What a discovery! Peterborough Museum is fun, interactive and has lots of interesting exhibits for children. It’s completely FREE to visit although they do appreciate donations. Watch my video to see just some of the highlights from our visit in April 2019 and then scroll down for more information.
Where is Peterborough Museum and when is it open?
Peterborough Museum is in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire about an hour from where we live in Milton Keynes. The postcode for the museum so you can get an idea of where it is is PE1 1LF. It’s in the middle of the city centre. There is no car park for the museum itself so you need to park in a town centre one and walk. The closest car park is the Trinity Street car park which is PE1 1DA. You will need to check the latest charges before travelling and I couldn’t tell you anything about it apart from it’s very near. We however parked in the main Queensgate shopping Centre car park as we popped to the shops first, walked through the shopping centre then walked down Queen Street, Cross Street and turned right on to Priestgate. Look on google maps before travelling. The museum is closed on Mondays – for all the latest opening times and info use their website.
What were our first impressions of Peterborough Museum?
We were greeted at the museum by a friendly volunteer and first impressions of it were good with a nice gift shop and cafe – and it felt very modern. On the ground floor there’s a changing exhibition and when we visited it was all about people and possessions. My two sons – aged five and three when we went – weren’t really that interested in and I’d say much of it is aimed more at adults. Don’t be fooled however, on going up the stairs there are a number of permanent exhibitions that my sons loved.
What were the best bits about Peterborough Museum?
The ‘changing landscapes’ gallery is very cool and is designed to create the feeling of being underwater with prehistoric creatures that swam in the seas that covered Peterborough 150 million years ago – we always like looking at bones of creatures and learning about how they used to live. From there you go to the Ice Age section and see bones of woolly mammoths and giant elephants, and then into the wildlife section. There are taxidermy exhibits – my 3 year old liked stroking the fox. In each of there areas there are interactive elements to them. We spent some time in there. The other two sections where we spent the most time was the Victorian operating theatre which is on the top floor – nothing to touch – but fascinating to see one of the only surviving medical rooms of its kind in Europe with lots of surgical implements and sound effects – see note about this later. There’s also a Napoleonic prison area where children can dress up as guards or prisoners and learn all about what life was like in that era. My youngest son sat for ages on a telephone listening to a ‘prisoner’ talk – and there’s also a secret tunnel into the prison room which he also liked.
What else is at Peterborough Museum?
There’s a good archaeology section that includes lots of exhibits and info about the Romans amongst others – there’s more human bones. My sons also enjoyed an area called changing lives which had in it a very smaller two seater cinema as well as old-fashioned household stuff and information about the trains. The cafe looked lovely although we ran out of time to go in it – and it had a very pretty children’s reading area.
What else do we need to know about Peterborough Museum?
My children aged five and three at the time we visited were a good age to visit – and there was plenty for them to do. I’d say although it’s hands-on in some areas then I’d wouldn’t say there’s much for under 3s. It is suitable for older children too. A note about the Victorian Operating Theatre – don’t go in if you’re squeamish about blood. There is some fake blood in a bucket on the floor and a bit on the bed. Also, in the room you hear ‘sawing’ noises – my children were fine – but just in case you think you or they won’t like it then don’t go in. I think we were in the museum for about three hours in total although you could do it quicker. It’s accessible by lift apart from the top floor where the operating theatre and prison areas are. There is no car park specific to the museum but their website says they have one disabled space which you have to ring ahead and book. It’s CLOSED on Mondays in term-time.
What else can we do in Peterborough whilst we’re there?
Peterborough Cathedral is just a short walk away from the museum and is free to visit. It’s a must-do if you’re in the area as it’s so impressive. There’s a small visitors centre there too. In Cathedral Square there are fountains which are fun on a hot day. There’s a lot to do in Peterborough that we haven’t explored (even though I was born there!) but one of our favourite other cheap places to visit is Ferry . Meadows Country Park.
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