Half term break in Cambridge … some ideas!

As I write this post, Spring is very definitely in the air, the sun is shining in a blue sky and we hope for beautiful weather next week for the half term break.  I’ve put together a few details of events in the city, many of which are free, both indoors and outdoors so you’re covered whatever the weather!

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

One of my favourite green spaces in the city is the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and there’s lots to do here for all ages.  Spring into Yoga on 19 February offers springtime yoga sequences for 8 – 12 year olds to get bodies moving and minds focused and calm.  The Red Alert Twilight Event on 20 February is a free, drop in session where you’ll see some of the world’s most endangered plants and meet the people helping these plants to survive.  Flowers, Friendship and Wild Wonders on 22 February tells the story of a friendship – expect dancing, drama and lots of fun for 5 – 7 year olds.  And if you’re free ranging around the Botanic Garden at any time, children will love the Crazy Cone Caper, a self guided family trail.  You’ll find details of all these events on http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

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Image Credit: Martin Bond

If you’ve seen the movie “Night at the Museum” and wondered how it feels to wander round a museum after hours, now’s your chance to find out at Cambridge University’s “Twilight at the Museums” event.  Explore fourteen local museums and collections after dark on 20 February from 4.30 – 7.30pm and experience these spaces and collections in a different way.  This is a free, drop in event for families with activities and themed trails across the venues, most of which are just a short walk apart.  So wrap up warm and bring a torch to help you explore those darker corners.  Visit www.museums.cam.ac.uk for full details.

Kettle's Yard Studio Sunday
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

Kettle’s Yard On Castle Hill has plenty lined up for the break, starting with Studio Sunday, a free, drop in artist-led workshop for families on 17 February.  On 19 February, they are running a Collage Workshop for 8 – 12 year olds and a free Portfolio Afternoon for those aged 13+ who’d like to work with a professional artist to develop their drawing practice and their portfolio.  From 21 – 24 February there’ll be free drop in drawing activities each afternoon, suitable for all ages and abilities, in the Clore Learning Studio.  Or come and explore spirals, webs and weaving at the free, drop in Dream Weaver Community Day on 23 February.  Further details of all these and booking, where booking is necessary, on http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

Heffers Bookshop Cambridge

Heffers Booksellers are a Cambridge institution – they’ve been selling books in the city for over 140 years.  Children’s at Heffers is offering a number of free events over half term so you can meet authors, join in fun activities and enjoy Story Time.  See the photo for details and book your place via http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/heffersbookshop

Have a great half term break!!

 

 

 

 

Bridge the Gap Cambridge

Bridge the Gap is a circular walk through the beautiful gardens of six Cambridge colleges.  Now in its 17th year and happening on Sunday 9 September, this event is a great day out for families, friends and groups of work colleagues, allowing entry to the grounds of these historic colleges, some of which are not normally open to the public, whilst raising money to support the valuable work of two local charities, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Romsey Mill.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Sir Cam

I met with Georgina Forbes, Fundraiser for Romsey Mill, to find out more.  The action starts and finishes on Parker’s Piece where you can register from 8.30am, have a coffee and some breakfast from one of the food trucks as well as collect a backpack filled with water, fruit and goodies provided by the event’s sponsors.  You’ll also be given a brochure with a route map and information before heading out (there are three different waves of departures through the morning).

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

The route is approximately 5 miles long and takes in Emmanuel, Christ’s, Sidney Sussex and Trinity colleges before heading along the Backs to St Catherine’s and Pembroke colleges and then on to the Museum of Zoology which is celebrating its reopening.

There will be marshals to show you the way, Blue Badge guides in the colleges to answer your questions and the route is wheelchair and pushchair enabled.  You’ll find music along the way (think brass, folk and jazz bands) and refreshments at St Catherine’s College.  Back on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge 105 will be broadcasting from a 50 foot stage, there’ll be music courtesy of Cambridge City Brass and you might even want to join in the dancing with Cambridge Lindyhop.  You’ll also find a soft play area for kids and various competitions happening plus that all important tea tent offering home made cake.

This year’s fundraising goal is £50,000.  Thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors, all overheads are covered so 100% of your entry fee is shared equally between the two Cambridgeshire charities.  Arthur Rank Hospice supports people who are living with a life-limiting illness and those who need end-of-life care.  Romsey Mill is a Christian charity creating opportunities with young people, children and families, many of whom are facing significant challenges in their lives.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

Around 130 volunteers make this event happen with many different roles available.  If you’d like to join them, contact Tasha.Hills@arhc.org.uk for route volunteering and georgina.forbes@romseymill.org for volunteering on Parker’s Piece.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

To take part in Bridge the Gap, you simply pre-register on the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity website (see the link below) or you can turn up at Parker’s Piece and pay on the morning.  Group tickets are available at discounted rates and children go free when accompanied by a paying adult.

http://www.arhc.org.uk/bridge-the-gap.asp

http://www.romseymill.org

Parker’s Piece, Cambridge CB1 1NA

 

Riverside Tea Garden at Cambridge Museum of Technology

There’s a massive chimney that dominates the skyline down at Riverside.  It’s in amongst a cluster of Victorian buildings that make up the Museum of Technology and I’ve walked past it dozens of times but never really knew what it was all about.  When I heard that there’s going to be a pop up Riverside Tea Garden there this summer, I decided to find out more and met with Assistant Curator, Morgan Bell.

