The Chesterton Festival returns later this month with a range of events happening at venues all over the Chesterton area. This community festival, now in its 10th year, runs from 23 – 30 June.
I met with Rachel Clarke, Hall Manager at St. Andrew’s Church, to find out more. The Festival is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers from the three Chesterton churches with local residents and it’s supported by a grant from Cambridge City Council. This year, they’ve put together a programme that includes jazz and choral concerts, stunning flower displays in St Andrew’s Church and free circus skills workshops with Cambridge Community Circus.
The Community Fun Day happens on Saturday 23 June from 1 – 5pm at Pye’s Recreation Ground. “It has a lovely relaxed village fete atmosphere,” Rachel tells me, “and it’s a really fun event for all ages.” There’ll be plenty of stalls to browse … think crafts and handmade goodies, local groups and charities, cakes, ice cream, face painting and more. Cambridge City Council will be running a free Athletics Area with table tennis, football and an Activity Pod alongside a Golden Mile Family Challenge walk or run. There’ll be a Children’s Fun Zone and lots going on in the Arena, with a variety of acts from samba and jazz bands to Polish dancers and performances from local schools.
If you’re artistically minded, you’ll enjoy the CreativeSpace at St Andrew’s on Wednesday 27 June. Just turn up any time between 11am and 7pm. You’ll find a selection of art materials … let yourself be inspired by the beauty around you and see what you create! This is a free event, all ages are welcome and they’ll be serving light refreshments too.
Wild West comes to Brown’s Field on Green End Road on Friday 29 June from 6 – 10pm with live music, children’s activities and performances, Rodeo bull and food stalls. There’s free entry to this event which is brought to the Festival by ChYpPs at Cambridge City Council.
If you’d like to join in and celebrate community life in Chesterton, just check online for full details of all these events and more in the Festival schedule.
Gresham House Wellness launched on 6 June with a jazz band, speeches, delicious canapes and plenty of fizz before the ribbon on the magnificent double doors was ceremonially severed and this boutique wellness retreat was officially unveiled.
It’s set in the beautiful grounds of The Gonville Hotel, opposite Parker’s Piece. The house, dating back to the late 1880’s, was bought by the hotel in 2002. Now, following months of extensive refurbishment and painstaking restoration work to original features, Gresham House offers eight luxurious floral themed bedrooms, with three serene wellness treatment rooms. The tranquillity here makes it hard to believe that you’re just a stone’s throw from the city centre.
The bedrooms are peaceful havens of comfort and luxury, decorated in restful tones with statement wallpapers, oversized floral headboards, sumptuous crushed velvet upholstery and side tables of foxed mirror. Bathrooms are roomy with double basins (the copper basins are particularly fabulous!) and a covetable selection of ESPA lotions and potions.
Guests have a choice of dining facilities at the hotel which include the relaxed Atrium Brasserie and the fine dining Cotto Restaurant. And how about seeing the sights with a chauffeur driven spin around Cambridge in the hotel’s own Classic 1958 S1 Bentley?
The three wellness treatment rooms are soothing and spacious. The extensive spa menu uses ESPA luxury all-natural skincare and beauty products. There’ll also be a mindfulness massage range, featuring breathing and visualisation techniques to reduce stress and enhance emotional and physical wellbeing. I loved my hand and arm massage at the launch event. I’d never realised how much tension I carried in those areas until they massaged it away!
This would be a great place to treat yourself to a day or a stay, either to relax on your own or with friends and family. The care and attention to detail that’s gone in to Gresham House Wellness is evident at every turn and speaks volumes about The Gonville Hotel’s commitment to going above and beyond just glamour to create a very special space, a space I can’t wait to return to.
Cambridge takes on an air of fiesta in June. Our beautiful green spaces are full of people enjoying the summer sunshine, chatting, picnicking, playing rounders, playing guitars, even practising their circus skills! Ecstatic students celebrate the end of exams at the famous May Balls, with the sound of revelry floating on the night air and amazing firework displays as darkness falls. It’s a time to enjoy life outdoors so I’ve put together some ideas to help you make the most of summer in the city.
What could be nicer on a summer’s day than messing about on the river? You’ll get a spectacular view of the colleges with their historic buildings and beautiful gardens as you glide along the Backs in a punt. Avoid the touts in the city centre and head down to Quayside at Magdalene Bridge where you’ll find several punt hire operators. Established in 1910, Scudamores are open every day from 9am to dusk. Self-hire punts take six people and cost £30 per hour. If you’d rather just sit back and relax, take a 45 minute shared guided tour at £20 per adult. Concessions and private tours are available. The punt chauffeurs are a fount of historical information and while I’ve never heard them sing “O Sole Mio”, they might if you ask nicely!
The Star & Mouse Picture Show is back for a new season, bringing weekend screenings underneath the stars at fabulous venues in and around Cambridge through the summer. This “trinket cinema” creates magical evenings of fairy lights, food and fire pits with live entertainment themed to the film. From 1-3 June, Star & Mouse lands on the riverside at The Double Tree Hilton in Granta Place, Mill Lane, showing “Inception”, “The Goonies” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. Watch the sun go down then as darkness falls, park yourself in a deckchair, put on your wireless headphones and enjoy the film. Advance booking is recommended. Tickets are £12, bookable through www.starandmouse.com
Jesus Green Lido opened in 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim. One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics. There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers, a sauna and a little café for drinks and snacks. The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if you’re not the hardy type! You’ll find the Lido opposite Chesterton Road, between Jesus Lock and Victoria Bridge. An adult non member swim costs £4.70. Membership, season tickets and concessions are available.
