OK so when I last posted a week ago, none of us could have imagined the speed with which life has changed. It’s been extraordinary and discombobulating. But it’s also amazing how quickly people adapt themselves and their businesses at such a stressful time. Here’s a selection of activities and services in the city that might be of help/interest in these difficult days.
Stir Bakery has moved to a delivery only model. They’ll be delivering every day to CB1, CB2, CB3, CB4, Impington, Histon, Girton, Cottenham and Milton. Order through their website for delivery 3 days later.
Cambridge Fruit Company, which normally supplies fruit boxes to local businesses, has also changed its business model overnight and is now delivering directly to your door. An Essentials Box at £15 suits 2 people. I’ve been ordering the Family Box at £30, which contains a really good variety of seasonal veg, salads and fruit, all super fresh and top quality. Order through their website.
The Botanic Garden has sadly had to close its gates but the team there is posting a virtual walkabout each week on the website so we can all enjoy the beauty as the Garden moves into Spring and Summer.
Lucinda Price is a photographer who’s launched a free service for those out of school who’d like to know a little about photography and the life of a freelance photographer. She is offering 1-2-1 30 minute sessions via video call for teenagers. For younger children, Lucinda will set some photographic challenges and then discuss the results. You’ll find more details and a booking facility on her website.
Claire at Mindfulness of Nature has created a really lovely space, inviting you to join her at 8am each day at a Sit Spot in your garden, on your balcony or even by your open window. Connecting with nature as you reflect can be a powerful exercise that helps to still a busy mind. Join her Facebook group for more details.
If you’re running out of reading matter, help is at hand from a couple of local sources. Heffers may be shut but you can order online with free delivery on all UK orders. And it’s not just books, they also sell gifts, stationery and games. Bookish Cambridge, more normally found at their stall in the Market, sells second hand books. They are working on a website but for now, email them for a current list of books. They will deliver in the Cambridge area.
And finally, don’t forget the Facebook group “What have you done today Cambridge”. It’s only been in existence for 10 days but a warm, kind and funny community is growing on there as we all keep connected, share ideas, support and inspire each other in these crazy days. Everybody is welcome to join, hope to see you there.
Here’s a picture of Rolo to make you smile. Please do get in touch if you know of any other activities and services in the city that I can include in future posts as this lockdown continues. I wish all readers, wherever you are in the world, the very best at this frightening and stressful time. Stay safe, stay home, keep well x
As I write this, yet another storm is raging. Will Spring ever come?? I’d love it to hurry up as I’m attempting to house train a lively 12 week old puppy who definitely doesn’t like going out into the garden in the cold and rain! Here’s the events listing for March. As usual, I’ll add to it as the month goes on so do check back and feel free to get in touch through my Contact page if you have an event that you’d like to be included.
1st 2.30 – 5pm Dakshina 2020. An offering of music and dance from South India. Samarpana Classical Arts. Proceeds support Indian classical arts in Cambridge. Chesterton Sports Centre, Gilbert Road, CB4 http://www.eventbrite.com
2nd 8pm Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra. Strauss, Beethoven and Brahms. West Road Concert Hall. Tickets on the door or from http://www.cuso.org.uk
3rd 8pm Continuum. Gesualdo Responses for Holy Saturday and Reproaches by Stuart Beer. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door.
