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One of our favourite events returns this weekend and it’s packed with plenty of new attractions. Get ready to step back in time and relive our history!

The 10th Peterborough Heritage Festival is now the UK’s largest multi-period city centre living history festival and we get to enjoy some fantastic displays and re-enactments over the weekend of June 16-17 for free!

It’s one not to miss and has attracted around 37,000 people in previous years proving it’s a quality event that’s a real pull for both tourists and local people. There’s a special theme to this year’s event organised by Vivacity – ‘Festival of Celebrations’ – so in addition to all the usual staged battles, drills and demonstrations bringing to life over 3,000 years of the region’s history there will also be some extra special events.

New for 2018, Lamphouse Theatre will bring a garden party performance entitled ‘This is Peterborough’ which heralds the launch of Vivacity’s ‘Our Journey’ project – a website documenting unique stories from Peterborough’s history. It’s a potted history of Peterborough full of gags and factoids about the city which families will enjoy. The performance takes place at 5.30pm on Saturday June 16 in Peterborough Cathedral’s Bishop’s Palace Gardens. Tickets are £3 (£10 family of 4) and available from or through Vivacity’s Key Theatre box office on 01733 207239.

This year’s Festival also celebrates the city’s diverse and multicultural heritage with its first ever communities area in St John’s Square. Families can get a flavour of a wide range of cultures living within the city through activities including Lithuanian music, Caribbean artworks and Portuguese cookery, with some activities offering families a chance to join in.

One of the best things about the Heritage Festival are the many re-enactors with their in-depth knowledge and authentic attention to detail – as well as the battles many take part in. You can suddenly find yourself surrounded by WW1 soldiers and then turn a corner and find yourself in the midst of a Viking encampment. It’s an incredible day and we guarantee you’ll smile while you learn something – a boring history lesson this is not!

The IX Legion of Roman soldiers will be demonstrating military drills, finessing the tactics used to subdue rebellious Celts such as Queen Boudicca. Ousekjarr, Cambridgeshire’s chapter of The Vikings will recreate the Battle of the Holme – an uprising that took place 8 miles south of Peterborough in 902 AD. Colonel John Pickering’s Regiment of Foote from the Sealed Knot Society will also recreate a manhunt from the English Civil War as the Army of Parliament track down a number of fugitive Royalists in the city.

Vivacity’s Heritage Programmes Manager, Rachel Walmsley, says: “This year’s Heritage Festival promises to be more interactive and family friendly than ever. We at Vivacity are incredibly excited to be able to present the tenth Peterborough Heritage Festival in partnership with Perkins, Peterborough Cathedral and Peterborough City Council and are grateful to their support in continuing to make this the largest multi-period city centre living history festival in the UK.”

This year’s theme of a ‘Festival of Celebrations’ marks not only the 10th anniversary of the Heritage Festival in the city, but three other significant anniversaries. These are the centenary of the end of World War One, the centenary of Women’s Suffrage and 900 years of Peterborough Cathedral.

As usual you can look forward to living history encampments, a vintage fair, entertainment, food and tower top climbs at Peterborough Cathedral.

To stay up-to-date with news of the festival, including the full main arena schedule and top tips on how best to enjoy the weekend, head to

Photos: Chris Brudenell for ESP Magazine.

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