Posts Tagged Cambridge

e-Luminate Festival Cambridge

'Colour Shift' at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

‘Colour Shift’ at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

I had the pleasure of visiting Cambridge for the annual e-Luminate Festival of light art and technology this weekend (the festival continues until 23rd February).

It was my first time in the pretty city and it was a flying visit, quite literally at times, as it was windy! We started with a Trail of Light, a walking tour of the Cambridge College Chapels. All participants were given an LED flashing light to create a line of light as we walked across from chapel to chapel. Once inside, we were given a performance by either a choir, or my personal favourite, organ music, which echoed through the candlelit chapels and their high vaulted ceilings.

There were quite a few light installations and projections throughout the city, the most impressive was Colour Shift by Susie Olczak, a wash of changing colours across the facade of King’s College. It really highlighted the architecture, creating harsh shadows to emphasise the detailed cuts of the stone.

Saturday was a bright and sunny day, and really gave us the chance to explore and get a feel for the place. There was a market selling local produce, second-hand LPs, clothes and jewellery. The city is famous for its literature festival and in keeping with this, there were plenty of bookshops to be discovered down tiny side streets and in hidden courtyards, many selling rare books of antiquity.

We had a lovely lunch of fish and chips at The Eagle pub. Dating back to 1667, the pub is most famous as the place where James Watson and Francis Crick first announced they had ‘discovered the secret of life’ – DNA. Regardless of that, it was popular yet cosy once you found a seat. We were quite lucky to get one, and would advise getting there just after midday if you’re to find a table also, as many visitors who arrived after 12.30pm were disappointed.

All in all my visit to Cambridge was a success, and anyone interested in interesting architecture, particularly religious buildings, would do well to visit. I think it would work well as part of a longer visit to the area, so it would be a good idea to rent a holiday cottage outside of the centre to allow for visits to the surrounding countryside. 

Orchard Cottage (sleeps up to 7) is a beautifully restored and tastefully furnished 18th Century cottage with half an acre of garden of mainly trees and lawn where you can, if you wish, play croquet, badminton and quoits. It is in a rural situation with a farm opposite and fields around, but is close to travel to Cambridge, Rutland Water and Stamford.

The cottage has three double bedrooms (master bedroom has en suite shower room), study, sitting room with inglenook fireplace and well-concealed television; large kitchen with Rayburn, microwave oven, dishwasher, washer/drier etc, and conservatory. The furniture is antique even the bathroom has Victorian fittings.

Orchard Cottage

Orchard Cottage

Beautifully presented bedroom

Beautifully presented bedroom

 

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Top events for 2014

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre timeline picture by Flickr user Dysanovic

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre timeline picture by Flickr user Dysanovic

We’re speeding through January now, so let’s have a quick look at some of the main events in the UK for 2014!

1. This year will be the 450th birthday of England’s greatest poet and playwright, Shakespeare. Celebrations have already kicked off this month at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Candlelit plays, operas and concerts will be performed in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. On Shakespeare’s actual birthday, 23rd April, during ‘Shakespeare Week’ The Globe will stage its first performance of Hamlet to start a two-year world tour.

2. 5th July will see Stage 1 of the Tour de France Grand Départ get underway in Leeds, Yorkshire. It will continue on through some of the most stunning countryside in the Yorkshire Dales through to the spa town of Harrogate. Stage 2 starts in the medieval city of York, finishing in my home town, Sheffield! Stage 3 sets off from Cambridge, cycling through the Essex countryside to London, leading to a spectacular finish at The Mall. An exciting sporting event, and great to use the route to explore different areas of the country.

3. Scotland gears up for a summer of sport with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, and the golf championship, the Ryder Cup, at Gleneagles in September.

4. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Henley Royal Regatta. For five days from 1st July, teams from across the world will compete in this traditional rowing event across the River Thames. A great event to sit on the riverbank with a picnic in the sunshine.

