What’s on in Cambridge – August 2019

Summer is here and there’s lots going on in the city this month.  And take a look at my recent posts for details of some great analogue pursuits and events (most of them low cost or free) to keep the kids occupied for a bit.  Happy summer everybody!!

Portugal Place Cambridge
Portugal Place, looking lovely in the sunshine

1st    5.30 – 7.30pm  Wellbeing in Romsey – an evening of Breathwork and Yoga to celebrate Mill Road Summer.  No experience necessary and no need to book.  Outside Tesco Express, 163 Mill Road  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

1 – 4th    Cambridge Folk Festival.  Cherry Hinton Hall Park.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk/folk-festival

1 – 24th    Cambridge Shakespeare Festival.  Productions performed in College gardens, in full period costume and with live Elizabethan music.  http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com

1 – 31st    Summer at the Museums.  Over 140 low cost and free family events in and around Cambridge.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/summer

3rd    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday.  The Nightshade Family.  Find out about the Nightshades, one of the most amazing families in the plant kingdom.  Free, drop in.  Botanic Garden.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

3rd    2 – 5pm  Come and Sing!  A light, summery programme of song.  All welcome.  St Barnabas Church, Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

3rd    7 – 8.15pm  Flute and Guitar Recital.  Charity concert in aid of Romsey Mill, featuring a range of musical styles.  St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

4th    9am – 2pm  Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale.  Gwydir Street Car Park

4th    12 – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

6th    7.30pm  Shoot for the Moon.  Improvised comedy night with The Ministry of Unplanned Occurrences.  Pay what you want.  The Blue Moon Pub, Norfolk Street, CB1

7th    7 – 8pm  Hula Hoop Workshop with Penny Farthing.  Free class for all ages and abilities, no need to book.  Outside Tesco Express, 163 Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

10th   3 – 5pm  Folk Music and Storytelling by Serendipity Sessions.  Open mic event.  Come and have a go at storytelling, playing, poetry reading or singing.  Turn up at 3pm to book your slot on the day.  St Barnabas Church, Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

10th    3 – 8.30pm  RomseyFest!  Music on Mill Road.  An afternoon of busking, bands and dancing.  Outside Tesco Express, 163 Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

10th    8pm  Hamlet.  A solo performance by Richard Spaul.  The Leper Chapel, off Newmarket Road.  http://www.insitutheatre.co.uk

10 – 25th    10am – 6pm/5pm on Sundays  Anglian Potters Cambridge Exhibition.  Handmade ceramics from 60+ local potters.  All Saints’ Church, Jesus Lane.  http://www.anglianpotters.org uk

11th    4.30 – 6.30pm  A Journey to the Centre of the Hive.  A fun and educational workshop taking you through the life of the honey bee colony.  Observation hive, blind honey tasting experience, complimentary tea and coffee.  Dulcedo Patisserie, 60 Hills Road.  Online booking at http://www.beesitter.co.uk

15th    9pm  Queers in Shorts.  An evening of queer-themed short films from around the world.  Free event.  Arts Picturehouse Bar, St Andrew’s Street, CB2  https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Arts_Picturehouse_Cambridge

17th    1am – 4pm  Making the most of …..  A reuse and recycle event featuring artists, makers, fashion designers and creatives who work with sustainable media.  Interactive activities and varied shopping opportunities.  Organised by local charities the Children’s Society, Arthur Rank Hospice and Romsey Mill.  St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

18th    9am – 2pm  Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale.  Gwydir Street Car Park

18th    12 – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

18th    6.30pm  Meditation Taster Session.  Sample two meditation techniques and mindful breathing.  White Lotus Meditation.  The Bodywise Studio, Gwydir Street, Off Mill Road.  http://www.whitelotusmeditation.co.uk

20th    2 – 6pm  Mill Road Bridges: Meet the Artists.  Join local artists to make art and share stories about Mill Road.  Try your hand at origami, printing and clay work.  St Barnabas Church, Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

23 – 26th    Movies on the Meadows.  Open air film screenings in the river meadows at Grantchester.  http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/news/movies-meadows-2019

24 – 26th    11am – 5pm  Drop in drawing.  Drawing activities for all in the gallery spaces.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

24th    7 – 9pm  Soiree with Adam Pounds.  Music, poetry and storytelling, featuring performances of Cajun and other folk styles.  St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

25th    3 – 5pm  Jazz and Brass in the Parks.  Caxton Swing.  Jesus Green.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk

30th    6pm  Summer Night Market and Open Air Cinema (Early Man/Bohemian Rhapsody).  Free event.  Market Square  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/open-air-cinema-night-market

30th    7 – 10.30pm  Legendary: The Big Fantasy Quiz.  Immerse yourself in the epic worlds of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Disney and much more.  C3 Centre, 2 Brooks Road.  http://www.millroadsummer.org/whats-on/

31st    5 – 11pm  Wonder at the Museum of Technology.  A festival event with life-living workshops, vegan food, SoBar (alcohol free) drinks and DJs.  Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane, CB5    https://www.wonderfestival.co.uk/

Punting on the River Cam Cambridge
Messing about on the river

CamcycleQuest: A cycling treasure hunt around Cambridge

Now here’s another great analogue summer holiday pursuit ….. Camcycle, which works for better and safer cycling for all ages and abilities in and around Cambridge, has created a new clue-based treasure hunt to encourage us all to get on our bikes, explore our beautiful city and discover, or rediscover, the fun of cycling.

