothamley for ESP Magazine