The Guide to What’s On (3rd Feb – 10th Feb)
Boom! Cambridge has really woken up – let’s pop a cork to fun Feb. There’s tonnes going on this week and beyond, so grab a cuppa and have a read of my curated tips to the best things going on in Cambridgeshire – family fun, art, music, gardens and cookery are all covered. It’s go go go, peeps!
The Circus of Horrors, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Sat 4 Feb
The Circus of Horrors celebrates its 21st anniversary as it takes to the road with its latest incarnation The Never-ending Nightmare. This spectacular show features an amazing amalgamation of bizarre, brave and beautiful acts all woven into an Alice in Horrorland type story driven by a mainly original soundscape and performed with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek.
Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2 Wheeler St, Cambridge CB2 3QB, cambridgelivetrust.co.uk
Kids activities, Fitzwilliam Museum, Tue 7 – Wed 8 Feb
If the small people in your life are driving you to distraction, The Fitz is is the place to take them. This extraordinarily beautiful Cambridge museum runs a regular programme of sessions for children of all ages including Baby Magic (0-2 years) with a sensory exploration of colour, shape, texture, sounds and movement and It’s Magic (2-5 years) with stories and art-making. There’s a kid’s menu in the café and plenty of space for buggies. Entry to the museum is free, and it’s £3 for the kids programme events.
The Fitzwilliam Museum, 32 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB, fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
Family Event: Spice Painting, Cambridge University Botanical Gardens, Sat 4 Feb
You can cook with them, but er, when you’ve run out of poster paint have you ever opened the kitchen cupboard and dragged out a few jars of cinnamon to paint with? Let the children loose with a paintbrush and take home an India inspired artwork. The First Saturday Family Programme is free – to join in the fun simply drop-in to the School’s Garden this Saturday, any time between 11am and 3pm (normal garden admission charges apply for adults accompanying children).
Cambridge University Botanical Gardens, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE, botanic.cam.ac.uk
The Sixteen: Bach Magnificat, Peterborough Cathedral, Sat 4 Feb
One of the world’s greatest ensembles, comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen brings JS Bach’s towering masterpiece Magnificat to the cathedral as part of an eight venue UK tour, conducted by its founder, Harry Christophers CBE. The Magnificat was written in Leipzig for the 1723 Christmas Vespers – but of course *cough* we all knew that – and will be performed along with a selection of Bach’s Cantatas and his ever-popular Brandenburg Concerto No 3.
Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough PE1 1XS, peterborough-cathedral.org.uk
Wallpaper Room Tours, Wrest Park, Sun 5 Feb
A great opportunity to go through the keyhole of the magnificent 1830s English Heritage mansion house Wrest House and explore the amazing wallpaper rooms that are rarely open to visitors. See the stunning ‘Eldarado’ papers in the French Room and the intricate hand-painted papers in the Chinese Room. The House is a rarity, with 19th century English architecture styled on an 18th century French mansion. Its grounds are a glorious amalgam of English garden design, and contain one of the few remaining formal gardens of the early 1700s. Booking in advance is recommended as tours are limited to 12 people max due to the size and delicacy of the rooms.
Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4HR, english-heritage.org.uk
Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities, Bethany Hughes, Ely, Tue 7 Feb
Love your history? Istanbul has always been a place where stories and cultures collide and crackle. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it’s been the subject of myths, rumours and political intrigue for over 6000 years. As part of the events programme of indie book specialists Topping and Co, broadcaster and historian Bethany Hughes tells the story of Istanbul through its many incarnations as Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul itself.
Topping and Co. Booksellers, St Peter’s Church, Broad Street, Ely CB7 4AH, toppingbooks.co.uk
Damon Brown International Quartet, Hidden Rooms, Cambridge, Thurs 9 Feb
Damon Brown is one of the UK’s leading jazz trumpet players and composers. He studied the trumpet at the London’s Guildhall School of Music and has played alongside some of the biggest names in contemporary straight-ahead jazz, from Alan Barnes to Don Weller and beyond. Damon’s gathered his musical friends from all four corners of the globe and will be playing at the Hidden Rooms – housed in the basement of an old Victorian Roman bath house. The Hidden Rooms are er, exactly that – hidden but when you manage to find them you’ll discover a stylish and opulent after-work hangout, churning out blockbuster cocktails with a background of live music. So enjoy a Cheeky Tarte or two (steady – it’s on the cocktail menu) and some fantastic live jazz.
Hidden Rooms, 7b Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA, hiddenroomsonline.com
Snowdrop Season, Anglesey Abbey
Anglesey Abbey has one of the finest snowdrops collections in the country, with a whopping 300 varieties of the delicate white flowers – 20 of which have been discovered at the Abbey. The snowdrop season is now in full bloom so don’t linger too long if you’re wanting to see the beautiful gardens wake up. Feb half term can get busy so if you’re fortunate enough not to be tied to a school timetable then get round before the kids invade. Maps detailing the best spots to see snowdrops are available and guided tours take place weekdays throughout the snowdrop season.