King’s College is famous worldwide not only for its academic excellence but also for its stunning Chapel and its choir whose Christmas Eve service, “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”, is broadcast to millions of listeners across the globe. On Sunday 24 June, join The King’s Men (the choral scholars of King’s College) for “Singing on the River”, their final concert of the season. The King’s Men will be on the Cam in punts singing madrigals, part-songs and close harmony while you’ll be relaxing with your picnic on the College’s back lawn which runs down to the river bank. Tickets are £12.50 or £5 for students (under 12’s get in free) from the King’s College Visitor Centre in King’s Parade or from email@example.com
For a cool drink on a warm day plus breath taking 360 degree views over the city, head to the Roof Terrace Bar at The Varsity Hotel in Thompson’s Lane. It’s stylish with comfortable outdoor seating, colourful planting and a dedicated table service rooftop bar offering an extensive gin menu, summer cocktails, wine, bottled beers, champagne and prosecco alongside non alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks. There’s a small barbecue and salad menu too. This is one of my favourite places to sip a gin and tonic (Cambridge Distillery gin, naturally!) while watching the sun set on a summer evening.
This post is The Cambridge Scene column which I write for Eastlife Magazine, a terrific guide to all that’s happening in the east of England. To read more of the June edition, take a look on http://www.eastlife.co.uk
Well, summer has arrived in Cambridge and here’s the what’s on listing for June. It’s a mix of all sorts of events that come to my attention and I update it through the month so do check back when you can. And if there’s an event that you’d like me to include, please get in touch through my Contact page.
4 – 16th 8am – 5pm The Yellow Brick Road. A fundraising art exhibition by established and emerging artists on the theme of ‘memory and childhood’. Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street. All proceeds to Cambridge Children’s Charity Week. Free admission. http://www.camccweek.org
Jesus Green Lido is open again for a new season. One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s been going since 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim. It’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.
I met with Charlotte Anderson-Chapman and Callum Lewis of GLL, which manages the Lido for Cambridge City Council, to get some facts and figures. The Lido, which runs alongside the River Cam, is 91 metres long, 14 metres wide and its depth varies from 1.2 – 2.5 metres. It takes 7 weeks to get the pool ready for opening day … it’s emptied and cleaned and every 4 years it has a full coat of paint with 65 tins of specialist paint rollered on by hand! It then takes 4 days and nights to pump enough water in to refill the Lido.
The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if, like me, you’re not the hardy type! There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers and while triathletes and open water swimmers train here, it’s a great place for a leisurely dip in the open air on a hot day. In fact, there’s quite a community that grows around the Lido each year. The Friends of Jesus Green Pool is an informal group of regular swimmers who help to set up in the grounds, act as a voice for pool users and arrange several social events each year.
Facilities include showers and lockers in the changing rooms, a sauna and there is full disabled access with a poolside hoist. The cafe sells hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream. Memberships and season tickets are available or you can just turn up with your bathing kit on a sunny day and pay for a single swim.
The Summer Night Market is back on Friday 18 May for a special two day event, with cinema screenings under the stars and an outdoor big screen showing the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live on Saturday 19 May.
There’s been a market in Cambridge since medieval times and a general market still runs every day in Market Square outside the Guildhall, selling street food, fruit and vegetables, books, jewellery and much more besides. Every Sunday there’s an arts, craft and local produce market showcasing original work from some of the area’s talented artists and craftspeople as well as organic produce grown by the region’s farmers. Around two hundred traders ply their wares in the Market over the course of a week and many of them will have stalls at the Summer Night Market. You’ll also find pop up bars and restaurants alongside street food vendors and local charity stallholders.
Screenings on 18 May will be the animated family film “Sing” at 6.30pm, followed by comedy “Meet the Parents” at 8.30pm. Expect a party atmosphere on 19 May, the Royal wedding day, when the market will be decked out in patriotic bunting. Feel free to bring your own flag! Seating will be provided but these events are popular so the advice is to come early to bag your spot or bring your own portable chair.
Dates for Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema through the summer are:
Friday 22 June, screening “Moana” then “Dirty Dancing”
Friday 20 July, screening “Paddington” then “Grease”
Friday 17 August, screening “Paddington 2” then “The Greatest Showman”
Dan Ritchie, who manages the Market, tells me, “The Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema are totally free for visitors and traders. It’s great to see a whole mix of people come together … families, friends, visitors and students, all enjoying a really lovely vibe.”
Everyone is invited to join the Polish community of Cambridge on 13 May at The Guildhall to celebrate their heritage and culture.
The Polish community in Cambridge numbers around 5,000 people, many of them permanent residents and some who are here to study. The Polonia Club on Chesterton Road is a meeting place, a cultural centre and has a restaurant serving traditional Polish dishes while the University offers a Polish Studies programme which runs lectures, film screenings, debates and meetings with writers and artists, events which are open to all. There’s a Polish Saturday School and a Polish Mass is held every Sunday at the Catholic church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs on Hills Road.
There’s plenty going on at this Heritage Day event which will be opened by the Polish Ambassador. You’ll be able to taste authentic Polish food such as pierogi (little dumplings of various flavours, both sweet and savoury), cakes, pastries and breads. Local Polish artists and craftspeople will be exhibiting. There’ll be choral, guitar and piano performances, dancing from the Wiwat Folk Group and a Thai boxing display while local Polish businesses will host stalls.
Polish Heritage Day is happening on Sunday 13 May from 12 noon to 5pm. Entry is free. Everyone is welcome to join the celebrations and to discover more about Polish life and culture.