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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love summertime in Cambridge. The May Balls and graduation ceremonies are done now and as the students leave for the summer, the rhythm of the city seems to change. There’s plenty going on, as you will see from this listing which I’ll update as the month unfurls.
1 – 14th Strawberries and Screen. Live screening of BBC coverage from Wimbledon on a giant LED screen between One The Square and The Tamburlaine Hotel. 100 chairs available. Bring your own picnic or buy from food vans (mainly available at lunchtimes). http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/lovecambridge
3rd 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Afro Tema, a danceable mix of Senegalese salsa, furious mbalax, afro-rock and some serious roots reggae style music. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
6 – 7th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
6th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Activities and art-making on the theme of “caring for our museum”. Free, drop in event. Fitzwilliam Museum. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
6th 7.30pm Charity Concert supporting Cambridge Summit on Homelessness. Mawson Road Community Orchestra with classical pieces, a cappella from “Sound Scribblers” and traditional music from Greece, Russia, Romania, Macedonia, Scotland and Ireland plus an Auction of Promises. Tickets on the door. St Paul’s Church, Hills Road. http://www.mrco-cambridge.org.uk
8th onwards Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. Productions performed in College gardens, in full period costume and with live Elizabethan music. http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com Read more about last year’s Cambridge Shakespeare Festival here
10th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Martin Kemp’s Organised Chaos. Swing and jazz standards from 1930s to present. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
13 – 14th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
13 – 21st Cambridge Veg Fest. A city-wide celebration of local and seasonal vegetables, bringing people together to grow, cook, eat and enjoy delicious veg. http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org
13 – 27th Cambridge Summer Music Festival. Live classical music, focusing this year on music by women composers and music by – and inspired by – J S Bach. www.cambridgesummermusic.com
13th 4.30pm (child friendly) and 7.30pm Music for a summer’s evening. Fairhaven Singers. Strawberries and sparkling wine (included in ticket price) will be served on the banks of the Cam during the interval of the evening performance. Queens’ College Chapel. http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk
14th 11am and 2pm Science on Sundays: Stop and smell the … pollination! Free, informal 30 minute drop in plant science talk. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
15 – 17th 10am – 5pm Visitor Centre Open Days and Launch of Museum on a Bike. David Parr House, 184 Gwydir Street. Facebook: @davidparrhouse Read more about David Parr House here
17th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Truly Medley Deeply. A hybrid of live band, DJ and jukebox producing a huge sound from Motown classics to stadium rock. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
20 – 21st 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
21st 9am – 2pm Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale. Gwydir Street Car Park.
24th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Noga Ritter. Singer-songwriter and band performing Afro grooves and jazz. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
27 – 28th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
31st 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Singer-pianist Ruth Applin with the Josh Kemp Quartet playing classic jazz, blues and bossa nova. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
Well, Summer has arrived here in Cambridge and there’s loads happening in June …. outdoor celebrations as well as indoor activities, many of them free, for those rainy days (hopefully there won’t be too many of those!), lots of music, something for foodies and scientists, in fact something for everybody. I’ll update this listing as the month unfolds so please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event that I can list here.
1st 10am – 1pm Family Saturdays – Messy Mud. Get messy with mud, make mud pies and have a go at mud painting. Free event. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
8 – 9th 11am – 5pm Open Garden at 49 New Square, CB1. Free entry and refreshments. All proceeds to Red Balloon Learner Centres.