CamcycleQuest Cambridge
Image credit: Camcycle

Starting and finishing at Reality Checkpoint, the famous lamp post on Parker’s Piece, the treasure hunt route takes you in a loop around the city, cycling on quiet roads, through snickets and passageways and along traffic free paths.  The entire quest will take about a day to cycle but it can also be cycled in sections.

This is a great way to explore areas of Cambridge that you may not be familiar with, from Chesterton in the east to Eddington in the west.  Don’t forget to take photos and post your progress on social media using the hashtag #CamcycleQuest.

CamcycleQuest Cambridge
Image credit: Camcycle

Taking part in CamcycleQuest couldn’t be simpler.  Firstly, pick up a guide from outlets around town (see the website below for details) or from the Camcycle stall outside the John Lewis cafe on Thursday 8 August.  Gather your friends/family/colleagues and follow the route, adding up the answers to all the clues with the CamcycleQuest logo as you go, to come up with a final special CamcycleQuest number.  You can submit this number via the website or at the Camcycle Cargo Carnival on 21 September.  Correct answers will be entered into a prize draw ….. prizes include a £900 cargo bike e-conversion from Electric Bike Sales and cycling accessories.

CamcycleQuest Cambridge
Image credit: Camcycle

For further details or to order a copy of the CamcycleQuest guide online, head to http://www.cambridgefestivalofcycling.org/camcyclequest


School’s out!! Summer activities in Cambridge for children and families

School’s out, the sun is shining and there’s plenty going on in the city to keep youngsters amused through the summer break, much of it low cost or free.  Here are a few ideas!

Summer at the Museums    140 drop in and bookable activities at museums in and around Cambridge as well as the Botanic Garden.  A mix of events, trails and hands-on activities.  Download the full programme from http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/summer

Cambridge Museum of Technology
Cambridge Museum of Technology

Cambridge Museum of Technology has recently re-opened after a major refurbishment – read more here.  They are running Family Engineering Mornings, where you work together to design, build and test rockets and boats and build a tower crane, as well as Family Papercraft Mornings.  The Museum is in a beautiful spot down by the river.  Food and drink are available but you’re welcome to bring a picnic and there’s lots of room for children to run around.  Click on http://www.museumoftechnology.com/whats-on for more.

ChYpPS is running Playdaze, a free daily programme of activities for kids plus Big Wednesdays, mini festival fun afternoons of art, sport and culture for the whole family.  Details on http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/chypps-activities

Great St Mary’s, the University Church on Senate House Hill, is running Family Activity Mondays on 5, 12 and 19 August from 11am – 3pm, offering family craft events with a different theme each week.  More on Facebook @GreatStMarys.

Waterstones Cambridge events
Waterstones Cambridge summer events

Waterstones in Sidney Street is offering a series of free events with storytimes, crafts and more, with a different theme each week.  See the photograph for details.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Heffers on Trinity Street has organised several free children’s activities with local authors as well as a series of Museum Adventures with the Hidden Tales, tying in with Cambridge treasure hunt Riddle of the White Sphinx – read more here –  and featuring special guest appearances from four Cambridge museums and their collections.  Details on http://www.heffersbookshop.business.site

Have a wonderful summer!!


Riddle of the White Sphinx: A Cambridge Treasure Hunt

The summer holidays are almost upon us and while it’s wonderful to cast aside the daily routine of the school term times, many parents will be thinking about ways to get the kids out and about, engaging with each other and their surroundings rather than staring at screens.  For Cambridge parent Sorrel May, thoughts like these inspired “Riddle of the White Sphinx”, a magical book aimed at 8 – 12 year olds.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Sorrel’s idea started to take shape when she mentioned it to Mark Wells, a friend who had started writing on retirement from his business career.  An alumnus of St John’s College and a Cambridge resident, inspiration struck Mark as he wandered round the Fitzwilliam Museum listening to a commentary through headphones.  What if certain museum artefacts could only speak to children?  He went home, wrote until 3am and sent his words through to Sorrel, whose children loved it.  So Mark kept writing, illustrator Jennifer Bell created rich, evocative images that children can pore over and Fiona Boyd of The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop designed the fantasy alphabet that’s used in the coded message which appears in each illustration.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

To solve the riddle, children need to find seven of the “Hidden”, each of which is in a different Cambridge museum, to free these “Hidden” from the sinister “Keeper of Secrets”.  There’s a Museum Passport in each book … get that stamped in every Museum because the word in each stamp makes a sentence which gives a big clue as to where the ultimate Keeper’s Secret is hidden in the city.  Plus there’s that code to crack and kids can also join the AHA! Club through the website to get advice and extra clues.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Mark has worked with primary schools throughout the writing process.  Careful thought has gone into the book’s design; to help dyslexic readers, the story is printed in Baskerville font on off white paper and the print is not justified on the right hand margin, to avoid any distortion of letters.  Mark has created a literacy pack with lesson plans on reading, illustration and code breaking as well as a teacher guided tour of Cambridge museums.  Schools have been signing up for an author visit and reading plus Q & A sessions.

