Wisbech served as a port since medieval times, but when the estuary of the River Ouse silted up it was diverted into the sea at Lynn and the present artificial course of the River Nene was constructed from Peterborough to the Wash. The drained marshes provided rich productive farmland and Wisbech became the centre of a thriving agricultural region and an important trading centre.
In the 18th century Wisbech landowners, merchants and warehouse owners grew wealthy and built their elegant houses along the banks of the River Nene.
Facing each other across the water North Brink and South Brink are amongst the finest Georgian Streets in England. They have changed little over the years and have featured as a location for TV period dramas such as David Copperfield and Micawber.
Perfectly positioned in the centre of North Brink, Peckover House is the finest property in Wisbech. It was built in 1722 and bought by Jonathon Peckover at the end of the 18th century. It is now in the care of the National Trust. The outside of the house gives little idea of the elaborate and elegant interior of fine panelled rooms, Georgian fireplaces with carved over-mantels and ornate plaster decorations. At the back of the house is a beautiful walled garden with rare trees, delightful summer houses and fruiting orange trees thought to be 300 years old. The house and garden is open to the public from spring to autumn.
The classic Georgian brewery owned by the Elgood family dominates the southern end of North Brink. Elgoods mashed their first brew here in 1878 and have continued to produce fine traditional ales ever since. Visitors can follow the brewing process on a guided tour which ends with the opportunity to sample a variety of real ales. Outside, the four acre brewery garden has been restored to blend original features such as rare trees with new beds and borders, a lake and a maze.
Wisbech has two museums; the Wisbech and Fenland Musuem in the Cresent and the Octavia Hill Birthplace House on South Brink.
It also has one of the oldest surviving Georgian theatres in the country. The Angles Theatre has just 112 seats and offers a variety of drama, dance and music in a cosy performance space.
If you're planning a visit to Wisbech, why not take the Wisbech Merchants Trail - available as a downloadable audio tour for your iPod or media player.