Open Cambridge returns in September for a feast of events over 10 days

St John's College in Cambridge.

St John's College in Cambridge. - Credit: Sir Cam

Cambridge’s much-loved festival of history and culture will return this September with an extended programme of free live and digital events for everyone across the region to take part in and enjoy.

This year's Open Cambridge, which is supported by the Cambridge BID, takes place from September 10 to September 19, 2021.

St John's College gate in Cambridge.

St John's College gate in Cambridge. - Credit: Supplied by Open Cambridge

The event has extended its usual run of three days to 10 days of tours, walks, films, talks and a host of activities that bring together local people and visitors to celebrate the unique heritage, culture and community of Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge Public Engagement team, the organisers of Open Cambridge, are keen to ensure it is a city-wide celebration.

The market in Cambridge.

The market in Cambridge. - Credit: Sir Cam

Alongside the many live and digital events that will be on offer, they are asking people to get involved on social media by sharing their own stories that highlight the city’s culinary heritage and culture under the Heritage Open Day’s theme ‘edible England’.  

Open Cambridge coordinator Sue Long said: “The team are truly delighted to be hosting a live, in person event this year, alongside an extended digital offering.

"Cambridge has so much to offer as a foodie city, so the theme this year is very fitting. As it is completely open to interpretation, we are expecting a range of intriguing events that really bring the city’s uniqueness and ‘flavour’ to life. 

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“We are also really looking forward to the whole community embracing the theme and sharing their own memories and old photos on our social media sites.” 

Punting in Cambridge.

Punting in Cambridge. - Credit: Sir Cam

During the 10 days, everyone will have the opportunity to see hidden places and try out new experiences that bring to life this university city.

With local stories at its heart, the free event is part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme, which is designed to offer special access to places that are normally closed to the public or charge admission.

A fire station open day in 2018 as part of Open Cambridge.

A fire station open day in 2018 as part of Open Cambridge. - Credit: Supplied by Open Cambridge

Anyone can share their knowledge and experiences of the city, and, while there is a theme, organisers are keen to stress that social media posts do not have to be focussed just on food either.

It could be anything from a secret, hidden part of the city they love to visit, their favourite building, a forgotten recipe, best places to forage for wild food, an interesting, little-known story about the city’s past or present, or perhaps a tale or two of some of the many fascinating people and characters who have lived in Cambridge. 

Cambridge Mosque.

Past Open Cambridge events have included a peek behind-the-scenes at the Cambridge Mosque. - Credit: Supplied by Open Cambridge

Past Open Cambridge events have included a peek behind-the-scenes at the Cambridge Mosque and the ADC Theatre, a rare tour of the Parker Library, and fun and games at the Cambridge fire station.

Specialist guides have offered tours of Cambridge University Colleges’ exquisite gardens, museums, galleries, and libraries.

The lady in the hat from the Mill Road History Society Cambridge Collection.

The lady in the hat from the Mill Road History Society Cambridge Collection. - Credit: MRHS Cambridge Collection

Mill Road History Society has led walking tours and talks, bringing the rich history of the city to life by introducing visitors to some of the people and places that have made it the powerhouse it is today.

This year promises to be much the same and more. 

For more information about Open Cambridge visit the website www.opencambridge.cam.ac.uk 

View from Great St Mary's tower in Cambridge.

View from Great St Mary's tower in Cambridge. - Credit: Supplied by Open Cambridge


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