5th 11am – 1pm George Mallory: from student to mountaineer. A special one day exhibition exploring George Mallory’s life from his undergraduate days at Magdalene College (1905 – 1909) to his final expedition to Everest in 1924. Free event. The Old Library, Magdalene College. http://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/old-library/public-engagement
6th 12.15 – 1pm Lunchtime Concert: Cadenza. Cambridge University’s premier A Capella group perform their own arrangements and mash-ups of pop and jazz hits. Free, all welcome. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. FB: Lunchtime Concert: Cadenza
6th 8pm Clare College Music Society and Chapel Choir of Clare College. Mozart Coronation Mass, Scattergood, Schubert. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
7th 10am – 1pm Family Saturdays: Fruity Fun. Taste delicious and unusual fruits and plant pomegranate seeds that you can grow at home. Find out about Fairtrade as part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2020. Drop in, no need to book. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
7th 2 – 4.30pm International Women’s Day event. 8 women talking for 15 minutes each on various zoological themes and the stories of many more. Free, drop in. Aged 8+. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. https://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk/
7th 6 – 7pm Moving On. Traditional close harmony and classical music. Post concert reception and exhibition of watercolour paintings. The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk
8th 12 – 4pm Studio Sunday. Get creative with artists and education volunteers in a practical art making workshop. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
8th 7.30pm International Women’s Day Concert. Closing event of The Minerva Festival, including a performance of the winning piece of the composition competition. St. Giles’ Church, Castle Street. http://www.minervafestival.org
8th 8.15pm Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas plus miniature companion pieces. Krysia Osostowicz and Daniel Tong. King’s College Dining Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
9 – 22nd Cambridge Science Festival. Featuring events from astronomy to zoology. Everyone is welcome to explore, discuss and discover science through talks, hands-on activities, films and exhibitions. Free entry. https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/ PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL EVENTS AT THIS FESTIVAL ARE NOW CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
9th 1pm Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas plus miniature companion pieces. Krysia Osostowicz and Daniel Tong. St John’s Old Divinity School. http://www.adcticketing.com
9th 7.45pm Climate Change: What it means and what we can do about it. Speaker: Prof Joanna Haigh, CBE, FRS. Part of the Science meets Faith programme of talks. Free admission, retiring collection. Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces.
10th 7 – 8.30pm Cafe Sci Cambridge. Obscure Crops to Save the World. Free event, non-ticketed. Espresso Library, East Road. FB: Obscure Crops To Save The World
10th 7.30 – 9pm Talk: Town vs Gown – social divides in Cambridgeshire antiquarian life. Mill Road History Society. Ross Street Community Centre, Ross Street. https://millroadhistory.org.uk/events/
12th 8pm Beethoven 250. Coriolan Overture, Piano Concerto No. 3, Symphony No. 2. St John’s College Chapel. FB: St John’s College Music Society
13th 8pm March. A selection of marches, fanfares and theme tunes including Copland and Mendelssohn. The University of Cambridge Concert Band. St. Giles’ Church, CB3. Tickets on the door or from uccb.soc.srcf.net
14th 9am – 5.30pm The Rising Festival 2020. Celebrating International Women’s Day with interactive workshops, talks, 1-2-1 coaching, networking, performances, open conversations, Happy Hour and more. St Barnabas Church, Mill Road. http://www.eventbrite.co.uk PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL LATER THIS YEAR DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
14th 10am – 4pm Super Science Saturday – The Museum Takeover. Hands on activities, meet the researchers, discover more about the world of early dinosaurs. Free family drop in. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Downing Street. FB: Super Science Saturday – The Museum Takeover
14th 10am – 4.30pm Murder Will Out: A day of crime, thriller and mystery fiction. Heffers bring a selection of authors to the city for this day long crime event. The Old Library, Emmanuel College, St Andrew’s Street. Tickets from Heffers Bookshop or http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
14th 7.30pm Earth, Sea and Space. Back to the Future, Thunder and Lightning Polka, Apollo 13, Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey) and more. Cambridge Concert Orchestra. A fundraiser in aid of the Motor Neuron Disease Association (Cambridgeshire branch). Wesley Methodist Church, Christ’s Pieces, CB1. Tickets on the door or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
14th 7.30pm St John’s Voices. Bach, Howells, Scarlatti. St John’s College Chapel. Tickets 01223 300085
14th 7.30pm Cambs Frocktails. Meet and get to know other people who sew clothes. Cocktails, competitions and celebration of all things sewing. Wear your special me-made outfits. Clayton Hotel (formerly The Tamburlaine), CB1 https://cambsfrocktails.com/ PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 17 OCTOBER 2020 DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
15th 11am and 2pm Science on Sundays: The mechanics of plant development. Part of a programme of free, informal, monthly drop-in plant science talks, bringing the latest discoveries in plant science to visitors in a 30 minute nutshell. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
19th 7pm Voces 8 – Choral Dances. A celebration of choral music inspired by dance. Palestrina, Victoria, Rachmaninov, Britten. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door or from http://www.CambridgeEarlyMusic.org
21st 11am – 4.30pm Cambridge Sustainable Fashion Festival. Stalls, a big Swish (clothes swap party), a free sewing Repair Cafe, learn how to recycle, reuse and create a capsule wardrobe plus pick up styling tips. St Barnabas Church, Mill Road. FB: Cambridge Sustainable Fashion Festival PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
21st 2 – 5.30pm Reading “Emma”. An intensive and exciting Study Day on this Jane Austen novel, with two lectures and a round-table seminar. Literature Cambridge. Stapleford Granary, CB22. https://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/emma PLEASE NOTE THIS STUDY DAY HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS AND WILL BE REARRANGED FOR SEPTEMBER 2020 DATE TBC
21st 7 – 9pm Spring Equinox Mindfulness around the Campfire. Simple guided meditations, opportunities for reflection, discuss, poetry and games exploring our relationship with the natural world. Milton Country Park, CB24. https://mindfulness-of-nature.com/
21st 7.30pm The Crucifixion, Stainer. The Leys Choral Society. The Leys School Chapel, Fen Causeway. http://www.theleys.net/boxoffice PLEASE NOTE THIS CONCERT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
21st 8pm New Cambridge Singers. Frank Martin Mass for double choir and Pergolesi Stabat Mater. Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Hills Road. http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk
22nd 12 – 4pm Studio Sunday. Get creative with artists and education volunteers in a practical art making workshop. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
25th 7.30pm True Stories Told Live. Cambridge storytellers and a musical turn. No need to book, just turn up a bit early to get a drink and find a seat. NCI Club, Holland Street, CB4. FB: True Stories Told Live Cambridge PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
27 – 28th 4 – 11pm Eddington Beer Garden. A pop up with draft craft beers, gins, spirits, wines and soft drinks, food vans and live music. Free entry. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington, CB3. You can pre-register at http://www.eventbrite.com
28th 2 – 6pm Board Games Afternoon. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. £2 per ticket. Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard
28th 7.30 – 10.30pm Stand Up Comedy Night from Big Deal Comedy. 4 comedians and an MC, licensed bar selling alcoholic and soft drinks. Unit 1-4, The Grafton Centre, CB1. FB: Stand Up Comedy Night
29th 2.30 – 4pm A Musical Afternoon at the University Church. Haydn, Vivaldi, Boyce. The Academy of Great St Mary’s. Great St Mary’s Church, Senate House Hill. FB: A Musical Sunday Afternoon at the University Church
So just like that, December is here … the city is looking even more gorgeous than usual with lights twinkling and decorations everywhere. Read on for details of all types of Christmas music and services, shopping events where you’ll find those perfect handmade presents, seasonal celebrations and activities in our wonderful museums and much more. I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back and please get in touch if you’d like me to include your event.
1st 12 noon – 4pm Museum Shop Sunday. Stalls from local suppliers including jewellery, glasswork and pottery. Mulled wine and mince pies. Free, drop in. Museum of Cambridge, Castle Street. http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk
1st 12 noon – 4pm Studio Sunday. Practical art making workshops, no experience necessary. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
1st 1.15 – 2pm Cambridge University Instrumental Award Holders – a performance by the very best undergraduate chamber musicians. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
1st 6.30pm Winter Cabaret. A seasonal mix of jazzy, sassy, jingly and soulful songs and music from The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk
4th 5 – 8pm Rowan’s Winter Warmer. A festive evening where you can buy handmade gifts and cards, commission artwork and get involved in Christmas workshops. Live music, mulled wine and mince pies. Free entry. Rowan, 140 Humberstone Road, CB4 http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk
5th 6.30pm Murder under the Mistletoe. Heffers’ Christmas Crime Party. Festive drinks, book buying and readings from crime authors. 10% off purchases on the evening. Heffers, Trinity Street. http://www.heffersbookshop.eventbrite.com
7th 11.30am Bridging Binaries: LGBTQ+ Tour. Explore the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture in Cambridge collections. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
7th 1 – 1.30pm Come and Sing Carols. An informal, friendly “come and sing” carolling session for shoppers, friends and visitors. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade
7th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Activities and art making on the theme of festive fun. Free, drop in. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
7th 4 – 5pm Blue Christmas. A service of jazz and prayer for everyone who doesn’t find the holidays so happy. Michaelhouse Chapel, Trinity Street
7th 7pm Messiah by Candlelight. Eboracum Baroque. A charity concert in aid of Cancer Research. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade. http://www.eboracumbaroque.co.uk
8th 7.30pm Christmas Orchestral and Choral Concert. Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Czech Christmas music. The Academy of Great St Mary’s. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade. http://www.adcticketing.com
8th 7.30pm Messiah. Choir of Clare College with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Trinity College Chapel. http://www.adcticketing.com
9th 7.45pm Brokenness, compassion and identity in rehabilitation after brain injury. Speaker: Dr Andrew Bateman. Part of the Science meets Faith series. Free admission, retiring collection. Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces
12th 7.30pm Music for an English Advent: Gabriel’s Message. Carols and estampies from medieval England. Mediva Ensemble. Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street. http://www.CambridgeEarlyMusic.org
12th 8pm A Winter Union. Five leading lights of the British roots scene present an evening of seasonal songs, new and old. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk
13th 7.30pm – 2.30am Reach Up Disco Wonderland with DJ Andy Smith and XL Records founder Nick Halkes. 2648 Bar, Trinity Street. https://skdl.co/kFnLqa45X0
13 – 14th 7.30pm A Christmas Carol. Adapted and performed by Martin Prest in a one man show. The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road. Wrap up warm as the Chapel can be cold! http://www.adcticketing.com
15th 10am – 4pm Victorian Christmas Celebration. Family friendly Victorian Christmas day with craft activities, music, mince pies and more. Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane. http://www.museumoftechnology.com
15th 6.30 – 8pm Carols by Candlelight, accompanied by Cottenham Brass Band. Hosted by Cambridge Past, Present and Future. The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road. Free event, donations appreciated. http://www.cambridgeppf.org
15th 8pm Music for Advent and Christmas. Josquin, Howells and carols for audience participation. Fairhaven Singers. Trinity College Chapel. http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk
18th 1.15 – 2pm The Food of Christmas Past. A talk with Ivan Day, Feast & Fast food historian. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
19th 7 – 9pm Mindfulness around a Campfire – Winter Solstice celebration. Guided meditations, reflections, discussions, poetry, games and toasty pre Christmas treats around a campfire. Milton Country Park, CB24. Tickets from firstname.lastname@example.org
19th 7.30 – 10pm Light Up EACH Life Cambridge Concert. We Are Sound and Evelyn Glennie perform a selection of uplifting songs in celebration of the children and families cared for at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade. http://www.each.org.uk
20th 10.30am – 12.30pm GPS Christmas Treasure Hunt. Track down some special Christmas plants growing in the garden. A family activity. Booking essential. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
20th 7.30pm Celebrate Christmas with John Rutter and Bach Choir Voices. Traditional carols and works by John Rutter. Our Lady and the English Martyrs Catholic Church, Hills Road http://www.cambridgesummermusic.com
22nd 4 – 5.15pm and 6.30 – 7.45pm Carols by Candlelight. A traditional candlelit service of lessons and carols at the University Church. Arrive early to be sure of a seat. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade
24th 4 – 5pm Christmas Eve Crib Service. Carols, bible stories and an impro Nativity. For children and their families. Come as you are or in Nativity fancy dress. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade
25th 11.15am – 12.15pm Christmas Day Choral Mattins. Favourite carols, beautiful music, scripture and story. Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade
So November is here, with bright frosty mornings and leaves crunching under our feet. As ever, there’s loads going on in the city this month. Do get in touch if you know of an event that I could add in to this listing and don’t forget to check back every now and again as I will update it through the month.
1st 7pm Cinema under the Whale. A special screening of the Spielberg classic JAWS, in the dark under the skeleton of a 21 metre whale. Plus a short pre-screening talk on threats to sharks and work to protect them. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk
2nd 10am – 1pm Family Saturday – Feed the Birds. Help the birds in your garden survive the frosty winter nights by making bird feeders to put out in your garden. Free event. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
2nd 10.30 – 11.15am Sharing Stories. Stories from around the world, told, read and sung. Free, drop in. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Milton Road Library. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
2nd 2 – 4pm Magic and Mystery Family drop in. Magic crafts, family tours and story telling. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
2nd 3.30pm Autumn Concert. Cambridge Wind Band. The Ashburton Hall, St Faith’s School, Trumpington Road. http://www.camwindband.com
2nd 6.30pm Even You Song. Director of Music Owain Park with Cambridge Chorale and school choirs against a backdrop of digital projections and new writing. An immersive work based on Choral Evensong inspired by space travel. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets from http://bit.ly/2YvwxAb
6th 7.30pm Handel Coronation Anthems, Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op 3 No 2 and Organ Concerto in F Major, Op 4 No 4. Academy of Ancient Music and Choir of King’s College Cambridge. King’s College Chapel. http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/concerts
8th 7.30pm Mike de Souza Trio. A vibrant young trio performing new, original music drawing on the sounds of contemporary jazz, Radiohead and Deerhoof. Unitarian Church, Emmanuel Road. http://www.wegottickets.com/listencambridge
9th 6.30 – 10.30pm Ceilidh. Raising funds for Cambridge Street Aid and The Cyriacs, St Paul’s Church, Hills Road. http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
12th 7.30 – 9pm Changing Landscapes in Romsey Town. Talk by John McGill for Mill Road History Society. Ross Street Community Centre. http://www.millroadhistory.org.uk
13 – 24th Cambridge International Jazz Festival. Main events, Fringe events (many of which are free), family events, workshops, talks and films at venues around the city. http://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info
13th 7.15pm True Stories Told Live. Local storytellers and a song. NCI Club, Holland Street. FB @cambridgetruestories
16th 10.30 – 11.15am Sharing Stories. Stories from around the world, told, read and sung. Free, drop in. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Milton Road Library. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
16 – 17th 11 am – 5pm Ink, Paper and Print Illustration Fair. Screenprints, letterpress, hand-made books, lithographs, linocuts and more. Free admission. The Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.inkpaperandprint.co.uk
16 – 17th 10am – 5pm A handmade Christmas pottery exhibition and sale. 15+ potters, a wide range of ceramics from rustic to refined, free kids’ craft. Kiln Cambridge, 61 Ditton Walk, CB5. FB@kilncambridge
22nd – 8 Dec 11am – 4pm Fri – Sun, 5 – 8pm Weds. Here and How? An exhibition of artists from the North West, curated by STOCK Gallery. Motion Sickness Project Space, Petty Cury. http://www.motion-sick.wixsite.com
23rd 11am – 5pm Worth the Weight Vintage Kilo Sale. Vintage clothing from the 60s – 90s. £15 per kilo. St. Paul’s, Hills Road. FB @worththeweightvintage
23rd 7.30pm Mozart Requiem. Trinity Singers. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door.
23rd 7.30pm Dance the Night Away. Brahms, Khachaturian, Offenbach and more. A concert in aid of Cambridgeshire Lupus Group. Cambridge Concert Orchestra. The Church of St John the Evangelist, Hills Road. Tickets from http://cco.org.uk or http://www.eventbrite.com or on the door
26th Feast & Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800 exhibition opens (running until 26.4.20). Presents novel approaches to understanding the history and culture of food and eating. Free entry. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
28 – 30th 12 noon – 7.30pm Thursday/10am – 6.30pm Friday and Saturday. Cambridge Made Christmas Fair. Loads of fabulous hand made goodies from local makers. Free entry. St. Andrew’s Baptist Church, St. Andrew’s Street. FB @CambridgeMade
28th 5 – 9pm LATE: A Feast for your Senses. See the new Feast & Fast exhibition, join pop up talks, learn more about Christmas food traditions and book for a special screening of Bright Star, a romantic drama about John Keats. Christmas shopping, live jazz and seasonal treats in the Cafe. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
30th 10.30 – 11.15am Sharing Stories. Stories from around the world, told, read and sung. Free, drop in. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Milton Road Library. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
30th 2pm and 3pm “Mouse’s Night Before Christmas”. Award winning author Tracey Corderoy reads from her new book. Festive craft activity. Tickets £3 in advance, redeemable against a copy of the book when bought on the day. Heffers, Trinity Street. http://www.heffers.co.uk/events
Well here we are, it’s October already and the rhythm of the city is changing again as the students return. There’s so much happening in Cambridge this month … festivals of film, ideas, craft beer and gin, storytelling, fundraisers for local charities, art exhibitions, Diwali celebrations and lots more. So do take a look and come back too, as I’ll update this listing through the month.
1 – 12th 8am – 5pm Illuminating Cambridge Libraries. Exhibition of Sara Rawlinson’s photographs of College libraries. Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street, CB2. http://www.sararawlinson.com
1 – 31st 9am – 5pm weekdays. Black Cantabs: History Makers. Photography exhibition celebrating 260 years of Cambridge education for black Cambridge students and graduates from the 1700s to the 21st century. Fitzwilliam College, Storey’s Way, CB3
3 – 27th The Cambridge Show. Painting, photography, performance, sculpture and other media from 22 local artists. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
5th 10am – 1pm Family Saturdays – Brilliant Bats. Learn loads of bat facts and enjoy bat themed craft ready for Halloween. Free event. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
5th 10.30 – 11.15am Sharing Stories. A family friendly story telling session with stories from around the world told, read and sung. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Free, drop in. Milton Road Library, CB4. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
5th 2.30pm Nearly New Sale of pre-loved parent and baby goods. Sports Centre, Cambridge Regional College, Kings Hedges Road. http://www.nctcambridge.org
7th 7.30 – 9pm LATE: Gallery Party. Celebrate the launch of a new season of programming on the theme of Sensual/Virtual. Music, cash bar and surprises on the night. Free event. Fitzwilliam Museum. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
10th 7.30 – 9pm Miss Jebb revisits Mill Road. An evening of fact and fiction, drama and poetry as Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children and author of “Cambridge – A Brief Study in Social Questions (1906), takes us for a walk down Mill Road. Free event. Ross Street Community Centre, Ross Street. http://www.millroadhistory.org.uk
12th 10am 2019 Heffers Classics Forum. A day of talks from some of the top names in the world of Classics. The Old Library, Emmanuel College, St Andrew’s Street. http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
12th 10am – 3pm The Kenya Youth Project Autumn Fayre. Stalls, pictures, stationery, handcrafts, nearly new, books, jigsaws, toys, homemade jam and cakes, Kenyan gifts. Wesley Methodist Church, Christ’s Pieces. http://www.kenyayouthproject.org.uk
12th 10.30am – 2.30pm Nearly New and Used Book Sale. Milton Road Library, CB4
13th 12 noon – 4pm Studio Sunday. Artist led workshop for families. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
13th 1.15 – 2pm Lunchtime Concert: Works for piano by female composers. Diana Brekalo presents music by Lily Boulanger, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and Countess Dora Pejacevic. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
14 – 27th Cambridge Festival of Ideas. Debates, workshops, talks, exhibitions and performances celebrating the arts, humanities and social sciences. This year’s theme is “Change”. Free. http://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk
16 – 19th The 2019 Cambridge Greek Play: Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles. A modern day interpretation, performed in Ancient Greek with English surtitles. The tradition of performing a play in Greek every three years at Cambridge University goes back to 1882! Cambridge Arts Theatre, Peas Hill. http://www.cambridgeartstheatre.com
16th 7pm Cafe Sci Cambridge: The ethics of medical data sharing. Espresso Library, East Road. FB @cafescicambridge
17 – 24th Cambridge Film Festival. UK premieres of new features, classic retrospectives, insightful documentaries, short films, discovery titles from the global stage, family favourites and several international film festival winners. http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk
17 – 20th Eddington Craft Beer and Gin Festival. Local craft beers, flavourful gins, live music and food vans. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. http://www.eventbrite.com
18 – 19th 7.30pm Dracula Part 1: Jonathan Harker’s Journal with Martin Prest in the haunting and atmospheric one man show adapted from Bram Stoker’s classic novel. The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road. http://www.ThatsMyCueProductions.com
19th 10am – 4pm Cambridge Photography Show. For anyone who is passionate about photography and video. Free entry. Guildhall, Market Square. FB Cambridge Photography Show 2019
19th 10.30 – 11.15am Sharing Stories. A family friendly storytelling session with stories from around the world told, read and sung. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Free, drop in. Milton Road Library, CB4. http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk
19th 12 noon – 4pm WE ARE CAMBRIDGE Family Day. A fun, interactive day exploring what living in and around Cambridge means to you. Artist led workshops where you can create artwork inspired by Cambridge, your ideas of home and hopes for the future of the city. Plus a wildflower seed-bomb workshop inspired by the history and work of Alan Turing. Free, drop in. Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street. http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk
19th 2 – 5.30pm Literature Cambridge Study Day: An Introduction to Reading Poetry. Do you love poetry and would you like to understand it better? Accessible lectures and a seminar with leading young Cambridge scholars. Stapleford Granary, CB22. http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/read-poetry
19th 3 – 4pm Children’s Event: Author Isabel Thomas unlocks the life of Stephen Hawking with storytelling and activities. Free event. Heffers, Trinity Street. http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
20th 10am – 4pm Apple Day. Apple tasting, identification, cultivation, activities and edibles. Free Garden seasonal highlight tours, live music, pop up food trucks and craft stalls. Botanic Garden, Brookside. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
20th 1.15 – 2pm Lunchtime Concert: Music for harpsichord. Final concert of the complete Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, recital No. 30, performed by Francis Knights. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
20th 7 – 9.45pm Sakhya Diwali celebrations. A fundraiser evening of music, Indian food and Bollywood dancing. All proceeds go to grass-root education and development oriented projects in India. St Paul’s, Hills Road. Booking required. Email email@example.com
26th 5 – 9pm Cambridge Mindful Pub Crawl. Low and no alcohol drinks at three venues with the first round on Adnams. Starting at The Castle Inn, Castle Street, CB3. Tickets from http://www.joinclubsoda.com
27th 1.15 – 2pm Lunchtime Concert: Music for piano. George Harliono performs Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor. Free. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
28th 7.45pm Centenary Lecture: Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Master of Trinity College, on being the UK’s Chief Medical Officer. Free admission, retiring collection. Wesley Methodist Church, Christ’s Pieces.
