Why I love England’s worst place to live. 7 things that make Peterborough great!

February 26, 2019

Last week, I came across a post doing the rounds in which Peterborough had been listed in a poll as the UK’s crappiest place to live. I must admit, I was kind of shocked… I mean, have you been to Middlesborough? ( I haven’t, but I’ve not heard good things lol)

I won’t link to it, mainly because I don’t want to give it any more traffic but I pondered on it for a little while, because having lived here for 33 years, I’m proud to live here and actually, Peterborough is a bloody GREAT city.
Ok, so our MP just got out of prison today and we have the fugliest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen, but – I’m going to take you through 7 reasons why it’s not a totally crappy place to live.


We have a lot of festivals in Peterborough from one of the largest outdoor beer festivals to cheese fest to Pride but there are 2 contenders for the top spot in my eyes. The Heritage Festival that takes place every year over a weekend in June, which is not only free but has a fantastic array of things to see and do. One year they even put on jousting, complete with knights in chainmail. There are reenactment camps, archery to have a go at and so much more. Well worth a visit.

My other personal favourite is the Peterborough STEM festival which aims to inspire and encourage a love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in children and teens through a range of shows, interactive exhibits, puzzles and more. Again, completely free to attend and completely run by a team of volunteers put together by DPiP. The work they put in is astounding! Last year we even had Maddie Moate come along to do her Mission to Mars show.

Meeting Dexter’s hero! We’ve learnt so much from Maddie

This year, I will also be taking my family to Truckfest. Playing host to over 2000 trucks and monster trucks, stunt shows, illuminated parades, children’s characters, a fun fair, live music and more, Truckfest is back again this year and I have a discount code for my readers.
Now, this is an affiliate code so I do earn a small amount when you use it but it costs you nothing to do so and gets you 10% off your ticket price. Just got to the truckfest site and enter code MESSYBLOG when you purchase.


Peterborough is full of history. I mean, of course, there is the 900-year-old beautiful cathedral, resting place of Catherine of Aragon and we also had Mary Queen of Scotts’ body before she upped and left for Westminster.
But there is also Flag Fen; where you can explore a reconstructed village from the Bronze Age, and other historical buildings such as Longthorpe Tower, Crowland Abbey, the Water Mill at Scarewell Farm and the remains of a Roman Barn at Ferry Meadows, (yeah, those 2 rows of stone circles in the ground) the old Sessions House building that was a prison back in its day as well as the Peterborough Museum which is probably our most haunted building.

Inside Peterborough Cathedral – Image from Pixabay

But it’s not just the buildings that hold the key to Peterborough’s colourful history. The gorgeous cast iron train bridge that crosses the River Nene was constructed in 1850 for Great Northern Railway and helped to transform Peterborough from a market town to a thriving place of industry. It is believed to be the last cast iron bridge on a major British Rail high speed route.


I expect to get some backlash from this one as I’m not a massive shopper myself but we have 3 main shopping areas as well as a couple of smaller ones so we don’t do too badly.

We have Queensgate in the centre of the city – a shopping mall over 2 floors that contains John Lewis, Joules, Primark, Tiger and the card factory – which is always so busy I can never get my buggy in!
Serpentine Green which has a massive 24 hour Tesco, Outfit, Mothercare, Next and has recently gained a pound shop (can I get a whoop-whoop?!) and then we have Brotherhood Retail Park where you can find our 2nd TK Maxx, Asda living, Next (again) and M&S.
Outside of those we also have The Range, 2 B&M’s and about 20 Aldi’s.
There are a lot more shops than that but like I say, shopping is not my forté

Re-enactment of soldiers fighign in chain mail with shields in Cathedral Square, Peterborough at the Heritage Festival
Re-enactments in Cathedral Square at the Heritage Festival


There are oodles of ways to spend your leisure time in Peterborough. The Green Wheel is a cycle route that opened at the turn of the Millenium taking you around the city. It used to resemble a wheel on the map with spokes coming out of the middle but now it looks as though that wheel is all that would be left if you locked your bike up somewhere in Woodston. It’s not very round and I think there is only one spoke left. That said, it certainly gets you around the city and it has roughly a gazillion geocaches on its route.

