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Things to do in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire

On the western edge of the Fens, Whittlesey has a character of its own. The town centre is an interesting maze of streets, with a variety of well preserved architecture spanning several centuries. There are examples of timber framed houses with thatched roofs, occasional stone buildings and a preponderance of mellow buff brick, Whittlesey is also noted for its thatched mud walls - now a rarity.

The importance of agriculture is reflected in the Market Place, which contains several fine Georgian houses. The centre of the Market Place is dominated by the late 17th century butter cross which is a square open market house, quite unusual in this part of the country.

There are two main churches in the centre of Whittlesey, St. Andrew's and St. Mary's. St. Mary's is graced with the finest tower and spire in the county, which was built in the 15th century. St. Andrew's on the Ramsey Road is less grand but still very attractive with its elegant perpendicular arcades and original timber roof.

The old course of the River Nene, which links the rivers Nene and great Ouse meanders past the Manor Fields along the edge of the town. This was the Southern most point of the medieval town, which preceded present day Whittlesey. The Manor fields are a pleasant area of open space for mooring boats and fishing. Alongside is a modern Leisure Centre and pool.

Straw Bear Festival - Wittlesey was one of the last towns in England in which the old agricultural custom of Strawbear dancing took place. This Plough Monday tradition was revived in 1980 and has grown to become a unique feast of entertainment, creating a warm glow over the town on a cold January weekend. Everyone is welcome to watch the Morris and Molly dancers parade and dance through the streets of Whittlesey, following the Straw Bear and plough from inn to inn.

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