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The Guide to What’s on (3 Mar – 10 Mar)

Well hellooo spring – I’ve been waiting! We’ve survived Pancake Day and we’re more than halfway through the week people. Let’s slide our way over to the fun side. Yeehaa.

Learn to Garden Weekend, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Sat 4 – Sun 5 Mar
Gardening Weekend, Cambridge Universty Botanic Garden, Cambridge

If you garden looks more of a quagmire then a feature of beauty and you can’t tell a weed from a pansy (er, are you looking at me?) then get yourself booked on this two-day weekend course led by the Head of Education Flis Plent and horticulturalist Helen Seal. Aimed at those that don’t have a clue, they’ll instruct you on how to plan and understand your garden, prepare your soil, choose plants, sow seeds, identify weeds – basically everything. This relaxed weekend course will combine some theory sessions in the classroom with lots of hands-on, practical and ‘walk and talk’ sessions in the Botanic Garden.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE, botanic.cam.ac.uk

Breath of Fresh Air 2017, Byard Art Gallery, Cambridge, ends Sun 19 Mar

Byards Art Cambridge

The annual Breath of Fresh Air exhibition returns to Byard Art, a contemporary art gallery on buzzing Kings Parade. The gallery runs an exhibition programme involving 10 group and solo displays and this event showcases new and talented contemporary artists involving painters, ceramicists, sculptors and jewelers. Whether you enjoy looking at art, or are interested in investing it’s a great opportunity to see contemporary art from emerging artists.

Byard Art, 14 King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2 1SJ, byardart.co.uk

Invincible, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge, Wed 1 – Sat 4 Mar

Cambrdge Arts Theatre

With the recession biting hard, Emily and Oliver have decided to downsize and shift their middle-class London lifestyle into a small town in the north of England. One night they open their doors and invite their nextdoor neighbours, Dawn and Alan, into their home. Over the course of a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx and abstract art; class and culture collide where the consequences are as tragic as they are hilarious! This production is brought to you by one of the most exciting playwrights to emerge since Alan Ayckbourn, Torben Betts, and produced by the award-winning Original Theatre Company (Birdsong, Three Men in a Boat).

Cambridge Arts Theatre, 6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ, cambridgeartstheatre.com

Guerilla  Kitchen Pop Up, Novi, Cambridges, Sat 4 Mar

Guerilla Kitchen Novi Cambridge

Starting this Sat Novi cocktail bar will play host to a Guerrilla Kitchen pop up every Sat night from 5.30-9.30pm. They’ll be hanging out there for the next 3 months and if you haven’t heard of these culinary freedom fighters, AKA Taffeta and Jay Scrimshaw, have been cooking up a storm since time began. Jay headed up Bibendum and Chez Bruce before the revolutionists opened their own establishment The Pheasant, Keyston (for those over the west parts of the county) that won Best British Restaurant 2009 on The F Word – yeah you remember now.

Novi, 12 Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1DB, novicambridge.co.uk

 Sowing and Growing, Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Sat 4 Mar

Cambidge University Botanic Garden

The first week of spring is a busy one at the Botanical Gardens – we’re here again.  A fun and free drop-in activity for the nippers – decorate a plant pot, plant a seed, take it home and watch it grow. With fresh shoots beginning to show in the garden this is an opportunity for littl’uns to get their hands dirty and introduce them to the basics of gardening.

Cambridge University Botantic Gardens, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE, botanic.cam.ac.uk

Willingham Auctions, Willingham, Sat 4 Mar
Willingham Auction, Cambridgeshire

If you haven’t had a stab at bidding in an auction – you’re missing out – or maybe I’ve been watching too much Homes under the Hammer. The auction rooms at Willingham are in beautifully restored former farm buildings and there’s a café on site also (open Mon – Sat) which serves homemade food, all sourced from local suppliers – trust me it’s worth a visit just for the coffee. The catalogue can be viewed online, bidding is in person on Sat or you can leave bids over the phone or online also – viewing is on Thur 2 – Fri 3 Mar. They have antiques and more modern items but top tip – it’s a great source of garden objet d’art and good quality new garden furniture – just thinking ahead to spring. If you’re into vintage and antique collectables it’s worth taking a gander over there.
Willingham Auctions, 25 High St, Willingham, Cambridge CB24 5ES, willinghamauctions.com

