Peterborough Museum

Peterborough Museum Building
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Peterborough Museum is a fascinating and fun place to visit for all the family, right in the heart of the city centre. Having recently undergone a £3.2 million redevelopment (we open again on 31st March 2012) we're looking better than ever and 2012 is going to be an exciting year for Peterborough Heritage! General admission to the Museum is free, we hope you enjoy your visit, and that you will want to come back and see us regularly – there is always something different to see or do throughout the year. We are a Visit Britain Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance scheme attraction.

Priestgate dates back to the twelfth century (when the current town plan was set down by the monks of Peterborough abbey) and the first recorded house on the site was built in the 16th century (a grand mansion for the Orme family), although the current building dates from 1816. It was the town house of newly-weds, Thomas and Charlotte Cooke. In 1856 the Priestgate mansion was sold to the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam who allowed it to be used as the city's first hospital, the Peterborough Infirmary, from 1857 until 1928. This impressive Georgian building became the museum in 1931 and an art gallery was added in 1939.

Many of the original Georgian features can still be seen today, as can traces of its use as a hospital - as part of the recent redevelopment, the original operating theatre has been restored and visitors will be able to visit it for the first time (the only one of its kind in the country)!

The Museum and its collections are owned by Peterborough City Council and are managed by Vivacity Culture & Leisure, a registered charitable trust.

Venue Type:

Museum, Historic house or home, Gallery, Heritage site

Opening hours

Open Tues-Sun 10.00-17.00
Bank Holiday Mondays – 10am– 5pm
Mondays (School holidays only) – 10am – 5pm

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day & Good Friday. We are closed Mondays during term time.

Admission charges

Free admission; donations welcome.

Admission charges may apply to special exhibitions or events.

Getting there

The Museum is in Peterborough city centre, a very short walk (a minute or two) from city centre shops and the Cathedral. It is also a two minute walk from the bus station. Peterborough train station is on the East Coast mainline, and the Museum is a short walk (less than 5 minutes) along a signposted route from the station. Peterborough is conveniently located just off the A1. Follow signs towards the city centre and use city centre car parks. There is limited disabled parking available on-site.

The collections housed at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery can be seen on display in the permanent galleries, in temporary exhibitions or by arrangement to view from the reserve collections.

There are over 212,000 objects, which have been collected over 130 years, now in the care of Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. In 1968, the museum and its collections were presented to the City of Peterborough by the Museum Society (founded 1871, as the Peterborough Natural History Society and Field Club).

The collections cover a great many subjects and some are of national and international importance, such as the Norman Cross Prisoner-of-War Craft work, the Jurassic marine reptile fossils, finds from Roman Peterborough and the original manuscripts of the famous poet John Clare.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Land Transport, Literature, Maritime, Medicine, Music, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Weapons and War

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Peterborough cathedral

Historic Peterborough Tour

  • From 26 September 2015
  • 5 December 2015 From 2pm
  • 12 December 2015 From 2pm

If you’re looking for an escape from shopping, a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon or are simply curious about the history of our city, why not join us for an historic tour?

The Historic Peterborough Tour is the essential guide to Peterborough’s past, and runs every Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Find out more about the fascinating and often undiscovered history of Peterborough, from the foundation of the Saxon abbey to the modern city. Discover the secrets of the Cathedral precincts, find out why the river is important as the heart of the city and hear about the many enthralling stories and personalities connected to our past. A must for visitors to the city or local residents alike!

All tours last about 100 minutes and take place whatever the weather, starting from outside the Museum on Priestgate. Walkers can turn up and pay on the day although places can be pre-booked from Peterborough Museum (01733 864663), emailing or from the Visitor Information Centre (01733 452336).


£5 Adults, £3 Concessions


Crime & Punishment Walks

  • 17 December 2015 7:30-9pm

Delve into the city’s sinister criminal past!

Follow our Victorian policeman around the City Centre to hear tales of Peterborough’s grim past. Find out where the city’s gaols were and about the appalling conditions inside. Learn where public hangings and floggings took place, discover the history of the City police force, find out where someone really did read the riot act, and find out about some of our most notorious criminals.

