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The new-look Boathouse is now open. Visit us today and sample our new menu and range of drinks. With its tranquil waterside location and historic name, The Boathouse is an idyllic pub, in the heart of the Nene Valley Country Park.

With its weatherboarded exterior and majestic sailboat above the door, The Boathouse is a lovely waterside pub, in the middle of Nene Country Park. Sat placidly beside a tributary of the River Nene, yet just a mile west of Peterborough city centre, it has a decidedly tranquil ambience. And with everything from woodland trails, arable fields, riverside walks, a 17th-century mansion, a sculpture park and even a steam railway on its doorstep, The Boathouse is justifiable popular with both locals and visitors alike.

A gateway to the 2,500 acre Nene Country Park, The Boathouse offers easy access to both the cycling trails and pathways along the River Nene. On late summer evenings, the shaded patio area hums with the chatter of people enjoying a pint of foaming cask ale, as the sun sets over the old rowing course. By day, it’s not unusual to spot a prettily painted narrowboat, gliding through the gentle waters towards The Wash in East Anglia, lending the space a bucolic atmosphere all of its own.


While the pub itself was established as recently as 1989, its name goes back much further... to the mid-17th century, and Thorpe Hall, one of England’s finest preserved Cromwellian mansions. The Hall was built for Oliver St. John, Oliver Cromwell’s Lord Chief Justice, by Peter Mills, an architect who would go on to oversee the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. It had a boathouse at the tip of its gardens, where they sloped down to meet the river, a stone’s throw from where The Boathouse stands today.

Though the house is now a private hospice, Thorpe Hall’s Grade II Listed Victorian garden is open to the public and boasts a number of Grade I listed structures, including its curved walls and entrance gates, stables, and architrave gateway. The Hall stands on the eastern edge of the ancient village of Longthorpe, just a one mile walk from The Boathouse.

The village is a treasure trove of historic gems. Longthorpe Tower is what remains of an old manor house, built around 1300 by the Thorpe family. It houses one of Europe’s finest collections of medieval wall paintings, decorative representations of the local countryside and religious scenes. Behind the tower, meanwhile, stands St. Botolph’s Church, built in 1263, again by the Thorpe family. It’s of plain, coarse rubble construction, yet according to English Heritage boasts “a magnificent bishop's chair and an interesting leper's window.” Finally, to the east, there’s Thorpe Wood, an ancient woodland of oak, ash, field maple and hazel, where the tapping of woodpeckers in summer and the scent of wild garlic delight those who wander its well-trodden trails.

The Boathouse is well positioned for both walkers and cyclists alike. After tucking into a something sumptuous off the menu of traditional pub classics, a ride or walk westwards takes you to Ferry Meadows Country Park, with its endless meadows, lakes and woods. Here you can take one of several nature trails, through fields of wildflowers and forest, spot sand martins on the banks of Lynch Lake, or just keep going until you arrive at the agricultural estate of Castor, Ailsworth and Wansford, where arable fields and pastures lend a lovely rural backdrop to your afternoon’s excursion.

From Ferry Meadows you can also board the Nene Valley Railway, a preserved heritage railway that takes you along part of what was once the old Northampton to Peterborough line. Interestingly, since the late 1970’s, the line has been used as a filming location, appearing in TV shows including Casualty, Eastenders and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The Ferry Meadows stop has even appeared in a two James Bond films, Octopussy in 1982 and Goldeneye in 1995. Hop aboard the regular steam and diesel locomotives and you’ll be whisked away towards to the pretty villages of Yarwell, Orton Mere and Wansford.

On the southside of the rowing course, meanwhile, is the Thorpe Meadows Sculpture Park. Something of a hidden gem, it’s the parkland home of Peterborough Sculpture Trust's collection. You’ll find 18 pieces inspired by England’s countryside, from the likes of Barry Flanagan, Anthony Gormley, Lee Grandjean, Sir Anthony Caro and Miles Davies – well worth the half hour stroll it’ll take to see (and contemplate) each one.

With so much to see and do on the doorstep of The Boathouse, it’s easy to forget that this lovely pub is only a twenty-minute stroll from Peterborough town centre. Take the delightful riverside path along the banks of the Nene into the city centre and you’ll be rewarded with one of England’s most historic landmarks. Peterborough Cathedral is a fine Norman cathedral, with its imposing Early English Gothic facade, dominated by three magnificent arches. Established in Saxon times, it was destroyed by the Vikings in 870, before being largely rebuilt as it is now between 1119 and 1239, only to be vandalised by Parliamentary troops during the English Civil War.

The Boathouse offers a menu of traditional pub classics, seasonal specials, and wonderful Sunday roasts with lashings of rich gravy. Whether you dine indoors or al fresco on the waterside patio, watching the narrowboats and rowers gliding by, you’re sure to enjoy a lovely day out when you visit The Boathouse.

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Thorpe Meadows, Cambridgeshire, PE3 6GA


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