What’s on in Cambridge – February 2020

Well, it’s grey and gloomy as I write this but we got through January and there are definite signs of Spring now.  I’ve noticed buds on the trees, little froths of blossom and the birds are chirping morning and evening.  Read on for details of what’s happening in the city this month … this listing is not exhaustive but is an eclectic mix of events that come to my attention.  I’ll update it through the month so do check back and if you are involved in an event that you’d like me to include, please get in touch via my Contact page.

River Cam Cambridge
A winter day on the towpath

1st    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday: Plant Fibres.  Create your own wall hanging to take home.  Free activity for children, drop in event.  Botanic Garden, Brookside.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

1st    10.30am – 12 noon  Learn 5-a-side chess.  Free, drop in event, all welcome.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Milton Road Library, CB4.  http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk

1st    10.30am – 4.30pm  Cambridge’s Affordable Vintage Fair.  Vintage, handmade, reworked and retro.  Fashion, accessories and collectables from the 40’s to the 90’s.  Guildhall, Market Square.  FB: Cambridge’s Affordable Vintage Fair

1st    12 noon, 1pm and 2pm  Children’s Workshop: Chinese Calligraphy.  Celebrate Chinese New year and learn how to create characters with Chinese brushes and ink.  For children aged 8+, must be accompanied by an adult.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

1st    12 – 4pm  Family First Saturday: Chinese New Year.  Celebrate Chinese New Year with family activities which include lion dance, animals of the zodiac trail, lantern making, paper cutting.  Free, drop in.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

1st    2 – 4pm  “Undiscovered beauty spots within an hour’s drive of Cherry Hinton”.  Talk from Peter Green, Walks Co-ordinator, National Trust.  All welcome, free entry, contribution invited towards expenses.  Food for Thought Cafe, Cherry Hinton Baptist Church Building, corner of Fisher’s Lane and Cherry Hinton High Street.

1 – 23rd   Snowdrop Trail.  Discover more about snowdrop science, history, folklore and cultivation when you follow the Garden’s snowdrop routes.  Botanic Garden, Brookside.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

2nd – 28th    The Minerva Festival.  A city wide celebration of music composed by women and non-binary people.  http://www.theminervafestival.org

3rd    7 – 10pm  An evening at The White Hart Country Inn, Fulbourn.  A two course meal and live entertainment for £20.  Fundraiser for Camsight  http://www.camsight.org.uk

4 – 8th    7.45pm  My Fair Lady.  Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society.  ADC Theatre, Park Street  http://www.adctheatre.com

6th    11am – 1pm  Twentieth-century First Editions Exhibition.  The Old Library, Magdalene College will be open for visitors to these historic book-lined rooms, with displays of items from the College’s special collections and archives which are rarely seen in public.  Free entry, no need to book.  Magdalene College, Magdalene Street.

7 – 16th    Ahbab Festival.  A festival of music, film, food and culture from the Middle East and North Africa.  Cambridge Junction and multiple venues across the city.  FB: @AhbabFestival

8th    1 – 4pm  Chinese New Year Crafts.  Celebrate Chinese New Year with CFT Chinese School.  Decorate a paper lantern, paint a panda and try your hand at Chinese calligraphy and pictograms.  Free, drop in event for families.  Parents/carers must stay with children.  Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard

8th    7pm  Hungarian Music for Cello and Accordian.  Cambridge Szeged Society.  Free entry, retiring collection.  Church of Our Lady and English Martyrs, Hills Road.

8 – 9th    11am – 4pm  Rowan Art Exhibition.  Buy original art at this “Celebrate Your World” art exhibition.  Pictures from amateur and professional artists on sale at £45 each, raising funds to support Rowan’s student artists.  Chesterton Community College, Gilbert Road, CB4  http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk

9th    8.30pm  King’s Voices Lent Concert.  Haydn, Beethoven and Reger.  King’s Voices with the King’s College Symphony Orchestra.  King’s College Hall  http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk

10th    7.45pm  Seeking to know: A humane philosophy of science and religion.  Speaker: Professor Andrew Steane, Physics Department, Oxford University.  Part of the Science Meets Faith series.  Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces.  Free entry, retiring collection.

15th    1pm  Come and Sing Faure Requiem.  For singers of all ages and abilities who can read music.  St Catherine’s College Music Society.  McGrath Centre, St Catherine’s College, Trumpington Street  http://www.eventbrite.co.uk

15th    7 – 9.30pm  Winter Mindfulness around the Campfire.  Simple guided meditations, opportunities for reflection, discussions, poetry and games exploring our relationship with the natural world, around a campfire.  Byron’s Pool, Trumpington  http://www.mindfulness-of-nature.com

18th    7 – 8.30pm  Cafe Sci Cambridge: The Genetics of Depression.  Free, non ticketed.  Espresso Library, East Road.   FB: Free event: The Genetics of Depression

19th    4.30 – 7.30pm  Twilight at the Museums at the Botanic Garden.  Bring your torch for a night time adventure around the Glasshouses and discover some seriously freaky plants.  Free, no charge for entry after 4.30pm, no need to book.  The Garden Shop and Cafe will be open until 7pm.  Botanic Garden, Brookside  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

19th    4.30 – 7.30pm  Twilight at the Museums: De-lightful!  Take a journey through light and dark at this annual Twilight event which takes place across University of Cambridge Museums.  Discover torch lit treasure, sensory activities, interactive theatre, stories, dance and studio art creativity.  Free event.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/twilight_museums

21 – 22nd  12 – 5pm  Cambridge Antiquarian Book Fair.  Old books, prints, maps and manuscripts.  Guildhall, Market Square

21st    6.30 – 8.30pm  Cam Lates: Garden Kitchen Takeover.  Explore the diverse plant collections in the Glasshouse Range which will be filled with imaginative illuminations.  Food and drink from The Garden Kitchen.  Booking essential.  Botanic Garden, Brookside  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

21st    8pm  St John Passion.  St John’s College Music Society with Trinity College Music Society.  St John’s College Chapel.  Tickets on the door.

