Some news of good things happening in Cambridge as we emerge from lockdown …..
Cocks and Hens Cambridge Tennis has now reopened so if you’ve had enough of Zoom fitness classes, here’s a great way to exercise safely in the fresh air. Surrounded by trees and fields on Grantchester Road, this friendly club has the newest courts and clubhouse in the city but is in fact older than Wimbledon! With 8 all weather courts, 4 hard courts, 4 astroturf courts and a range of membership options, the club is open to players of all ages and standards and is warmly welcoming new members.
Foodstufff HQ, founded by friends James and Toby, has recently started operating in the city, delivering food Thursday – Sunday from indie restaurants to your door by bike (so an added bonus of zero emissions!). Order through them for all sorts of delicious goodies from the likes of Amelie Flam-kuche, Jack’s Gelato and Pint Shop. More restaurants are coming on board each week.
The Botanic Garden is reopening to the public from 16 June. Entry is by pre-booked ticket so that visitor numbers stay at a safe level. Tickets are released each Thursday at 10am for the following week. The Cafe will be open for takeaway (contactless payment only) and you’re welcome to bring a picnic. Head to the website to book tickets and for full details of the arrangements for entry/exit points, loo facilities etc.
Community Masks 4 NHS is a project set up several weeks ago by friends Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val to make bright cotton, muslin lined face coverings with all proceeds going to the NHS Charities Together. This has really taken off and I’m sewing masks, along with many other volunteers … so far, we’ve raised £22,750 and there’s been a surge in demand in the last couple of days with the latest government announcements about the wearing of face coverings in public. So if you need a face covering, you can see the sort of thing we make and place an order through the Facebook page. And if you are a competent sewist with your own sewing machine and some time to spare, please consider joining our band of volunteers as we work hard to fulfil orders that just keep coming!
I’ll be back with more news as it comes in to me. Hope everybody is keeping safe and well x
As I compile this listing, we are in that beautiful lull between Christmas and New Year when you don’t quite know what day it is and meals are a smorgasbord of leftovers from the fridge. It’ll be time to get fully functional again soon enough and to help us out of hibernation, there’s lots going on in the city as we welcome in a new decade. I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back sometimes and let me know if you’d like your event to be included. Happy New Year to all!!
4th 10am – 1pm Family Saturday: Crazy Cone Creations. Use twigs, paint and wire to make a crazy cone work of art. Drop in event, no need to book. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
4th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday: Marvellous Mythology. Fun activities and art making. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
6th 7.30pm An Orthodox Christmas Wassail with Chela and Buska, the Cambridge Georgian choirs. Jesus College Chapel. Free entry with retiring collection for Georgian charities.
11th 5 – 8pm True Tales for Change. The Cambridge Commons raises awareness of and tackles inequality in Cambridge. In collaboration with Pivotal, they have commissioned five local artists and a songwriter to create works inspired by conversations with Cambridge people who have experienced inequality. Public exhibition continues 12 and 13 January. The Escape Community Space, The Grafton Centre. FB True Tales For Change
12th 12 – 4pm Studio Sunday. Practical art making workshops, no experience necessary. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
12th 4.30 – 6pm Free Singing Workshop with Cambridge Jazz Festival Choir, a community vocal group singing jazz, soul, gospel and more. No auditions, no need to read music as songs are learned by ear. St Matthew’s Primary School, Norfolk Street, CB2 FB: Free Singing Workshop with the Cambridge Jazz Festival Choir
14th 2 – 4pm Tour for blind and partially sighted adults: Fantastic Fans. Go behind the scenes with a conservator for a rare opportunity to touch a variety of fans from the collection. Guide dogs and companions welcome. Free but booking essential by email to email@example.com Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
14th 7.30 – 8.45pm Going It Alone: the new breed of writer/independent publisher. Author Sue Grossey tells us what it’s really like to be your own researcher, writer, designer, editor, publisher and marketing department. Milton Road Library, Ascham Road. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
14th 7.30 – 9pm Mackays – the history of a local store. Talk from Duncan Mackay describing exciting projects and turbulent times for one of Cambridge’s favourite family businesses. Ross Street Community Centre, Ross Street. http://www.millroadhistorysociety.org.uk