8th 10.30am – 1.30pm Flower Crown Workshop. Make your own flower crown. Includes refreshments, an out-of-hours visit to the House and all materials. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
18th 7.30pm – 10pm Music: Na-Mara. Folk duo Na-Mara tell the story of the “Basque Children” through words and music. Mill Road History Society. Old School Hall, St Barnabas Church, Mill Road. http://www.cambridgefolkclub.co.uk
19th 7.30pm True Stories Told Live. NCI Club, Holland Street. FB: @cambridgetruestories Read more about True Stories Told Live here
20 – 23rd Wimpole History Festival. A weekend of history and heritage for the whole family with talks, debates, book signings, performances, historical walking tours, workshops, activities and events. Wimpole Estate. http://www.wimpolehistoryfestival.com
23rd 6 – 7pm In Good Company. Music for a summer evening, with traditional and classical pieces. The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Sidney Sussex College Chapel. All proceeds support the work of Cambridge City Foodbank. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk Read more about Cambridge City Foodbank here
It’s set to be another busy month here in Cambridge with so much going on from steampunk to poetry, comedy to ceilidh and everything in between! Read on for more and please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event I could add in to the listing. 1st … Continue reading “What’s on in Cambridge – May”
It’s set to be another busy month here in Cambridge with so much going on from steampunk to poetry, comedy to ceilidh and everything in between! Read on for more and please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event I could add in to the listing.
1st 4 – 8pm Student Discount Event, 25% off at Tindalls Art and Graphics, King Street
2nd 8pm St Matthew Passion, J S Bach. Singers from Trinity, St. John’s and King’s. Cambridge University Bach Ensemble. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door.
5th 10.30am – 4pm Cambridge Vegan Market. Food stalls, lifestyle brands, cosmetics, ethical clothing, charities and more. Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.veganmarkets.co.uk/cambridge Read more about Cambridge Vegan Market here
5th 10.30am – 11pm Steampunk in Cambridge V11: May the 5th be with you! The seventh annual Steampunk in Cambridge event. Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane. http://www.museumoftechnology.com
6th 9am meet for 10am departure. The Reach Ride, a bike ride to the 800 year old Reach Fair. Free. Organised by Camcycle. Assemble in front of the Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.camcycle.org.uk/reachride
7th 8pm Rhapsody in Blue. Cambridge University Wind Orchestra and Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
8th 3 – 8pm Spring Student Night, Grand Arcade. Discounts, DJ, freebies, drinks. www. grandarcade.co.uk
11th 10.30am – 4pm Eat Cambridge. Annual food and drink festival celebrating Cambridgeshire’s independent food scene. Followed by two weeks of fringe events. Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.eat-cambridge.co.uk
11th 11am – 5pm Open Gardens, Christ’s Pieces Residents’ Association. 8 gardens open in Parker Street, Victoria Street, Clarendon Street, Orchard Street and New Square. In aid of Jimmy’s Homeless Project East Road and the Cambridge Children’s Charity. £10 ticket on the day for all gardens (children are free) from the Unitarian Church, Emmanuel Road. Tea provided.
11th 4pm A Spring Concert with Rolling Thunder. CSD Brass. Free, retiring collection. St Luke’s Church, Victoria Road
11th 7.30pm Symphony 3, Mahler. City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, St Catherine’s College Girls’ Choir and St John’s College School Senior House Chamber Choir. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
15th 6 – 9pm Museum at Night. Explore the Museum of Zoology after hours and experience the natural world after dark. Age 18+ Free, no need to book. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk
16th David Parr House reopens. A terraced house and arts and craft movement treasure which was home to Victorian decorative artist David Parr. 186 Gwydir Street, CB1. http://www.davidparrhouse.org Read more about David Parr House here
16th 7.30pm Poetry at the Pub. Readings from two poets, open mic floor spots and books for sale. Blue Moon, Norfolk Street. http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk Read more about Poetry at the Pub here
17th 2pm and 4pm Puss In Boots. A ballet for children. 2pm is a Relaxed Performance. Northern Ballet. Cambridge Corn Exchange. http://www.cornex.co.uk
17th 6 – 9pm Drink and Draw. After hours sketching in the Cast Gallery with a glass of wine. Adults only, free, drop in. Materials provided, all abilities welcome. Museum of Classical Archeology, Sidgwick Avenue, CB3. http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/drink-and-draw
18th 7.30pm Mass in B Minor, J S Bach. Cambridge Chorale and Academy of Ancient Music with soloists from Amici Voices. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door or from http://www.cambridgechorale.org.uk
18th 7.30pm From London to Venice: Fusing Poetry and Music. Monteverdi, Grandi, Strozzi, Caccini, Ferrari and Merula. Clare Hall, Herschel Road. Tickets from Porters’ Lodge or firstname.lastname@example.org
19th 5.30pm and 7.30pm The Pelicantata, narrated by Sir Tony Robinson. Come dressed as your favourite Roald Dahl character! Cambridge Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. Choirs from Chesterton Community College and Sawston Village College. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com
19th 6pm The Time of Gifts. Spring themed Medieval and Renaissance songs, traditional Spanish pieces with classical and contemporary works. The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk
20 – 25th Cambridge Beer Festival. Cider, perry, mead and English wine also available at this CAMRA festival. Opening times vary. Jesus Green. http://www.cambridgebeerfestival.com Read more about Cambridge Beer Festival here
Spring has sprung and the sun is shining! There’s plenty happening in the city and I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back when you can. Please get in touch if you know of an event that I could add in here!
