Picnic down by the river
The River Nene in Peterborough is very attractive. The weeping willows help to make for a very pleasant environment.
If you head to the river from the Cathedral Square, down Bridge street and then turn right you will find the 'promenade' type area. Opp. the old police station is the Grain Barge, which is often recommended as a quality chinese restaurant. If you continue walking you will see where the River divides - the old River Nene and the New Bedford level, Heading straight as a die towards the Wash. I used to enjoy watching rowing races here, but most of them now happen over at the new rowing centre. Still it's a nice spot for picnics and the like.
The Straw Bear Festival
Each winter, on the weekend after Plough Monday (in January), the town of Whittlesey holds this unique agricultural festival. Its roots go back to very ancient times. Plough Monday is the first Monday following Twelfth Night.
A man known as the Straw Bear dresses from head to toe in straw from the last harvest, and leads a procession through the streets of the town. Behind him are various folk musicians, dancers, and other performers. Most are dressed in strange, eccentric costumes.
Next day, the Festival continues at St Harry Smith Community College, on the edge of town. Finally, the Straw Bear costume is ceremonially burned. You have to see this to believe it.
This year's festival is from January 13-15th.
Built in the 16th century for William Cecil, this stately country home is one of the finest Elizabethan-era mansions in England. Cecil served under King Henry VIII, When he dissolved England's monasteries in 1539, he granted this tract of land to Cecil in exchange for his services. Cecil later served as Principal Secretary and as Lord Treasurer under Queen Elizabeth I. As a reward for his service and loyalty, he was named Lord Burghley in 1571.
Completed in 1587, it has 35 rooms within the main part. The stone was quarried in nearby Northamptonshire, and is very durable.
The house has extensive gardens designed by "Capability" Brown, the renowned landscape architect. Be sure to visit them, as well as the huge park surrounding the house.
Also, check the web site for information on upcoming events. The best-known is the annual Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, held in late summer. In addition, there are car shows, concerts (Elton John performed there once), art, and photography exhibits, among other things.