What's On: Tours to take and exhibitions to see
Museum doors may be firmly shut for the time being, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on thought-provoking exhibitions and exquisite attractions. Settle on the sofa with a brew and check out these virtual tours. . .
If you secretly yearn to snoop around other people’s homes (who doesn’t, I ask you?), then you’ll love the virtual tour and live webcam at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.
A fascinating building – housing a cornucopia of remarkable paintings and sculptures accumulated by Jim and Helen Ede – it’s hard to believe Kettle’s Yard started life as four tumbled-down 19th century cottages. Learn about its amazing transformation thanks to Jim, a former curator at the Tate Gallery in London – who used his connections in the art world to amass a magnificent collection of paintings from artists such as Ben and Winifred Nicholson, David Jones and Joan Miró along with sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Marvel at the artworks and take a peek inside Kettle Yard’s characterful rooms, including Jim and Helen’s private quarters, which have been left virtually unchanged since Jim’s departure.
View the virtual tour at tour.kettlesyard.co.uk/
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
A haven of beauty and tranquillity in the heart of the city, the Botanic Garden is awash with vibrant spring flowers this time of year, from lime green euphorbia to blush pink clematis. It’s sad that we won’t get to walk among the blooms and breathe in the heavenly scents, but the onsite team responsible for keeping the collections alive is recording weekly ‘Wellness Wanders’, so we can still take in the sight, smells and sounds. Harness the power of nature with these uplifting walks - which last around 10-15 minutes – and see the breath-taking gardens flourish as one season melts into the next. A record of all walks will be available on CUBG’s YouTube channel.
Enjoy a Wellness Wander at botanic.cam.ac.uk/wellness-wander/
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
A vibrant 200-year-old theatre, this Bury landmark is the last remaining Regency playhouse in the country, with many of its original features still intact. Designed by renowned architect William Wilkins – also famous for designing the National Gallery and University College London – it was restored to its Regency grandeur in 2007. As a Grade 1 listed building, it is the only theatre in the National Trust portfolio. Watch Theatre Royal’s website for details of a virtual tour launching soon, showcasing the interiors of one of the world’s most beautiful, intimate and historic theatres – home to a diverse range of engaging productions.
Visit theatreroyal.org for more
Okay, so you might not get the sense of achievement (or aching limbs) from tackling the vertiginous climb up to Ely Cathedral’s grand towers, but you can still view them in all their glory on the virtual tour. Explore this Anglican cathedral’s 1,000 year history through a series of delightful pictures and videos. The Octagon Tower is considered a unique wonder of the medieval world, with its spectacular lantern, while the taller West Tower offers spectacular panoramas over the city and surrounding stark fenland. Explore the cathedral’s rich architectural history, including the sumptuous thirteenth century Quire and stunning 14th century Lady Chapel. You’re in for a captivating history lesson.
Cambridge University Library
If you’ve got a spare afternoon on your hands, check out the impressive array of virtual exhibitions at Cambridge University Library, ranging from the October Revolution to the landscapes of Capability Brown. The 360 virtual reality tour from recent exhibition, The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge, is well worth a browse too. Shedding light on the experiences of women at the University over the past 150 years, it details their ongoing struggle for equal educational rights, recognition, and inclusion in university activities, as well as delving into the careers of women who shaped the institution, from leading academics to influential fellows’ wives.
Take the tour at therisingtide.thefusionworks.com and view a catalogue of virtual exhibitions at exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/
The Fitzwilliam Museum
Indulge your inner culture vulture thanks to a comprehensive range of online exhibitions at Fitzwilliam Museum. From Love and Desire in Japanese Prints to Tomb Treasures of Ancient Georgia, an Armoury Extravaganza, to the Origins of the Afro Comb, there’s a diverse mix to dive into. We’ll be transporting ourselves back to the time of the Pharaohs, exploring the Death on the Nile exhibition – which uncovers the afterlife of ancient Egypt. Moving beyond the images of mummies, Pharaohs and mystery often associated with the period, it shows how coffin design developed over 4,000 years, reflecting significant changes both in the status of affluent ancient Egyptians and in the gods that were important to them. Enthralling stuff.
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More by this authorLouise Cummings