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.

Top Ten Things to See

at Peterborough Cathedral

Top ten things to see

There are lots of wonderful things to see as you explore inside Peterborough Cathedral and you will find information panels located around the building which tell you more about what you see. 

Here are just ten things to look out for:

1. The Font

The font stands in the centre of the nave as you enter the Cathedral. This is where people are Baptised at the start of their Christian life. The bowl is carved from Alwalton marble and dates from the thirteenth century.

The nave ceiling at Peterborough Cathedral2. The Nave Ceiling

The painted wood ceiling in the nave was completed around 1240. It is the only one of its kind in Britain and one of only four in Europe. Although the ceiling has been repainted or restored twice, it still follows the original design.

3. The Hanging Crucifix

The modern hanging cross was designed by George Pace in 1975, with the figure of Jesus sculpted by Frank Roper. The Latin instription at Jesus' feet means 'the cross stands while the world turns.'

4. The Choir Stalls 

The spectacular oak choir stalls date from the 1890s and are carved in a medieval Gothic style. The figures on the canopies represent various characters from the Cathedral's history, including abbots, monks and monarchs.

5. Katharine of Aragon's tomb

Henry VIII's first wife, Katharine of Aragon, was buried at Peterborough Cathedral (then Peterborough Abbey) on 29th January 1536, having died in exile at nearby Kimbolton Castle. She lies here to this day. Her tomb was vandalised by Oliver Cromwell's troops during the Civil War in the seventeenth century. The current memorial slab was installed in 1893.

6. The New Building Ceiling

The 'New Building' at the east end of the Cathedral was constructed around 1500. It is a very fine example of late-Perpendicular architecture, with a stunning fan-vaulted ceiling and high windows.

7. The Hedda Stone

The Hedda Stone is located in the Apse Chapel, next to the New Building. It dates from around AD 800 and is the only surviving find from the original Saxon monastery that was destroyed by the Vikings in AD 870.

8. The Former Burial Place of Mary, Queen of Scots

A portrait of Old Scarlett, the Tudor gravedigger at Peterborough Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire on 7th February 1587, having been implicated in the Babington Plot against Queen Elizabeth I. Her body was interred at the Cathedral five months later. After her son James 1 came to the English throne he arranged for her body to be moved to Westminster Abbey in 1612. His letter to the Chapter of the Cathedral making this request is on display in the Cathedral Visitor Centre.

9. St Oswald's Chapel

The Chapel dedicated to St Oswald is in the South Transept. Oswald was King of Northumbria from about AD 633. His 'miraculously preserved' arm was kept at Bamburgh until stolen and brought to Peterborough in about AD 1000. It became one of the abbey's most prized relics and was displayed throughout the Middle Ages in this chapel. The small turret provided a vantage point for a monk to guard it.

10. Portraits of Old Scarlett

Above the main door of the Cathedral are two portraits of the parish sexton and gravedigger, Robert Scarlett, better known as 'Old Scarlett'. He died in 1594 at the age of 98, having buried both Katharine of Aragon and Mary, Queen of Scots.


Entry is by donation. Please give what you can. Donations are vital to help with the running costs of this ancient building. Always check opening times before visiting.

Take a tour (selected dates)

Follow these links for Highlights Tour and Tower Tour details, or ask at the Welcome Desk if you have questions about the history and life of the Cathedral.

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