15th 1.15 – 2pm “To eat or not to eat”: Vegetarianism and veganism in Europe, 1500 – 1800. A talk with Dr Melissa Calaresu, “Feast & Fast” exhibition co-curator. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
16th 7.30pm (doors and bar from 6.30pm) January Jazz: Sirkis/Bialas International Qt. Cambridge University Centre Wine Bar, Granta Place. http://www.cambridgejazz.org
18th 12 – 4pm The Eddington ‘Feel Good’ Festival. Free activities to help you relax and unwind including yoga, meditation, barre ballet, dance sessions, health talks plus a chill out area with free refreshments from Eddie’s Cafe. Free event, booking essential. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington http://www.eddington-cambridge.co.uk
18th 1 – 2pm British Sign Language exhibition and library tour. Join one of the exhibition curators for a guided tour of The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge exhibition, followed by an introductory tour of the wider University Library. BSL interpretation provided by the Cambridge Deaf Association. Free, suitable for all ages, under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult. Booking required by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Cambridge University Library, West Road
18th 2 – 5.30pm Literature Cambridge Study Day on Toni Morrison’s great novel “Beloved” (1987), a powerful account of the traumatic effects of slavery. Two lectures and a round-table seminar. Stapleford Granary, CB22 http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk
18th 2pm and 4pm My Musical Magical Hat. Family concert for age 5+. How do you choose which musical instrument to play? Do you choose it or does it choose you? Find out as Tim, Ruth and the Cambridge Phil reach into the world of the magical musical hat. Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com
19th 1 – 4pm Reflections on Homelands/Alternative Symposium. Reflect on the themes and ideas of Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. An informal afternoon with introductions to the exhibition and displays, a practical art workshop which will explore the nature of home and displacement plus a conversation to share personal stories and experiences. Free, all ages. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
21st 2 – 4pm Tour for blind and partially sighted adults: Fantastic Fans. Go behind the scenes with a conservator for a rare opportunity to touch a variety of fans from the collection. Guide dogs and companions welcome. Free but booking essential by email to email@example.com Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
25th 10.30am – 4pm Kettle’s Yard Welcome Day. Discover your local gallery with a day of mini programme highlights: tours, talks and workshops for those new to Kettle’s Yard. Also with British Sign Language and audio described introductions. Free, all ages, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
25th 11am Chinese New Year Celebration. Arts and craft workshops, zodiac fortune telling, food tasting, lion dance at 12pm and more. Lion Yard Shopping Centre with Cambridge Chinese Cultural School.
25th 11am – 5pm Worth the Weight Vintage Kilo Sale. Men’s and women’s vintage clothing from the 60’s to the 90’s. £15 per kilo. St. Paul’s, Hills Road, CB2 FB: Worth The Weight Vintage Kilo Sale Cambridge
25th 2 – 6pm Board Games Afternoon. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Cambridge Central Library. £2 per ticket.
26th 12 – 4pm Studio Sunday. Practical art making workshops, no experience necessary. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
26th 7.30pm Sinfonia of Cambridge with St John’s College School Chamber Choirs. Respighi, Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
29th 7.15pm True Stories Told Live. Local storytellers and a musical turn. NCI Club, Holland Street, CB4 FB: True Stories Told Live Cambridge
30th 5 – 9pm LATE: Food, Faith and Wellbeing. Panel discussion on the role of fasting in religion, talk from Wintercomfort on food and homelessness, poetry reading, 30 minute meditation session and a cacao ceremony. The Cafe Health and Wellbeing menu includes non-alcoholic drinks and vegan food. Free, booking required. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
30th 5.30 – 7pm As is your due: 50th anniversary of women’s admission to the University. Talk and film recording the 50th anniversary celebration of women’s admission to the University of Cambridge, when in 1998 more than 800 women who matriculated before 1948 returned to Senate House to collect their degrees retrospectively. Documentary followed by a Q&A with director, Lucy Thane. Booking essential. Cambridge University Library, West Road http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk
30th 7.30pm (doors and bar from 6.30pm). January Jazz: Clovis Nicolas/Steve Fishwick Qt. Cambridge University Centre Wine Bar, Granta Place. http://www.cambridgejazz.org
31st 7.30 – 9pm Zoology Late: Acoustic Spaces/Threatened Places. A programme of music with University of Cambridge New Music Group. Booked required. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk
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!