5th 7.30pm Dining in the Dark. Identify key ingredients of your starter and dessert while blindfolded. Fundraiser for Cam Sight. The Red Lion, Hinxton. http://www.camsight.org.uk Read more about Cam Sight here
6th 10am – 1pm Family Saturday – Nature Weaving. Have fun, play and weave amazing creations using natural material from the Garden. Free event. Cambridge University Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
6th 12 noon – 3pm The Leper Chapel Opening. A chance to see inside one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge. The Chapel is not usually open to the public. Free entry, donations appreciated. Cambridge Past, Present and Future. The Leper Chapel, off Newmarket Road. FB: @CambridgePFF
6th 7.30pm Movie Music Spectacular. Cambridge Wind Band. West Road Concert Hall. In support of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. http://www.adcticketing.com
6 – 22nd April Easter Trail. Pick up a free trail from the Ticket Office, go on a springtime adventure and collect an Easter prize at the end. Drop in, self led trail. Cambridge University Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
8th 7.30 – 10pm Louise Jordan – The Hard Way. One woman performance of live music and theatre charting the rise of a working class suffragette. St Barnabas Centre, Mill Road. http://www.cambridgefolkclub.co.uk
9th 2 – 4pm Printing Workshop for 8 – 12 year olds. Design your own T shirt to take home with you. Booking required. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
10th 7 – 8.30pm Personal medicines: all in your genes? Talk from Cafe Sci Cambridge. Espresso Library, East Road. FB @cafescicambridge
11th 1 – 3pm What can art do? Explore environmental activism for 13 – 19 year olds. Free, booking required. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
12th 10am – 1pm Cambridge Jobs Fair. Speak with potential employers face to face (don’t forget to bring your CV!). The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.thejobfairs.co.uk
13th 1.30 – 4pm Toy Swap. Bring toys to swap. Also a pilot books (fiction/children) and clothes (women/children) swap plus Full Circle, Cambridge’s own zero waste shop, will be there. Free event. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington Avenue, CB3 1AA http://www.atoyslifeandbeyond Read more about Full Circle Shop here
13th 5pm “Waste Not, Want Not: How to live zero waste and plastic-free”. Talk by Full Circle Shop. Free entry, donations welcome. Stir Cafe, Chesterton Road. FB @FullCircleShopUK Read more about Full Circle Shop here
14th 12 – 4pm Studio Sunday. Art making workshops for families with children of all ages. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
19 – 20th 10am – 5pm Botanical Days. A botanical themed event and pop up shop from Cultivate Gardens with refreshments by Caffiend. Hope Street Yard, off Mill Road. http://www.cultivategardens.co.uk
19 – 22nd 12 – 4pm Action Drawing. Drawing activities inspired by the Oscar Murillo Violent Amnesia exhibition. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
28th 2 – 3.30pm Writers in Conversation. Jill Dawson in conversation with Dame Gillian Beer. Stapleford Granary, CB22. Literature Cambridge. http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk Read more about Literature Cambridge here
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