5. Another anniversary this year, too; the centenary of Wales‘ greatest poet and writer, Dylan Thomas. The actual centenary is 27th October, but year-round events, exhibitions and festivals will celebrate Thomas and showcase Wales as an extraordinary land of artistic excellence.

 

Keep up to date with upcoming events around the UK featured on this blog, or search particular dates and places at the tourist board, VisitBritain.

 

 

 

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Petrol prices boost bikes

Sportives, National Trust

Will rocketing petrol prices create a holiday bicycle boom? More and more tourism businesses seem to believe so. For instance, April saw the launch of Cambridge Bike Tours, the first of its kind to provide a programme of bicycle tours around the city and surrounding areas. As well as modern bikes, tourists have the opportunity to try some nostalgic and immaculately refurbished historic British bikes.

Cambridge is famous for its cycling and has over 80 miles of cycle paths and lanes to explore. The company claims its tours offer tourists a unique outdoors experience and enable them to see more of the city and river than on the many walking tours available. Surprisingly, Cambridge Bike Tours is the first tour company in the city to offer a programme dedicated purely to bicycle tours.

The company runs a programme of four different tours operating every day of the week in the summer except Tuesdays. Three of the tours cost £20 and the full day tour costs £33, including bike and helmet. Discounts are available for students, families and groups.

Also getting busy on two wheels is the National Trust, which has launched a new series of challenge rides (also known as sportives). Anyone who’s ever fancied the idea of taking part in a challenging cycle ride through stunning countryside or around a beautiful country estate could be in for a treat with one of them.

All of the routes start and finish at National Trust sites and the first ride will take place in Pembrokeshire in West Wales on 1 May.

The National Trust’s Philip Broadbent-Yale said: “These rides offer a fantastic way to see amazing countryside and have been specifically designed to cater for all ages and abilities, from first-time riders to seasoned pros, there’s something for everyone.”

With distances ranging from a few miles, which is ideal for families, to more testing 50-100 mile rides for the more experienced, these cycling challenges are designed for those who love spending time in the great outdoors. The routes wind through open countryside and will be fully way-marked and marshalled by professional event organisers.

Challenge rides planned for 2011 are:

  • 1 May – National Trust Pembrokeshire Challenge Ride at Stackpole in Wales
  • 19 June – Father’s Day Ride at Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire
  • 3 July – National Trust White Peak Challenge Ride – Illam, Peak District (TBC)
  • 3 July – Kingston Lacy in Dorset
  • 24 July – Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire
  • 11 Sept – Wimpole in Cambridgeshire
  • 2 October – Dartmoor Atlantic Challenge at the Parke Estate in Devon
  • 9 October – Sizergh Castle in the Lake District

More information on the rides, how to register and more downloadable cycle trails can be found at National Trust website

Also happening this summer will be the Trust’s first ever Cycling Festival which will take place between 16-24 July, with bike-ride events and activities happening at 25 locations, including Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and Scotney Castle in Kent.

Finally, March saw the launch of a unique cycle route in Dorset, where to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Dorset Wildlife Trust has created 42toDO, a special route taking in all of its 42 nature reserves. At 260 miles through the best of Dorset’s landscapes, it is a challenge that people can take up by bike, on foot or even by car, with shorter routes also available for a more leisurely day.

Fiona Sansom of Dorset Wildlife Trust said:

“42toDO is all about celebrating our wonderful nature reserves. Anybody can do it, whether they cycle the whole thing in one go or tick off a few nature reserves at a time on a leisurely ride or walk. Our route is suitable for cyclists, avoiding main roads where possible, but you can still visit the reserves by car, so there’s no reason to feel left out!”

The Trust has produced a map which includes all you need to know about where and when to see unmissable wildlife such as wood anemones, bluebells, sand lizards, early spider orchids or red squirrels.

With different punches at every reserve to collect on the 42toDO maps, challengers will win a certificate and special badge for achieving all 42 or for more than half. There will be additional prizes for the most impressive or unusual ways of completing the challenge.

The 42toDO challenge is free. For a pack, click here

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