Discover some of Cambridge's hidden treasures, as some of the most intriguing and impressive spaces open their doors
Explore the city’s hidden nooks and crannies this month at Open Cambridge, which takes place from 8 to 11 September. Part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme, the event is geared towards illuminating the history and heritage of cities to their inhabitants, serving up talks, behind-the-scenes tours, exhibitions and all kinds of other fascinating activities which are open to all and mostly free.
In addition to the usual stimulating blend of events, this year’s Open Cambridge will celebrate the unveiling of a whole new quarter of Cambridge, as well as tying in with India Unboxed, a city-wide initiative which marks the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the close relationship between Cambridge and India.
Take a riveting journey through the city’s past with the Historic Cambridge tours on 8 and 9 September, which will offer an introduction to some of the people and places that have contributed to Cambridge becoming the powerhouse it is today.
From the old to the new, another highlight from this year’s programme includes a tour of the impressive David Attenborough building, which opened last spring.
Named in honour of Sir David’s pioneering work in bringing the wonders of nature to our screens, it will serve as a collaborative hub for the conservation community in the city and beyond. Have a look around on the 8th.
Perhaps you fancy a jaunt into the world of espionage? You’re in the right place: the relationship between Cambridge University and spies is famous, and goes far beyond the KGB’s so-called ‘Magnificent Five’. The Cambridge Spies tour, taking place on 8 and 9 September, will examine the motives of individuals who betray their country, as well as role of spies today, whilst visiting colleges associated with Cambridge’s contribution to spying.
Another tour explores the life and legacy of the Bloomsbury Group, a set of writers and artists that included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Rupert Brooke and E. M. Forster, who met, lived and studied here in Cambridge.
The tours, on 8 and 9 September, will be a chance to visit their favourite haunts and find out more about their considerable influence on literature and the arts.
There’s also a chance to explore some of the most beautiful college gardens, go backstage at the ADC Theatre and unearth the stories of the young American soldiers who arrived in Cambridge during the Second World War and who are now commemorated at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial.
Plus, find out about the lives of birds in the coldest parts of the world in a polar safari, visit the historic Cambridge Observatory and admire 19th century telescopes, plus plenty more besides.
A special strand of this year’s Open Cambridge, Open Eddington will offer an opportunity to explore Cambridge’s new district, which will comprise 3,000 new homes, 50 hectares of green space and a primary school and community facilities once complete.
Pop by on the 9th and experience guided tours of the site, a look inside the first homes and a peek at some of the forward-thinking features, including the UK’s largest rainwater harvesting system and communal underground waste system.
Bridge the Gap
The annual Bridge The Gap charity walk also returns on 10 September. Sign up and join in the stroll around Cambridge’s most magnificent sights, whilst helping to raise valuable funds for two community charities: Arthur Rank Hospice and Romsey Mill. There’s also cakes, ice cream and live music from the Waterbeach Brass Band to enjoy.
Dine at Corpus
One of the most beautiful of all the Cambridge colleges, Corpus Christi will host a glittering dinner in its 19th century dining hall on 8 September. Soak up the historic splendor and indulge in a slap-up meal.