Quarantined in Cambridge

These are scary times we’re living through and a lot of us will end up spending a lot of time at home in the coming weeks, either suffering from corona virus, quarantined for it or because we’re minimising social contact and most events have been cancelled anyway.  On the plus side, it’s a great chance to catch up on all those tedious domestic tasks we’ve been postponing, dig in to that pile of books we’ve been meaning to read or just to lounge around on the sofa in front of Netflix.  On the minus side, you may be stuck at home, feeling hideous, for a while.  Read on for some Cambridge based ideas and services …..

Deliveroo logo
Image credit: Deliveroo

Deliveroo has announced that it’s introducing a no contact drop off service so you can request that your order is left on the doorstep.  There are quite a few small indie restaurants you can order from through Deliveroo and they will really appreciate your support in these troubled times.  A few random suggestions:

Tiffin Truck – Indian food

Polonia Club – Polish food

Nanna Mexico – Mexican street food

Bridges – salads, wraps, sandwiches and cakes

Signorelli’s Deli – Italian food

Cambridge Wine Merchants – wine, beer, cider, gin and mixers

http://www.deliveroo.co.uk

Stir Cambridge loaf
Image credit: Stir Cambridge

For fresh bread deliveries, Stir Cambridge offers a bread subscription service with bike powered delivery on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

http://www.stircambridge.co.uk/deliveries

Radmore Farm Shop delivers at least twice a week by van around the city so you can shop online for superb quality meat, baked goods including Vicky’s fabulous home made cakes, fruit, veg and salad, dairy and pantry items, drinks, snacks and more.  They will also make small deliveries on foot or by bike for customers most in need at this time.  Email them through the website to arrange.

http://www.radmorefarmshop.co.uk

Panther Taxis logo
Image credit: Panther Taxis

Panther Taxis will collect your “click and collect” online shopping from Tesco Milton and Tesco Newmarket Road and drop it at your door, charging the standard metered rate.  With news that the supermarkets’ own delivery services are being swamped, this seems like a good way to replenish the fridge.

http://www.panthertaxis.co.uk

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King’s College, Cambridge

It doesn’t take long for cabin fever to strike.  If you can’t leave the house, you can take yourself out on a virtual tour.  Check out Jim and Helen Ede’s house with its beautiful art works at Kettle’s Yard or take in King’s College, its Chapel and Library, which is not normally open to the public.  And then visit these places IRL when this corona virus nightmare is over.

http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/visit/virtual-tour-of-the-college

Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Cambridge University Botanic Garden

If you’re able to leave the house, spend some time outside in the fresh air.  Head to the Botanic Garden which has to be my favourite green space in the city.  Or maybe take a punt tour, giving you stunning views of the Colleges from the river.  I’ve noticed the punt stations down at Magdalene Bridge are looking very empty in the absence of tourists lately.

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

http://www.scudamores.com

http://www.scholarspuntingcambridge.co.uk

Knitting Needle Lane yarn
Image credit: Knitting Needle Lane

Mindful activities like knitting and crochet help to while away the time and quiet a busy mind.  Knitting Needle Lane, owned by Camilla Carter, is Cambridge’s independent yarn retailer and has an online shop offering yarns, crochet and knitting patterns plus Make Your Own packs.  If you live in Cambridge, choose the ‘Home Delivery’ option and Camilla will deliver your yarn through your letterbox for free.  If you live further away in the UK, she is offering 50% off postage.

http://www.knittingneedlelane.co.uk

Portugal Place Cambridge
Portugal Place, Cambridge

And finally but perhaps most importantly, we need to look out for each other.  Two of my neighbours have set up a simple scheme where you can volunteer to offer shopping support for people who are holed up at home because of illness or the need to self-isolate.  This type of community support is easy to replicate and will make a big difference to our neighbourhoods in the coming weeks.

Rolo The Cambridge Dachshund
Rolo, my 3 month old puppy!

As I said at the start of this piece, these are weird and scary times.  Here’s a picture of my puppy to make you smile.  Me, I’m just hoping for the best and now I’m off to tidy that wardrobe I’ve been meaning to tackle for months!  Wishing all readers, wherever you are in the world, good health x

 

 

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