Hereward's spirit is still there !
Something of the spirit of defiance against the monlithic state still seems to linger in the Fen - Peterborough being at the Western edge of the region.
Hereward the Wake (meaning watchful) resisted the Normans (following 1066) for a number of years - based at his stronghold of Ely.
His name is still remembered in local building like the Hereward shopping centre, the local radio station and the street leading off Cathedral square : Long Causeway.
William I had to build a causeway over the then swampy fen to get to Ely. Hereward watched as the weight of the Norman soldiers in all their armour meant they slowly sank into the quadmire, - killing hundred of them. Later attempts worked, but Hereward escaped to continue his guerilla activities.
His myth has been romanticised at times, most famously in Charles Kingsly's 1865 novel, and some of the stories about Hereward seemed to have in time become attached to Robin Hood.
Its still good to have our own Che, even if he did fail - vive la revolution !
Watch a film
Peterborough has two cinemas, one of these actually doubles as a theatre. The main cinema is a modern american style complex with a large number of screens showing all of the latest hollywood productions. Even though this is a cosmopolitan city I have never know them to show anything apart from the normal best sellers, no bollywood or foreign language films. The other issue about the cinema is that it's about 2 miles from the city centre and therefore you'll have to get a taxi or a bus. Prices are steep with a movie costing about £7 per person.
"Cultural opposite pole to Cambridge"
Well i had initially written quite a biased review of this place, but i decided this isn't about me, it's about the place, and although Peterborough may not be my cup of tea, it may be yours!
Distinguishing features are: it's very flat, being pretty much at or just under sea level. Also, it is a New Town, which means the city centre is the usual array of high street chain stores that you get all over the UK. But that said they were redesigning the city centre when i left. And a very nice cathedral where it Katherine of Aragon is buried. And down the road is where they beheaded Mary Queen of Scots (i think), so historically it does have some cool if rather morbid stuff. It also has the river Nene, which is one of the high points. See more below under Good stuff.
The river Nene is a pleasant tree lined waterway going through the town. Gliding along you can often see members of the Rowing Club (which i actually was a member of for my short time there, there is a dedicated rowing club lake which is nice and shallow for when you fall in, which i managed twice..in winter..not nice!)
So a walk along the river is rather pleasant, leading eventually into the Orton area where there is a lovely big park. On the way you come up to the Boathouse pub which is a great place to sit for a pint. As is the Barge pub just in town which is a pub on a barge with outdoor seating and a Thai restaurant on the upper deck. Interesting.
There is also a bizarre working mans pub called the Botolph Arms which is very very cheap and is a bit like walking into a members only club, but once you get over that aspect of it, its a place with character alright!
The Brewery Tap does some nice enough food, and does their own beers, as it is a microbrewery.
There is also a strangely named bar called The The, or maybe i was missing something, but this is allegedly where the beautiful crowd hang out. I made an appearance once or twice ;-)