Tours take place on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, Tickets £5 adults, £3 concessions.

All tours meet (unless otherwise stated) outside Peterborough Museum, Priestgate. All tours last approx. 90 minutes and go ahead whatever the weather! Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment – please contact Peterborough Museum on 01733 864663 or email


£5 Adults, £3 Concessions


Toddler sits on mother's lap whilst they look at a shell together

Young Explorers

  • 3 December 2015 1-2:30pm

Our next Young Explorers is on Thursday, 3rd December 2015.

Enjoy the story ‘Sharing a Shell’ in our Jurassic Gallery and handle a selection of shells and fossils from our collection.
Then get crafty and make spirally mobiles – ideal for Christmas decorations!

Young Explorer – bring your parents, carers or grandparents for a fun morning £3 for each participating child (babies free)
Booking advisable as places are restricted to 15 toddler spaces per session.

To book, call Peterborough Museum on 01733 864 663.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6


£3 per participating child (babies free)


a brown haired women in a white shirt holding up and looking at a glass of white wine, standing next to a grey haired man in a checked shirt holding up a glass of white wine

Wine Tasting

  • 4 December 2015 7:30-9:30pm

The festive season is a perfect time to join us in our Georgian wine cellar for a relaxed and atmospheric evening of wine tasting. This introductory experience is suitable for everyone from the complete beginner to the wine enthusiast. A fantastic opportunity to order quality wines for your seasonal celebrations or simply to become more confident ordering wines in a restaurant. Over 18s only

Suitable for

  • 18+


£25 per person


close up of a woman painting a ceramic piece

Christmas Ceramics

  • 5 December 2015 10:30am-1pm

Paint the perfect Christmas with our ceramics workshop and craft precious keepsakes to enjoy year after year. Top off your tree with your own hand-painted bauble and design your own festive plate that’s perfect for mince pies or leaving treats out for Santa! It’s not about being the best artist it’s about creating your own masterpiece and having fun! Over 8’s only, children must be accompanied by a guardian

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+


£30 per person (OVER 8s ONLY)


Handmade wreath laid out on a table during workshop

Wreath Making Workshop

  • 6 December 2015 10:30am-1:30pm

Deck your halls with a hand-made wreath this Christmas. Our experienced florist will guide you through the techniques to make a wonderful moss ring wreath worthy of any winter wonderland. Learn a traditional festive craft in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – complete with mince pies!

All materials provided, please bring your own strong scissors & apron. Over 16s only.
Pre-booking is essential. Call 01733 864663 for tickets.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


£27.50 per person (Over 16s only)


poster of a pointing Santa in the style of Lord Kitchener with the text Santa Needs You

“Santa Needs You”…Enlist as an Elf!

  • 19 — 21 December 2015

Oh dear! It's the week before Christmas and Santa has been caught up in the Christmas rush. With only a few days to go before the big day, Santa’s little helpers are rushed off their feet, and they need your help!

Enlist yourself as an Elf this Christmas at Peterborough Museum, and be taught the top secret tricks of the trade! You’ll have lots of goodies to take home with you as you merrily craft away in Santa’s Workshop, decorate your own delightful Gingerbread, and even make your own magical Reindeer food to sprinkle out on Christmas Eve.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, there’s no need to book for this event, just drop in.

For more information call (01733) 864663 or visit

Suitable for

  • Any age


Admission: £4 (under 2’s free)


Getting there

The Museum is in Peterborough city centre, a very short walk (a minute or two) from city centre shops and the Cathedral. It is also a two minute walk from the bus station. Peterborough train station is on the East Coast mainline, and the Museum is a short walk (less than 5 minutes) along a signposted route from the station. Peterborough is conveniently located just off the A1. Follow signs towards the city centre and use city centre car parks. There is limited disabled parking available on-site.

Peterborough Museum



All enquiries


All enquiries

01733 864663

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.