Mark Wells Cambridge
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Riddle of the White Sphinx launches on Saturday 20 July at Heffers Bookshop.  This family event, which starts at 2pm, will include a treasure hunt round the shop, a reading from Mark, personalised badge making, a drawing workshop and a Q & A session.  Other linked events through the summer include free weekly craft activities at Heffers with special guest appearances from four museums and their collections, a code cracking workshop at the Fitzwilliam Museum and an illustration masterclass from Jennifer Bell.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

You can buy the book in Cambridge bookshops and at the museums or order it through the website.  University of Cambridge museums are all free entry whilst the Museum of Cambridge is giving free entry to children who arrive with the book.  I reckon this is a great way to keep children absorbed for hours, working together in an analogue rather than a digital pursuit that gets them out and about in a quest to find the Keeper’s Secret, hidden somewhere in this city.  For more information, details of events and for more of Mark’s story, take a look at these websites.



Cambridge Veg Fest

Cambridge Veg Fest is happening from 13 – 21 July with free events and activities across the city, bringing the whole community together to celebrate local and seasonal vegetables.  For Cambridge Sustainable Food, this marks the finale to their year long “Veg Cities” campaign, aimed at inspiring us to eat more vegetables and to reduce our intake of meat and dairy.

Asparagus at Cambridge Market
Bundles of asparagus at Cambridge Market

You’ll find a wealth of veggie based events for all the family, including:

Be an organic farmer for a day!  Help out on a local vegetable farm, learn about growing your own veggies and take home some free produce.

The Mini Mobile Schools Vegetable Garden created by St Paul’s Primary School and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  This will be popping up at various venues around the city.  It’s a vegetable show garden that teaches about vegetable families, crop rotation, composting  and companion planting.

A Geo Cache Veggie Treasure Hunt along the Chisholm Trail.

Foodcycle Community Meals  A free three course vegetarian meal (a vegan option will also be available) created from surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Rock Allotments Open Morning and Abundance Bring and Share  Find out how to get an allotment and grow your own veg.  Bring and share produce, plants and garden tools plus find out more about volunteering in community gardens.

Veg @ The Edge: Pay as you Feel Community Meal  Enjoy a meal made from surplus vegetables at The Edge Cafe, home to Cambridge’s only Community Fridge.

Farmers’ Market and Town Meal Family Day Out  Celebrate the city’s diverse food scene at the Cambridge Museum of Technology.

Tomatoes at Cambridge Market
Tons of tomatoes at Cambridge Market

For full details of all the events at this wonderful celebration of all things veggie, take a look at the website and keep an eye on the Facebook page too.


Facebook:  @cambridgefood


Castle Hill Open Day Cambridge

Castle Hill Open Day is happening on 13 July with free events led by historians, local experts, artists, musicians and dancers.  There’s something here for all ages as you explore the art, history and heritage of one of the oldest parts of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge

A quick history lesson …. Castle Hill was originally an Iron Age hill fort and subsequently the site of the Roman town of Durolipante.  The Normans built Cambridge Castle there in 1068 but all that remains of it now is grassy Castle Mound, a rare hill in our flat East Anglian landscape!  Climb this and you’ll be rewarded with terrific views of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

The packed programme for this year’s Open Day includes

  • art workshops, talks and music at Kettle’s Yard
  • a rare chance to explore the former Nuclear Bunker behind Shire Hall
  • a tour of the New Hall Art Collection which has over 400 works of art by women artists plus you can pick herbs and make tea in Murray Edwards College Garden
  • a “Museum of Mysteries” trail and a Cabinet of Curiosities family workshop at the Museum of Cambridge
  • an insight into the area’s history through the biographies of 60 people buried at Histon Road Cemetery
  • free themed tours of the Castle Hill area
Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

Food-wise, there’ll be plenty of picnic spots.  The cafes at Kettle’s Yard, the Museum of Cambridge, St Gile’s Church (cream tea, anyone?!) and the Methodist Church will be open.  There’ll be several food trucks, a vegan pop up cafe at Murray Edwards College and an ice cream van.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

You’ll find more information and full details of the Open Day schedule on the Kettle’s Yard website.





Podcast: What’s on in Cambridge – July 2019

I’ve just published a quick podcast, talking about a few of the events you’ll find in my What’s on in July listing.  Have a listen here or search your usual podcast platform for New in Cambridge.

All the links for these events are in the listing and on the podcast but to make life easy, here they are again!

Cambridge Open Studios    http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

Sounds Green    http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

Cambridge Shakespeare Festival    http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com

It’s a busy month in the city and there’s lots going on so do take a look at the full What’s on in July listing for more.

King’s College, Cambridge