Plenty of green space around Peterborough and along the River Nene

Our outdoor swimming pool, The Lido, has queues for days when it opens for the summer.
Just on the edge of the City Centre is Central Park, a lovely green space with an outdoor gym area, a large play area, and a paddling pool and sandpit along with an aviary and tennis courts.
Ferry Meadows is one of Peterborough’s gems and I’ve written about that in length before but is perfect for cycling, walking, picnicking, duck feeding, fishing, bird watching and more. It has its own mini railway, water sports and boats for hire and a campsite. Often there are activities on for free (or small donations) for the children in the school holidays too.

We have an ice rink, 2 bowling alleys, indoor trampoline places, soft play places, Sacrewell farm and when they pull their finger out, we’ll have a half decent cinema in town too!

Messing about on the water sports lake at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough

Passport office

We have a passport office! There are only 7 in the UK (I think) and we have one of them here. Which is the only reason some people even know where Peterborough is!
Yeah, I know, I’m totally clutching at straws with that one!


Nene Valley Railway is a lovely little stretch of track between Peterborough and ermmm somewhere just outside Peterborough. It’s only about 7ish miles long and has about 3 or stops on it but it has featured in many a film, tv show, advert and music video. Probably the most famous clip was the scene in the James Bond Octopussy film with Roger Moore. There’s something wonderful about the smell from the steam trains as they noisily hurry past, the passengers all waving as they go.
Oh, and it’s also the home of a famous little blue engine…

Train links

And if all of those things aren’t enough to convince you that it’s a fantastic place to be… there are great train links out..
You can be in London in roughly 50 mins. You can get a train straight to Birmingham for better shops or you can get out of England altogether and head to Edinburgh or make your way to Stanstead Airport

So don’t you agree?

Like I said, I’m super proud to live here.
It has its bad spots, like anywhere but it’s got some lovely parks and play areas, plenty of green spaces so is a really lovely place for raising a family. It’s got good links to London, so great for commuters. You can be at the beach in an hour and a half, tops and we are on our way to being one of the first cities in the UK to benefit from Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband, which can only mean great things for our homes and businesses.

So, did you see the poll? Do you agree with it or are you happy to live here? Have I missed anything? What is your favourite thing about Peterborough?

Oh, and please don’t give me grief about shopping here! Haha!

The sunken garden at Central Park, Peterborough
Paisley exploring Longueville Woods, Peterborough
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  • Reply Jennifer February 26, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    My dad’s side of the family are all from Peterborough and I love visiting! Not only is there plenty to do but the people are genuinely kind and generous.

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby February 26, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Yes! I always try and smile when I walk past people, and most smile back. Of course there will always be bad apples but for the most part, I think it’s lovely here 🙂

  • Reply Becky February 27, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Culture too! There’s the main theatres like the Key and the Cresset but there’s also a rapidly growing scene outside the city centre. Check out The Undercroft Theatre in Serpentine Green run by Eastern Angles and resident company Lamphouse Theatre and Platform 8 Festival (run by Jumped Up Theatre)!

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby February 27, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      I totally missed off the arts side, didn’t I? Oops! Thanks for adding that in

  • Reply Katie February 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Hey! totally agree with all your comments, I grew up in Oundle, which is a lovely area,however I always came into the city to venture away from village life! I bought my first house here in Peterborough and although I moved away for a few years I moved back with my husband and 2 children and we love it! And I do love the shopping here especially now we have smiggles and joules!!!

    • Reply Leslie Rickerby February 27, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      I’m glad you think the shopping is good – I was worried about that one as it’s really not my strong point 🙂

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