22nd    11am – 5pm  Cambridge’s Craft and Flea.  Local produce, street food, collectables, crafts, vegan and more.  St Barnabas Church, Mill Road

22nd    2 – 6pm  Board Games Afternoon.  LGBTQ+ board games social afternoon.  Free admission.  Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard

25 – 29th    Stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”.  Pre-show talk on 28th.  ADC Theatre, Park Street.  http://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/play/the-waves/

27th    6 – 9pm  Student LATE: Love Art After Dark.  A dynamic programme of art events, performances, live music, pop up talks, behind the scenes tours plus creative arts and crafts activities.  Cash bar and snacks in the Courtyard Cafe.  Free but booking essential.  Student ID card required.   Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street    http://www.loveartafterdark-event.getqpay.com

29th    6 – 9.30pm  Mastana.  South Asian cultural performances ranging from dance to music to fashion, acting, magic and more.  Guildhall, Market Square  http://www.fixr.co/event/82327218

29th    7.30pm  Harmony in Harlem Jazz Orchestra.  Duke Ellington’s Primping for the Prom.  St Andrew’s Baptist Church, St Andrew’s Street.  Tickets on the door or from http://www.hhjazz.co.uk

Spring flowers
Spring flowers in my kitchen

Merry Christmas from New in Cambridge!!

Christmas wreath
Christmas wreath on my front door

Well I can hardly believe that 2018 has gone so fast and Christmas is nearly here.  I’ll be taking a break until the New Year but to the people who have been so much part of the blog and its success during its first full year of existence, I just wanted to say thank you …..

….. to everybody who has read, liked, shared, got in touch and commented on posts.  I love writing about what’s new in this city and I love hearing from you too.  Many thousands of people from 73 (yes, 73!!) countries have tuned in to the blog this year and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my words

….. to everybody who’s given me their time as I’ve interviewed them.  This city is full of interesting people doing amazing things.  It’s a privilege to have met you all and to tell your stories

…..  to Alice for inviting me to take New in Cambridge to Velvet Magazine as a monthly column.  It’s a great thing to see my words in print and to reach a whole new audience

….. to Lucy and Jack for your technical support.  Without you, the blog would look very dull indeed!

….. to my family and friends for their support and encouragement and for being my sounding boards

Wishing everybody a very happy Christmas!  See you in the New Year!!

Mistletoe from Cambridge Market
Mistletoe from Cambridge Market

 

 

Christmas in Cambridge

I love this time of year.  Cambridge looks more beautiful than ever with the Christmas lights twinkling as dusk falls and I still get that child-like rush of excitement in the run up to the big day.  And I firmly believe that you’re never too old for a pantomime.  One of my fondest childhood memories is my granny treating us to the panto each year … putting on my best dress, meeting up with my cousins, munching a choc ice in the interval.

Snow White Cambridge Junction
Image credit:  Claire Haigh/WeThreeClub

I’m sure the ice cream selection, if not the jokes, will be a bit more sophisticated at the two pantomimes running in the city this year.  Cambridge Junction brings us Snow White, an original take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, with magic, music and a very shiny red apple.  Over at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Aladdin is a classic panto with dazzling costumes and spectacular dance routines.  Both productions offer a British Sign Language interpreted performance and a Relaxed performance.

www.junction.co.uk

www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

 

BALLET CENTRAL _NUCRACKER,Stratford Circus Arts Centre
Image credit:  Bill Cooper

Ballet Central are bringing their adaptation of The Nutcracker to the ADC Theatre from 13 – 15 December with performances at 2.30pm, 4.30pm and 6.30pm.  At 45 minutes long, it’s the perfect way to introduce children to this Christmas ballet with its iconic Tchaikovsky score.  Enjoy the fantasy and sparkle as Clara’s dreams come alive and she journeys to the Kingdom of Sweets, meeting her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy along the way.

www.adctheatre.com

The North Pole ice skating

The North Pole Ice Rink returns to Parker’s Piece for the festive season, with food and drinks available at the cosy undercover Alpine Bar.  I hung up my skates long ago after an unfortunate ice rink incident which resulted in a very bruised coccyx but you’ll find me nursing a hot chocolate, maybe a mulled wine, as I watch my family twirl on the ice.  Or perhaps I’ll sneak off to have a go on the fairground rides!

www.thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk

King's College Cambridge

For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some yuletide singing.  Carol services in the city include Carols at Michaelhouse at 3pm and 4pm on 15 December and a traditional Carols by Candlelight at Great St Mary’s on 23 December at 6.30pm.  Possibly the most famous Christmas service of all, The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel, is broadcast to millions around the world on Christmas Eve.  To get your hands on a ticket, go to the College early on Christmas Eve morning with photo ID.  Ticket distribution starts at 7am.  Or grab a mince pie, put your feet up and tune in to BBC Radio 4 for the live transmission at 3pm.

www.kings.cam.ac.uk

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

 

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

 

wp-1527770430694..jpg
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