Cambridge Museum of Technology

Built in 1894, the 53 metre tall chimney is part of a Victorian sewage pumping station which is now the Museum.  Here they burned the city’s household rubbish to create steam to fuel engines that pumped the city’s sewage out to a treatment plant in Milton.  Prior to this, sewage had discharged into the River Cam, causing cholera outbreaks so this wonderful Victorian engineering transformed public health in Cambridge.  The pumping station was decommissioned in 1968, at which point a group of local campaigners saved it from demolition and turned the buildings into a museum.

Hathorn Davey pumping machine Cambridge

Owned independently and funded by admission fees and donations, the Museum houses the last Hathorn Davey pumping engines in the world that still work.  It has also built up a collection of telecoms equipment, televisions and radios from Pye and historic scientific instruments from Cambridge Instrument Company.

Hathorn Davey pumping machine Cambridge

The Museum is currently closed as there’s a major redevelopment under way, thanks to money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Restoration of the old buildings is complicated and painstaking as they are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and permission is needed even to paint in there!  There are plans for a new building to house exhibition and learning space plus a cafe building with views over the river.  The boiler is being repaired so it can once again supply steam to run the pumping engines and they’re hoping to be open by mid 2019.

Boiler at Cambridge Museum of Technology

This redevelopment is about preserving heritage of course but it’s also about inspiring a generation of future engineers and innovators.  Jinx St. Leger, the Education Officer, tells me about the outreach programme with primary and secondary schools, encouraging students to look at STEM subjects in a new light.  “It’s teaching engineering by stealth,” she smiles.  “We make stomp rockets, create origami, make print blocks and masks and use a morse code machine to send and decode messages.”  Jinx will be running four craft based and four engineering based events over the summer at the Museum of Cambridge (check out http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk/events for more details).

Cambridge Museum of Technology

Now back to the tea and cake … on Sunday afternoons between 15 July and 5 August, you’ll be able to enjoy drinks and cream teas at the Riverside Tea Garden in idyllic surroundings on the Museum’s lawn overlooking the river.  There’ll be stalls selling treasures, crafts, books, clothes, baked goods and produce.  And I’ve booked my ticket for The Floating Museum, a boat trip happening on various dates through the summer, during which you’ll discover more about the city’s industrial heritage along the river.  All profits from these ventures go back to the Museum to help fund the restoration.  Full details, plus a booking facility for The Floating Museum, are on the website.

http://www.museumoftechnology.com

The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge CB5 8LD

Twilight at the Museums

Have you seen that movie “Night at the Museum”?  And wondered how it feels to wander round a museum after hours?  Well, wonder no more because now’s your chance to find out as Cambridge University Museums’ “Twilight at the Museums” event invites you to explore fourteen local museums and collections after dark, from 4.30 – 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 February.

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Image credit: Alice the Camera/ University of Cambridge Museums

There’s a wealth of events to enjoy.  At the Polar Museum, you can meet some of the characters that have made polar history.  Or why not become a geological pioneer at the University Library, discovering rocks, fossils and extraordinary maps at the “Landscapes Below” exhibition.  Join the Eclipse Expedition at the Whipple Museum and follow in the footsteps of historic explorers on a scientific trail as you gather vital equipment and travel across distant lands to observe a rare solar eclipse.

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Image credit: Martin Bond
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Image credit:  Martin Bond

At the Fitzwilliam Museum, a stunning building that is home to a world-class collection of works of art and antiquities, there’ll be a Kaleidoscope of Colour.  See if you can touch, hear or taste colour and find out if it can change the way you see things.  Enjoy special demonstrations, musical performances, interactive play and dazzling projections as you experience the collection through a range of colour.  Head to Kettle’s Yard to pick up your Twilight Trail and discover the newly opened gallery spaces.  Visit the glasshouses at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden to hunt for orchids and to find out more about these amazing plants.  Full details of these and the many events at other venues are on the Cambridge University Museums’ website – details at the end of this post.

Richard White, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, tells me that the museums will all be colourful this year, with special lighting so that you can explore their collections in a different way.  It’s also a great opportunity to discover a museum that maybe you’ve been meaning to visit for ages as well as to learn some amazing facts.

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Image credit:  Alice the Camera

“Twilight at the Museums” is a free family event and children of all ages are welcome.  You won’t go hungry either as there’ll be pop up food stands at the Downing Site (outside the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and the cafes at the Botanic Garden, the Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettles Yard will be open too.  Most of the venues are just a short walk apart so wrap up warm and bring a torch to help you explore those darker corners ….. who knows what you’ll find amongst the shadows??!!

http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/twilight

This event is being held at multiple locations around the city