Wisbech Tourist Information Centre
Staff at the Tourist Information Centre in Wisbech welcome personal calls from visitors and local people alike. It doesn't matter whether you are looking for somewhere interesting to go to, seeing what’s on in the area or just after a good place to eat. Our Tourist Information Assistants have details on all attractions within a 50 mile radius, backed up by a comprehensive selection of brochures and guides covering the whole of the UK. They can assist with travel directions and even - especially important for visitors - help you find somewhere to stay.
Where To Find Them: 2 - 3 Bridge Street, Wisbech, Cambs, PE13 1EW
Tel 01945 583263 - Fax 01945 463078 - Open Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5pm
Wisbech, capital of the Fens
Wisbech is quite off the beaten path we think... not too many tourists visit this place. The area is very un-English as it lacks the rolling countryside look. Best reason to visit Wisbech is probably the Fens, an area of tranquil waterways and wetlands that provide a haven for wildlife.
The nearest railway station is in March, which is on the Stansted Airport -Peterborough line.
There are two town history trails, both of which take about an hour to complete. They can also be combined for an afternoon's history-seeking.
Pick up a brochure (it also doubles as a town map) from the Tourism Information Bureau in the square by the bridge. Note that this map is also very handy if you are using Pevsner's Cambridgeshire to explore the town.
The centre of town is a very quiet circle, now called The Crescent. The centre of The Crescent is the location of the original Wisbech Castle, now long disappeared and now home to Castle House, an interesting building in its own right. The castle was originally built by the Normans in 1072, but by the late 17th Century, it had been replaced by an elegant mansion for a local dignitary; in turn this was demolished in 1816 although some garden walls remain.
The facades of the buildings around The Crescent are marvellous: a rather unique Georgian facade from the 1790s, spoilt only by the staggeringly bad architecture of the Wisbech Library at one point. The little gardens at the north end form a quiet place for a picnic, although the large palm tree is a little incongruous here in the Capital of the Fens!
On the other side of the castle, in front of the Wisbech Museum and in front of the church is a small square, again with elegant buildings. It must be one of the prettiest little areas of East Anglia.
Wisbech - Capital Of The Fens!
Wisbech is a market town with a population of about 20,000 in the Fenland area of Cambridgeshire. The tidal River Nene runs through the centre of the town and is spanned by two bridges. The name is believed to mean mouth of the (River) Ouse but it has never been resolved.
Prior to the Local Government Act 1972 coming into force in 1974 Wisbech was a municipal borough. It is now a civil parish in the Fenland district.
"Bit Of History"
A Norman castle to fortify Wisbech was built by William I, and in later Tudor times became a notorious prison. The Castle was rebuilt in the mid-17th century and again in 1816 by Joseph Medworth, who also developed the Crescent, familiar as the setting in numerous costume dramas. The major town dwelling is Peckover House with its fine walled garden, built for the Quaker/banking family in 1722 and now owned by the National Trust.
In the 17th century, the local inhabitants became known as the "Fen Tigers" because of their resistance to the draining of the fens, but the project turned Wisbech into a wealthy port handling agricultural produce.
At this time Wisbech was on the estuary of the River Ouse, but silting caused the coastline to move north, and the River Nene was diverted to serve the town. The Wisbech Canal joining the River Nene at Wisbech was subsequently filled in and became the dual carriageway leading into the town from the east (now crossing the bypass).
"Culture & Sport"
The Angles Theatre is a thriving professional theatre, run almost entirely by volunteers and backed by many leading names including Derek Jacobi, Jo Brand and Cameron Mackintosh. It is also the home of the "Nine Lives" theatre company, a company formed as part of Performing Arts programme run by the Isle College.
Every summer a "Rose Fair" is held in St. Peter's church. The church is decorated with flower displays sponsored by local organisations and businesses. A parade of floats forms up in Queens Road and circuits the town. Strawberry and cream teas are served and stalls raise funds for local charities. Coaches bring visitors from a wide area. Details are available from the local tourist office.
The local football team is Wisbech Town Football Club, nicknamed The Fenmen. Other sports present as well are Wisbech Rugby Union Football Club, Wisbech cricket club, Wisbech Hockey club, Wisbech Squash club and a number of martial arts clubs.