Due to our Monsters of the Sea exhibition there is restricted access to some parts of the building and the Cloisters will be closed during this period.

Katharine of Aragon Festival

25 - 29 January 2024

The Katharine of Aragon Festival commemorates 29th January 1536, when Henry VIII's first wife was buried at Peterborough Cathedral after her death in exile at Kimbolton Castle. She lies in the Cathedral to this day. This year the Cathedral joins forces with Peterborough Museum to deliver an exciting itinerary of events.

Festival Programme 2024 




Thursday 25th January 

Tudor Tour - 11.30am (SOLD OUT)

A costumed tour with a Tudor focus including the tombs of Katharine or Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots, the gravedigger who inspired Shakespeare, the Tudor New Building and much more 

Tickets £8pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.


History Talk:  Katharine and Anne – Online talk by Dr Owen Emmerson -  7.30pm (SOLD OUT)

History has delighted in the famed rivalry between Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, but these Queens shared more in common than tradition has allowed. This talk will bring new perspectives to the precarious relationship between the first two Queens Consort of King Henry VIII. It will explore the complex connections between these two remarkable women, delving into their well-documented differences but also their unexpected similarities. 

Dr Owen Emmerson is a social and cultural historian and author of four books. He worked as the Castle Historian and Assistant Curator of Hever Castle for six years. He has appeared in seventeen documentaries about the Tudor era including ‘The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family’ (BBC, 2021) and ‘Blood, Sex and Royalty: Anne Boleyn’ (Netflix, 2022). He is currently writing a full history of Hever Castle, and a cultural history of the ten Tudor Queens.   

Tickets £8pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.

Friday 26th January 

8.30am - Roman Catholic Mass 

Conducted by the clergy of St Peter and All Souls Church, Peterborough. 

11.00am - Commemoration Service and wreath laying 

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, will lead a short service of commemoration with readings and prayers. During the service wreaths will be laid on Katharine’s tomb by school pupils and visiting dignitaries. All welcome. No booking required. 

12.00pm - Tudor Tour 

A costumed tour with a Tudor focus including the tombs of Katharine or Aragon and Mary Queen of Scots, the gravedigger who inspired Shakespeare, the Tudor New Building and much more.

Tickets £8pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.

14.00pm - Katharine of Aragon Embroidery Workshop for Beginners (SOLD OUT)

Katharine of Aragon was a skilled embroider who was known for her blackwork and popularised this form of embroidery. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to learn how blackwork was applied to garments using simple running stiches to create complex motifs and borders. Using these stitches and following a printed chart you will be able to produce a piece of work inspired from designs 600 years ago.

Tickets: £25 pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.

17.30 - Vespers 

The daily evening service at the Cathedral, this time in the form of Vespers, a form familiar in Tudor times, sung by the Cathedral Choir. All welcome. 

19.00 - Son et Lumiere  (SOLD OUT)

An atmospheric and beautiful evening; experience the Cathedral at night as stories will be spun and tales told. Each story will explore a period in the Cathedral’s history, accompanied by music of that period.  The experience will end with mulled wine in the Tudor New Building and visitors are warmly invited to join with the service of Compline afterwards.   

Tickets £25pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.

21.00 - Compline  

A service at the close of the day, sung by adult members of the Cathedral Choir. Like Vespers, Compline would have been part of the daily Divine Office observed by the monks of Peterborough Abbey. All welcome. 

Saturday 27th January 

At Court with the Tudors 10.00am-15.00pm

A drop in event for families celebrating all things Tudor. We will be joined once more by the amazing Regal Rose Historical Portrayal – Katharine, Henry and the whole Court will arrive at 11.00 for visitors to pay homage, ask questions and take selfies. Impromptu dancing and game playing will be in store as well as a Tudor Cartogram and  craft makes for children and adults alike.

During the day we will be running the following pre-bookable activities: 


Monks, Mischief and Marauders Family Tours 10.30am, 11.45am, 13.30pm, 14.30pm 

Our grumpy and fearsome gravedigger Robert ‘Old’ Scarlett will give you his unique take on the Cathedral’s history. Complete with keys, spade and skull, Scarlett will try not to scare you with his ‘grim visage’ and 'mighty voice’ as he takes you round the building. Just keep up – he hates dawdlers! 

Children receive his personal guide and activity book to complete after the tour! 