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
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 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 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
It may be midwinter out there but there’s still plenty happening in the city! I’ll add to this listing as the month unfurls so please do get in touch if you know of an event that could be included.
2nd 10am – 1pm Family Saturday – Prehistoric Plants. Find out about the plants that were around at the time of the dinosaurs and make your own plant fossil to take home. Botanic Garden. Free event. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk Read more about the Botanic Garden here
2nd 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Art activities on the theme of Chinese New Year, in collaboration with Cambridge China Centre. Fitzwilliam Museum. Free event. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
3rd 7.30pm “Romantic Russia” concert. Sampson Orchestra. Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gliere. West Road Concert Hall. Tickets bought from Cam Sight will be donated to the charity. http://www.camsight.org.uk Read more about Cam Sight here
9th 2 – 5.30pm An Introduction to Nature Poetry. Study day with Cambridge scholars Paul Chirico and Oliver Goldstein. How does 19th century poetry speak to us now, in a time of climate change? Stapleford Granary CB22. http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/nature/ Read more about Literature Cambridge here
9 – 10th 11am – 4pm Rowan “Cambridge Seen” Art Exhibition and sale. Works created by local artists, on sale at £45 each, raising funds to help Rowan’s student artists lead a more fulfilled life. Long Road Sixth Form College, CB2 http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk Read more about Rowan here
11 – 17th 10.30am – 6pm “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”, a pop-up exhibition by photographer, Sara Rawlinson. Heong Gallery, Downing College. http://www.sararawlinson.com Read more about Sara and her work here and here
13th 7.30pm Spanglish Speed Dating – Valentine Special. The Emperor Tapas pub, Hills Road. Facebook: @SpanishCentreUK
15 – 17th Ahbab Festival, celebrating Middle Eastern and North African culture in music, film and food. Cambridge Junction. http://www.junction.co.uk
15 – 16th Sat noon – 6pm/Sun 10am – 5pm Cambridge Book Fair. 85 booksellers and refreshment by Indigo Cafe. The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.pbfa.org
16th 11am – 5pm Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Festival, “Affecting Every Existence”. Fisher’s Building, St John’s College. Facebook: @CambridgeClimateForum
16th 8pm Stravinsky “The Rite of Spring” and Rachmaninov “Symphonic Dances”. Cambridge University Orchestra. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
20th 4.30 – 7.30pm Twilight at the Museums. Explore 14 local museums and collections after dark. Free, drop in event with activities and themed trails across the venues. http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk
21st 6.30 – 8.30pm Cam Late: Botanic Nights. An evening in the Glasshouse Range with craft beer and atmospheric light displays. Over 18’s only. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk Read more about the Botanic Garden here
Now I’ll admit that at this time of year, I have an overwhelming urge to hibernate until Spring arrives. But one bright, sunshiney, blue sky day last week, conscious of my dwindling Vitamin D levels and general seasonal pallor, I wrapped up warm and headed to the Botanic Garden which has to be my favourite green space in the city. Home to one of the region’s largest tree collections, it’s a magical place in every season, even – and maybe especially – in Winter.
Snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers and it always makes me smile when I come across their cheerful white blooms in midwinter. You’ll find around 30 different varieties of snowdrop dotted through the Garden and there’s a map to show you the snowdrop “hot spots”. These little white flowers look so delicate and yet they are so strong; they have anti-freeze proteins to inhibit ice crystals forming and causing damage to the plant plus they have seriously hard leaf tips which help them to break through frozen soil. This drift of snowdrops under Isaac Newton’s apple tree is just beautiful and reminds me that Spring must surely be around the corner.
The Winter Garden is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and is stunning with textures of coloured stems, bark and foliage alongside winter flowers and scented blossom, all highlighted in the brilliant sunshine. I find wandering through this space is restorative in itself but to get to grips with more detail of the planting, I’ll sign up for a free 60 minute tour of the Winter Garden, which happens at 2.30pm every Sunday in January and February.
The Botanic Garden runs a terrific range of events for all ages year round. Children will love the Crazy Cone Caper, a self guided family trail where they become a secret agent and track down six trees in the Garden to solve a mystery, collecting a prize once they’ve successfully concluded their investigation. Crazy Cone Caper has been created by the Garden’s Learning Team and runs until 1 April.
For adults, Cam Late in the Glasshouse Range on 21 February offers craft beer, mulled wine and atmospheric light displays in these amazing glasshouses, where you’ll find plants ranging from tiny alpines to spiny cacti to exotic tropicals. Day or night, the glasshouses are spectacular whatever the time of year. And they’re also nice and warm if you get chilly outside on a cold day!
With my appetite sharpened by the fresh air, I popped in to the light, airy Garden Cafe for lunch. Its menu of home made goodies includes warming soup, delicious cakes and children’s meals. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are always available. High chairs, baby changing facilities and a selection of children’s books to borrow make this this a truly family friendly spot.
For more information on Cambridge University Botanic Garden including their 2019 programme of courses and workshops as well as details of special events planned for the February half term break, take a look at the website.
Well, a new year has dawned and at the time of writing, things are pretty quiet in the city as life slowly resumes after the festive break. Here’s the listing for January and I’ll add to it as I discover more events – please do get in touch if you are involved in something that could be included.
5th 10am – 1pm Family Saturday – Crazy Cone Creations. Use twigs, paint and wire to make crazy cone works of art. Botanic Garden. Free event. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
5th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Fun activities and art making for all the family on the theme “Start with Art”. Fitzwilliam Museum. Free, drop in. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
14th 7.45pm Light to the World – Experiences of a Veterinary Opthalmologist. Speaker: Dr David Williams, Dept of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge. Part of the monthly Science meets Faith series. Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces.
19th 2pm The Big Sing 2019. Faure Requiem. Join The New Cambridge Singers and hundreds of other singers. Rehearsal 2 – 4.30pm, performance 6pm. Great St Mary’s Church. http://www.newcambridgesingers.org.uk
19th 8pm War Requiem, Britten. Choirs of Clare, Jesus, Selwyn and Trinity Colleges with choristers of Jesus and St Catherine’s College choirs and Cambridge University Chamber Choir. King’s College Chapel. Tickets from shop.kings.cam.ac.uk or on the door.
26th 2pm WONDER New You sober social. Yoga and Gong Bath, alcohol free drinks, vegan food, comedy and music. Cambridge University Centre, Granta Place. http://www.wonderfestival.co.uk Read more about WONDER here
26th 2pm and 4pm The Mouse Who Jumped. A musical adventure for adults and children. Family concert suitable for age 5+. Come dressed as a Carnival Creature! Cambridge Philharmonic. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com
27th 10.30am – 4pm Cambridge Vegan Market. Vegan food and drinks, ethical clothing and charities plus ethically produced cosmetics. The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.veganmarkets.co.uk/cambridge Read more about last year’s Vegan Market here
30th 6 – 9pm Zoology Late: Winter Escape! Arts and crafts, the science of animal migration and cocktails. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. Age 18+. Free, no need to book. http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk/events
The University of Cambridge opens its doors from 15 – 28 October for the 11th annual Festival ofIdeas which this year explores the theme of “extremes”. Celebrating the arts, humanities and social sciences, a packed programme of over 200 events includes talks, exhibitions, films, debates and performances held in galleries, museums and lecture theatres across the city. There’s something here for everyone, whether your interest lies in politics, history, the arts, literature or music or whether you just want to open your mind to new ideas and to question the status quo. Most events are free, some need to be booked in advance which you can do through the Festival website.
In this season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, don’t miss Apple Day at the stunning forty acre Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 21 October. It’s a wonderful celebration of all things appley with tastings, advice on cultivation, children’s activities, free guided garden tours and a marquee full of locally produced edibles. Come hungry as you’ll find a wide choice of refreshments from a variety of food trucks and the Garden Café. And if you have a mystery apple tree in your garden, you need the apple identification service. Just bring along a couple of apples with a leaf and stalk attached and who knows, you may bring a lost heritage variety to light!
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.
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.
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.
“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??!!