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

twilight_17_preview
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!!

 

 

 

 

What’s on in Cambridge – February

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.

Snowdrops at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Snowdrops at the Botanic Garden

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

2nd    7.30pm  Impromptu Shakespeare.  A semi-regular meet up for Shakespeare lovers to explore their theatrical side.  Salisbury Arms, Tenison Road.  http://www.facebook.com/groups/impromptushakespeare or email shakespearereadthrough@gmail.com  Read more about this Shakespeare group here

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

4th    7pm  Curry Night, raising money for Cam Sight.  Prana, Mill Road  http://www.camsight.org.uk  Read more about Cam Sight here

7 – 9th    7.45pm  The Mikado.  Cambridge University G & S Society.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

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

13th    7.30pm  An Evening with Preti Taneja, author of “We That Are Young”, a dazzling re-writing of King Lear, set in modern India.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/taneja/   Read more about Literature Cambridge here

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

26th    7.30pm  Academy of Ancient Music, Lucie Horsch with Richard Egarr.  Vivaldi and Bach.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets

Glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Glasshouse at the Botanic Garden

 

A Winter Day at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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.

Snowdrops at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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.

Winter Garden at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Crazy Cone Caper at Cambridge University Botanic GardenThe 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!

Glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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.

Winter Garden at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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.

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

 

What’s on in Cambridge – January

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.

Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey
Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey

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

6th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

7th    7.30pm  A Georgian Christmas Wassail with Chela and Buska, the Cambridge Georgian choirs.  Jesus College Chapel.  Free entry.  Reserve seats at chelatickets@gmail.com

8th    Whistler & Nature exhibition opens, running until 17th March.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  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.

16 – 19th    My Fair Lady.  Cambridge Operatic Society.  Cambridge Arts Theatre.  http://www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

17th   8pm  Tori Freestone Trio.  Cambridge Modern Jazz.  Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane.  http://www.cambridgejazz.org

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    7.30pm  Sinfonia Cambridge.  Tchaikovsky, Humperdinck, Brahms.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

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.

20th    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Kettle’s Yard.  Free, drop in.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk  Read more about Kettle’s Yard here

21 – 27th    10am – 5pm  Cambridge Winter Exhibition.  Islamic art, culture, heritage and civilisation.  Cambridge Library, 3rd Floor, Lion Yard.

24th    7.30pm  Poetry at the Pub.  Six published and prize winning local poets read their work, open mic floor spots and books for sale.  The Blue Moon pub, Norfolk Street, CB1.  http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk

24th    7.30pm  An Evening with Sophie Hannah, presented by Literature Cambridge.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.   www.staplefordgranary.org.uk  Read more about Literature Cambridge here

25th    8pm  Burns Night Ceilidh in aid of Friends of Freetown.  Emmanuel URC Church, CB2.  Tickets on the door or from http://www.friendsoffreetown.org.uk/burnsnight

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

27th    3 – 4.30pm  Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Ceremony Cambridge 2019, “Torn from Home”.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/events

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

Paperwhites in my kitchen
Paperwhites in my kitchen

 

Coming up in Cambridge …..

 

Cambridge Festival of Ideas logo 2018

The University of Cambridge opens its doors from 15 – 28 October for the 11th annual Festival of Ideas 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.

www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk

 

Apples in a box
Image credit:  Will Greenfield

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!

www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

People apple tasting
Image credit: Will Greenfield
Autumn Botanic Garden
Image credit: Will Greenfield

This post is part of my October “New in Cambridge” column in Velvet magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

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.

twilightwebbanner
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.

twilight_17_preview
Image credit: Martin Bond
twilight_67_preview
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.

Alice-the-Camera-Cambridge-Museums-Twilight-149_preview
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