Price £6pp plus booking fee or £24 per family (two adults + up to 3 children). Book tickets here.


10.30-11.30am - Katharine of Aragon Papercraft Workshop for Families 

Create a fun 3D papercraft sculpture of Katharine of Aragon with contemporary papercraft illustrator Shobhna Patel will. A  fast-paced and creative workshop for children and parents to enjoy together.  

Tickets: £8 per child with one free place for an accompanying adult + booking fee. Book tickets here.


12.00pm - Katharine of Aragon Papercraft Workshop for Adults 

Duration 2-3 hrs 

Create your own ornate paper portrait of Katharine of Aragon with contemporary papercraft illustrator Shobhna Patel. For more details and to book visit our website.

Tickets: £27pp plus booking fee. Book tickets here.



Friday 26th & Sunday 28th January     

Tudor Peterborough Tour - Friday 12:45pm & 2:30pm & Sunday 12.15pm

Explore Peterborough’s historic city centre with a costumed guide and find out what the city was like during the time of Katharine of Aragon. The tour then enters Peterborough Cathedral where you will hear about the funeral of Queen Katharine.

This is a pacey walking tour of the city centre, which then enters Peterborough Cathedral. Please make sure you bring appropriate footwear and clothing.

Please contact us to enquire about suitability for those with limited mobility.

This is a walking tour of Peterborough city centre and may not be suitable for those with limited mobility. 

Book tickets here

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th January 

At Home with the Tudors (Drop in) - 10-4pm

A drop in event for families to travel back in time to the 1500s and find out more about life for ordinary people in Tudor times. With a chance to meet costumed characters, such as the barber surgeon or Tudor cook (with real Tudor recipes). Discover crime and punishment, try on some Tudor armour, and more.

Plus there will be Tudor family craft activities and a trail.


At Home with the Tudors Adult Ticket £4.00

At Home with the Tudors Child £3.50

At Home with the Tudors Under 5s £0.00

At Home with the Tudors Family (2 adults, 3 children) £15.00

Book tickets here

Saturday 27th January

11am - Priestgate Vaults Tour. Venture down into the Museum’s cellars to see the only surviving remains of the Tudor house which once stood in its place. From the grand home of a wealthy Tudor family, to the city’s first infirmary, explore layers of history rarely seen by the public. Brought to life through projections and characters from this buildings history, the tour will take you through 500 years of stories.

The Priestgate Vaults are accessed via a steep set of stairs and are inaccessible to wheelchair users. Projections, flashing lights and loud noises are used during the tour. Not recommended for children under 8 years. Tickets: £5 adults, £3 children.

Book tickets here

7.30pm - The Cultural and Social impact of Katharine of Aragon’s reign on the Tudor dynasty, a Talk by Dr Onyeka Nubia (University of Nottingham). 

Katharine is often only thought of as a victim of ‘the marriage question.’ But Katharine ruled England as queen from 1509 to 1533. When she arrived in Plymouth on 2 October 1501, she was not just the ‘Spanish Princess’: daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain — but also a direct descendant of Edward III. This talk will explore why her Iberian/English heritage and culture transformed England forever. A book signing will follow this talk.

Dr Onyeka Nubia (University of Nottingham) is a pioneering and internationally recognised historian, writer and presenter. His current works include reinventing our perceptions of the Renaissance, British history, Black Studies and intersectionalism. Dr Nubia is the writer of Blackamoores Africans in Tudor England and England’s Other Countrymen. Tickets £8pp.

Book tickets here

Sunday 28th January

Tudor Times Detective Family Tours - 10.30am, 11.45am & 1.30pm

Turn time detective on a fun family tour to discover parts of Peterborough’s Tudor past. Join your guide, Goodwife Jane, and follow your nose to uncover some foul facts about terribly Tudor bad habits. Plus dress to impress and step inside Tudor Peterborough’s trendiest townhouse……if you can find it!

These are short walking tours of the city centre and also include a steep staircase so may not be suitable for those with limited mobility. Please make sure you bring appropriate footwear and clothing.

Tours last approximately 45 minutes. Tickets £5pp.

Book tickets here

Monday 29th January marks the 488th anniversary of Katharine of Aragon's burial at Peterborough Cathedral. Though no public events are scheduled for this day, we will be hosting local primary school children for a day of learning and activities.

*Please note that photography inside the Cathedral will not be allowed on this day.*



Share this page: