Summer in the City

Cambridge takes on an air of fiesta in June.  Our beautiful green spaces are full of people enjoying the summer sunshine, chatting, picnicking, playing rounders, playing guitars, even practising their circus skills!  Ecstatic students celebrate the end of exams at the famous May Balls, with the sound of revelry floating on the night air and amazing firework displays as darkness falls.  It’s a time to enjoy life outdoors so I’ve put together some ideas to help you make the most of summer in the city.

Punting on the River Cam
Punting on the River Cam

What could be nicer on a summer’s day than messing about on the river?  You’ll get a spectacular view of the colleges with their historic buildings and beautiful gardens as you glide along the Backs in a punt.  Avoid the touts in the city centre and head down to Quayside at Magdalene Bridge where you’ll find several punt hire operators.  Established in 1910, Scudamores are open every day from 9am to dusk.  Self-hire punts take six people and cost £30 per hour.  If you’d rather just sit back and relax, take a 45 minute shared guided tour at £20 per adult.  Concessions and private tours are available.  The punt chauffeurs are a fount of historical information and while I’ve never heard them sing “O Sole Mio”, they might if you ask nicely!

www.scudamores.com

 

casino royale playing
Image credit: Gareth Nunns

The Star & Mouse Picture Show is back for a new season, bringing weekend screenings underneath the stars at fabulous venues in and around Cambridge through the summer.  This “trinket cinema” creates magical evenings of fairy lights, food and fire pits with live entertainment themed to the film.  From 1-3 June, Star & Mouse lands on the riverside at The Double Tree Hilton in Granta Place, Mill Lane, showing “Inception”, “The Goonies” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  Watch the sun go down then as darkness falls, park yourself in a deckchair, put on your wireless headphones and enjoy the film.  Advance booking is recommended.  Tickets are £12, bookable through www.starandmouse.com

 

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

Jesus Green Lido opened in 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim.  One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.  There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers, a sauna and a little café for drinks and snacks.  The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if you’re not the hardy type!  You’ll find the Lido opposite Chesterton Road, between Jesus Lock and Victoria Bridge.  An adult non member swim costs £4.70.  Membership, season tickets and concessions are available.

www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/Cambridge/jesusgreenlido

 

King’s College is famous worldwide not only for its academic excellence but also for its stunning Chapel and its choir whose Christmas Eve service, “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”, is broadcast to millions of listeners across the globe.  On Sunday 24 June, join The King’s Men (the choral scholars of King’s College) for “Singing on the River”, their final concert of the season.  The King’s Men will be on the Cam in punts singing madrigals, part-songs and close harmony while you’ll be relaxing with your picnic on the College’s back lawn which runs down to the river bank.  Tickets are £12.50 or £5 for students (under 12’s get in free) from the King’s College Visitor Centre in King’s Parade or from shop@kings.cam.ac.uk

 

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Roof Terrace Bar at The Varsity Hotel

For a cool drink on a warm day plus breath taking 360 degree views over the city, head to the Roof Terrace Bar at The Varsity Hotel in Thompson’s Lane.  It’s stylish with comfortable outdoor seating, colourful planting and a dedicated table service rooftop bar offering an extensive gin menu, summer cocktails, wine, bottled beers, champagne and prosecco alongside non alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks.  There’s a small barbecue and salad menu too.  This is one of my favourite places to sip a gin and tonic (Cambridge Distillery gin, naturally!) while watching the sun set on a summer evening.

www.thevarsityhotel.co.uk

 

This post is The Cambridge Scene column which I write for Eastlife Magazine, a terrific guide to all that’s happening in the east of England.  To read more of the June edition, take a look on http://www.eastlife.co.uk

 

 

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge

Jesus Green Lido is open again for a new season.  One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s been going since 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim.  It’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

I met with Charlotte Anderson-Chapman and Callum Lewis of GLL, which manages the Lido for Cambridge City Council, to get some facts and figures.  The Lido, which runs alongside the River Cam, is 91 metres long, 14 metres wide and its depth varies from 1.2 – 2.5 metres.  It takes 7 weeks to get the pool ready for opening day … it’s emptied and cleaned and every 4 years it has a full coat of paint with 65 tins of specialist paint rollered on by hand!  It then takes 4 days and nights to pump enough water in to refill the Lido.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if, like me, you’re not the hardy type!  There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers and while triathletes and open water swimmers train here, it’s a great place for a leisurely dip in the open air on a hot day.  In fact, there’s quite a community that grows around the Lido each year.  The Friends of Jesus Green Pool is an informal group of regular swimmers who help to set up in the grounds, act as a voice for pool users and arrange several social events each year.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

Facilities include showers and lockers in the changing rooms, a sauna and there is full disabled access with a poolside hoist.  The cafe sells hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream.  Memberships and season tickets are available or you can just turn up with your bathing kit on a sunny day and pay for a single swim.

https://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/cambridge/jesusgreenlido

Off Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AX

What’s on in May

Well, April brought us a short, unseasonal heatwave but as we move into May, the weather’s reverted to wind, rain and generally grey murky conditions … surely, surely we must be due some decent spring days soon??  Anyway, there’s plenty going on in the city so here’s the What’s On listing for May.  It’s a mix of all sorts of things that come to my attention and I update it through the month, so it’s worth checking back occasionally.  And please get in touch via my Contact page if you know of an event that I’d like to include.

Railings at St Bene't's Church, Cambridge
Railings at St Bene’t’s Church

3 – 7th    Cambridge May Fair, Midsummer Common

3 – 12th    11am – 5pm  Sound of Silence.  Still Life Exhibition.  Alessandra Tarcia and Akiko Hirai.  St Peter’s Church, Castle Hill  http://www.flowgallery.co.uk

3rd    8pm  Martin Speake QT ft. Ethan Iverson.  Hidden Rooms, 7b Jesus Lane.  http://www.cambridgejazz.org

5th  10.30am – 4.30pm  Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair.  Guildhall, Market Hill

5th  7.30pm  K.239 Chamber Orchestra.  Elgar, G. Jacob, Mozart, Schonberg.  St Luke’s Church, Victoria Road.  Tickets on the door.

5th    8pm  The Empyrean Ensemble. Beethoven.  Trinity College Chapel.  Tickets on the door.  http://www.tcms.org.uk

7th    9am  The Reach Ride.  A bike ride to the 800 year old Reach Fair.  Assemble in front of the Guildhall, Market Hill, for a 10am departure.  http://www.camcycle.org.uk/reachride

8 – 10th    9.30pm  Queue – A Freshers’ Sketch Show.  Corpus Playroom, St Edward’s Passage.  http://www.adctheatre.com

12th    Jesus Green Lido reopens.  http://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/cambridge/jesusgreenlido

12 – 13th    10am – 4pm  National Mills Weekend at Impington Mill and Garden.  Free entry.  http://www.nationalmillsweekend.co.uk

12th    8pm  Ensemble Pro Victoria.  The Kinges Musicke.  Rarely heard music from Tudor England and the Continent before and after the Reformation.  Cornysh, Fayrfax, Byrd, Victoria.  Trinity College Chapel.  Tickets on the door.

13th    12 noon – 5pm  Polish Heritage Day.  Guildhall, Market Hill.  Facebook: @polishdaycambridge

18th    6.30 – 10pm  Summer Night Market and outdoor cinema (Sing and Meet the Parents).  Market Square

19th    10am – 5pm  Festival of Plants 2018.  Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Brookside  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

19th    10.30am – 4pm  Eat Cambridge – Main Event.  Guildhall, Market Hill.  Festival Fringe events run until 2 June.  http://www.eat-cambridge.co.uk

20th    3pm  Music for the Madonna.  New Cambridge Singers.  Poulenc, Durufle, Villette.  St Botolph’s Church, Trumpington Street.  Tickets on the door.  http://www.newcambridgesingers.org.uk

20th    3.30pm  Blue Smoke.  The Lucy Cavendish Singers.  Classical, traditional and country music followed by tea and cake.  Childerley Hall Long Barn, Dry Drayton.  http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk

30th    10 – 11am  The Red Hot Fireball.  Children’s bilingual storytelling with the Alliance Francaise Cambridge.  Central Library, 1st Floor, Grand Arcade.  Free, no booking required.

Cows on the bank of the River Cam
Camcattle grazing  peacefully on the riverbank