29th 7pm Graphene the new wonder material: But will it change the world? Fundraising lecture from Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, CBE, FREng, FRS Director of Research Dept of Materials Science and Metallurgy. In aid of Cam Sight. Dept of Material Sciences and Metallurgy, Charles Babbage Road, CB3. http://www.camsight.org.uk
School’s out, the sun is shining and there’s plenty going on in the city to keep youngsters amused through the summer break, much of it low cost or free. Here are a few ideas!
Summer at the Museums 140 drop in and bookable activities at museums in and around Cambridge as well as the Botanic Garden. A mix of events, trails and hands-on activities. Download the full programme from http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/summer
Cambridge Museum of Technology has recently re-opened after a major refurbishment – read more here. They are running Family Engineering Mornings, where you work together to design, build and test rockets and boats and build a tower crane, as well as Family Papercraft Mornings. The Museum is in a beautiful spot down by the river. Food and drink are available but you’re welcome to bring a picnic and there’s lots of room for children to run around. Click on http://www.museumoftechnology.com/whats-on for more.
ChYpPS is running Playdaze, a free daily programme of activities for kids plus Big Wednesdays, mini festival fun afternoons of art, sport and culture for the whole family. Details on http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/chypps-activities
Great St Mary’s, the University Church on Senate House Hill, is running Family Activity Mondays on 5, 12 and 19 August from 11am – 3pm, offering family craft events with a different theme each week. More on Facebook @GreatStMarys.
Waterstones in Sidney Street is offering a series of free events with storytimes, crafts and more, with a different theme each week. See the photograph for details.
Heffers on Trinity Street has organised several free children’s activities with local authors as well as a series of Museum Adventures with the Hidden Tales, tying in with Cambridge treasure hunt Riddle of the White Sphinx – read more here – and featuring special guest appearances from four Cambridge museums and their collections. Details on http://www.heffersbookshop.business.site
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.
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
One of the things I love most about writing for my blog and this column is the people I meet. People who are getting on with their daily lives, have that light bulb moment and just go for it to create something wonderful in the city. People like Cathy Moore, founder of the Cambridge Literary Festival.
Cathy first came to the city to read History at Newnham College and was only the second person from her Liverpool comprehensive school to make it to the University of Cambridge. She also loved English and books so after graduation, Cathy built a career in publishing before taking some time out to be with her young family. A spell in teaching followed but Cathy returned to Cambridge and books, working part time in Waterstones and running their programme of events. That’s where she met writer Ali Smith and as the two of them chatted about the Hay Literary Festival, they wondered why there wasn’t a similar event in Cambridge.
Within months, Cathy had created Wordfest, doing everything herself and setting up twenty four events in three venues. That was back in March 2003. “There were about sixty literary festivals then”, Cathy tells me, “and now there are around four hundred in the UK, so we’re all in competition for the authors.” Wordfest grew, events regularly sold out and initiatives like the debut writers panel made it truly a festival for writers as well as readers. After gaining charitable status, Wordfest rebranded as Cambridge Literary Festival in 2014. It now brings Spring and Winter festivals to the city as well as one-off events through the year and since 2017 has delivered the Wimpole History Festival in partnership with the National Trust.
These days, Cathy isn’t doing everything herself! She and her small team have an office in Downing Place and they have strong support from patrons, media partnerships and sponsors. A band of volunteer stewards welcomes the many thousands of festival goers and enables events to run smoothly for both authors and audiences. More volunteers are always welcome so if you’re interested in giving your time (and enjoying some volunteer perks!), contact the team through the website.
Festival venues this year include several beautiful university spaces which are normally hidden from public view. Refreshments will be available at most of these so you can grab a quick drink and a snack between events. Heffers run a bookstall and there are author signings too.
I’m really excited for this winter’s Festival; it’s always a fun, buzzy weekend and the packed programme truly offers something for everyone, including a brand new Murder Mystery Musical from Sophie Hannah which sounds intriguing! You’ll find details of what’s on and a booking facility through the Festival website at www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com