Anglesey Abbey, Quy Rd, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ, nationaltrust.org.uk
Mucky Pups – Feathery February, Wicken Fen, Wed 8th – Thurs 9 Feb
They’re going to get mucky and messy – but hey that’s what Persil is for. Don the wellies, wrap up warm and prepare for a morning of outdoorsy fun at Wicken Fen’s monthly Mucky Pups session. Suitable for under 5’s, this month’s event will include outdoor and indoor art and games all with a feathery theme. You’ll need to book a slot in advance and tickets are £4.75.
Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely CB7 5XP, nationaltrust.org.uk
HMS Pinafore, West Road, Concert Hall, Cambridge Thurs 9 Feb – Sat 11 Feb
High spirits prevail aboard HMS Pinafore as Cambridge University’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society return to West Road Concert Hall for the fourth year in a row with three nights of tra-la-la. This satirical tale of forbidden love and shocking revelations of class and identity is one of the most enduringly popular of Gilbert and Sullivan’s creations, if comic opera is indeed your bag.
West Road, Concert Hall, 11 West Rd, Cambridge CB3 9DP, westroad.org
Effortless Entertaining Winter, Cambridge Cookery School, Fri 10 Feb
Do you like the idea of entertaining at home but find the reality is a red-faced frazzled chef who’s slurped a few too many glasses and is scraping burnt offerings of the floor? (or is that just me?). Effortless Entertaining Winter with their ideas for quick family meals and successful entertaining might be the solution. The focus is on easy-to-make dishes that can be prepared in advance yet deliver great flavour and look stunning on the plate. The day kicks off with coffee and cake, and ends with lunch and wine from their Italian wineries.
CCS, School House, Homerton Gardens, Purbeck Road, Cambridge, CB2 8EB, cambridgecookeryschool.com
e-Luminate, Festival of Light – Fri 10 Feb
The e-Luminate Cambridge contemporary arts festival returns in 2017 with the theme of ‘Play’, taking place in multiple venues across the city, and will include for the first time an innovative conference in the Corn Exchange and Guildhalls. The event is officially switched on at 6.30pm in Market Square, but over the course of the next five days you can listen to Cambridge’s groundbreaking musical collective, We Are Sound, try wine tasting, play ‘glow’ sports (yup, netball, badminton, and even basketball in the dark with neon glow lights to see who you’re whacking), a light painting workshop and even an e-sports day for dedicated gamers out there. Sounds funky.
Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2 Wheeler St, Cambridge CB2 3QB, cambridgelivetrust.co.uk
READY FOR HALF TERM?
Half term is just round the corner (really, already?!) so here’s an early nudge on a few fun things that you’ll need to book ahead – plus a couple of grown up things for when you manage to find your way out of the soft play pit.
HALF TERM FOR KIDS
Mon 13 Feb – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Cambridge Junction
Charlie Hubble is a little boy with a very big dream – he wants to be a world-class magician. So, he saves up his pocket money to buy The Big Book of Magic for Trainee Magicians and sets off to Mr Zacoor’s Toy Shop to buy his spell book. But Mr Zacoor is no ordinary shopkeeper, he’s a real life Sorcerer and he has a very special job for Charlie. This delightful new show comes to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. Little people aged 3-7 will love this funny, heart-warming tale, but big people will have lots of fun too.
Little Love Food, Burwash Manor, Mon 13 – Fri 17 Feb
A fun-tastic week of children’s cookery classes including bread for beginners, eating for energy and Caribbean fun! Classes are for ages 4-18.
Great Fen LEGO build, Hinchingbrooke Country Park, Thurs 16 – Sat 18 Feb
A must for any LEGO fans! This exciting building event will be filled with fun, interactive, creative and educational activities for the whole family.
Stories in the Dark, Marion Leeper, Cambridge Junction, Sun 12 March
Experience the wonder of stories that feature darkness and light in one of the smallest theatres in the world! With only 15 people in the story tent early booking is essential.
HALF TERM FOR GROWN-UPS:
Ann Furbank Fashion Show, Buckden, Sat 11 Feb
If your wardrobe is feeling a little drab then this will give you an idea of what we might be wearing this summer. Colours and floral prints will be on show – great if you like to plan your summer closet rather than rash impulse buys (guilty as charged).
John Simpson, Topping and Co Booksellers, Ely, Tue 14 March
A living legend amongst news correspondents, John Simpson returns to Ely to talk about his book We Chose to Speak of War and Strife which brings us pivotal moments in our history – from the Crimean War to Vietnam; the siege of Sarajevo to the fall of Baghdad – through the eyes of those who risked life and limb to witness them first hand, and the astonishing tales of what it took to report them.