Family First Saturday, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Sat 4 March

Fitzwilliam museum

The Fitz is a great place to bring the kids and the free drop-in on the first Saturday of the month is a fun way for youngsters to enjoy the museum. This Sat it’s all about activities and art-making on the theme of powerful figures. There’ll be a chance to have a go at embossing coins inspired by powerful figures in the collection and a Treasure hunt in Babylon, inspired by Marduk, the great god of Babylon. Booking is essential and it’s geared towards those ages 8+

Fitzwilliam Museum, 32 Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1RB, fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

The Cambridge National Family Fun Raceday, Huntingdon Races, Sun 5 March

Huntingdon Races

It’s the world famous Grand National at Aintree in just a few weeks times so get in the swing of things with a day of jump racing and family fun. An additional eighth race has been added to the programme – the rescheduled Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase, which was missed last week thanks to Storm Doris. There’s heaps of free entertainment to keep the kids happy – face painting, bouncy castle, inflatable slide, giant game sets, bungee run game and soft play.

Huntingdon Racecourse, Huntingdon PE28 4HQ, huntingdon.thejockeyclub

Cambridge Street Science, Central Library, Cambridge, Sun 5 March

Street Science Cambridge

Cambridge Science Centre is still homeless and they’ve been popping up all over Cambridge recently. This Sun morning it’s the turn of Central Library in Cambridge with a chance to meet Isabel Thomas, shortlisted author for The Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize, to find out more about discoveries that have changed the world. From travelling back in time to meet the ‘father of modern optics’, Alhazen, to being a fossil hunter like Mary Anning!  There’ll also be some hands-on science activities for all the family to enjoy.

Cambridge Street Science, Central Library, Lion Yard, 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3QD, cambridgesciencecentre.org

Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Sun 5 March

Kimbolton Castle

A Norman castle, a Tudor manor house, a Georgian mansion, and finally, a school. Kimbolton Castle, over on the west side of the county not far from St Neots has survived many centuries of change. The final resting place of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s divorced and banished Spanish Queen, Kimbolton Castle sits amidst wooded grounds close to the small town of Kimbolton. It’s not generally open to the public, but two Sundays a year they open their doors to the outside world – it’s worth visiting for the lovingly restored and displayed historic interiors, Pellegrini murals and dedicated heritage room. Kimbolton is a large village with a couple of pubs, coffee shops, a craft shop, florists, an interior and gift shop and an art gallery so if you’ve got time take a little amble down the high street and see what takes your fancy.

Kimbolton Castle, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0EA, kimbolton.cambs.sch.uk

Carly Kale Café Pop Up Sunday Roast, The Architect, Cambridge, Sun 5 Mar

Curly Kale Pop Up Cambridge

Curly Kale Café is once again hijacking the kitchen at The Architect in Cambridge for their ever-popular big Sunday roast. A clue is in the title – this vegan style catering company has acquired quite a following out of pop up style restaurant events. Using organic veggies grown locally and handpicked by the team consider booking if you’re after proper tasty, rustic style vegan cuisine.

The Architect, 43 Castle St, Cambridge CB3 0AH, facebook.com

Macbeth, Quarry Theatre, Bedford, Tues 7 March

Splendid Productions, Quarry Theatre, Macbeth

Splendid Productions create challenging, vibrant theatre for young people and they’ve made a first stab at Shakespeare with an hour-long new version of Macbeth. A dagger-sharp cast of three take down Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, betrayal, murder and manipulation in a boiling hell-broth of tragedy, comedy, physical theatre and song. It’s a great example of a creative adaptation: a Brechtian-style episodic structure – low on props, lights and scenery and high on performance skills including physical theatre, clowning, audience interaction and song. There are two performances, one after school at 4.30pm and one again at 7.30pm.

Quarry Theatre, 26 St Peter’s Street, Bedford, MK40 2NN, quarrytheatre.org.uk

Mug Making Workshop, Amanda Banham Ceramics, Saffron Walden, Tue 7 March

Pottery Saffron Walden

Remember the film Ghost? Who can forget that sexy pottery scene! Well here’s your chance to reenact that moment on your own, without the music but you’ll end up with two mugs in your hand and feeling very proud of yourself. Amanda Bonham makes stoneware pottery decorated with illustrations, screenprints and collages to decorate. She also runs the Clay Club in Saffron Walden – in the mug making evening class you’ll hand build two mugs and learn screenprinting and stamping techniques in which to decorate them. A chance to get in touch with your creative side.

Amanda Banham Ceramics, 21 Gold Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, Cb101EJ, clay-club.com

Hysteria, Key Theatre, Peterborough, Tue 7 Mar 

Key Theatre, Peterborough

1938. Hampstead, London. Sigmund Freud has fled Nazi-occupied Austria and settled in leafy Swiss Cottage. The ageing Freud intends to spend his last days in peaceful contemplation, but when Salvador Dali pays a visit, and discovers a naked woman in the closet, eye-popping mayhem ensues. Confused? Me too – an acknowledged modern classic, Terry Johnson’s hilarious farce explores the fallout when two of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and original minds collide. Johnson is one of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary playwrights – his notable successes include Mrs Henderson Presents, Dead Funny, Insignificance and Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick.

Key Theatre, Embankment Rd, Peterborough PE1 1EF, vivacity-peterborough.com

Sean Lock: Cambridge Corn Exchange, Thurs 9 Mar

Sean Lock

Every three years the comedian Sean Lock writes and tours a new stand-up show. Well he’s only gone and done it again! Find out what he’s blithering on about this time. If you’re unsure Lock is renowned for his appearances on television and radio but possibly best known for his role as a team captain on Channel 4 comedy panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2 Wheeler St, Cambridge CB2 3QB, cambridgelivetrust.co.uk

Book Ahead

Don’t miss the boat – here are some fun things that you might want to move quickly on if you’re interested.

Bathing Under The Sky, Bourn, Cambridgeshire, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Mar

Bathing Under the Sky

If you’re a regular festival goer you might have already sunk into one of these beautifully crafted cedar wood hot tubs or barrel saunas – they’re at the Secret Garden Party for starters, but if not, they’re coming to Bourn this year in a series of pop up events. A chance to relax and re-energise at this unique fresh air spa inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of outdoor bathing to tackle the cold. You’re not abandoned in the middle of field – the sauna comes with hot and cold drinks, chill out areas with fire pitches, hairdryers and straighteners, lockers and showers. Come rain or shine, this experience is apparently even more refreshing when raining – convinced?! I’ve just heard that the delicious street food bus Steak & Honour will be flipping delicious burgers too – you’ll feel relaxed on the outside and stuffed on the inside.

Bourn Golf and Leisure Club, Toft Road, Bourn, Cambridge CB23 2TT, bathingunderthesky.com

BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time Audley End, Mon 20 March

Radio 4

The celebrated panel of gardening experts will be at Audley End tackling the questions put to them by local gardening enthusiasts – panelists on the day will be Eric Robson, James Wong, Christine Walden and Bob Flowerdew. Recorded in a different location each week, the panel never see the questions before the recording but their encyclopedic, seemingly effortless answers are completely spontaneous and reveal their huge experience and depth of gardening knowledge. Places are limited so you’ll need to ring ahead to book.

Audley End House and Gardens, London Rd, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF, english-heritage.org.uk

Chocolate Masterclass, Cambridge Food Tour, Cambridge, Sat 8 April.

Cambridge Food Tour

Calling all chocoholics – the Cambridge Food Tour Masterclasses, run by Cambridge Food Tour, are normally private events but as a treat they’re going to let you join in this one. Discover how to make your own hand-crafted treats under the expert guidance of our chocolatiers. No experience is necessary and all the classes finish with Freestyle – a fun way to create your own bar, flower or whatever takes your fancy. Dust it with a bit of paint and sparkles and trust me you’ll be everyone’s favorite when you get home.

Cambridge Food Tour

Cambridge Corn Exchange

Imelda May

Sat 25 March , the Stranglers are back on the road with the Classic Collection.

Sat 6 May, Imelda May – in support of her new album ‘Life Love Flesh Blood’ due for release this month.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Cambridgeshire