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What’s On in May in Cambs and Suffolk

Hooray for May! Things are getting back to normal and we can't wait to soak up some culture and seek out some fun - here's our guide to what to do this May in Cambs and Suffolk.


EXHIBITION: Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, ends 6 May


This is the 14th International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition, and photographs are displayed in the botanic garden itself, providing a beautiful backdrop to some breath-taking images. Find this free exhibition near the grass maze (normal entry fees to the garden apply and booking garden entry in advance online is now essential).

Are you bats about bats? If so you can return to the gardens on Thursday 6 May at twilight and go on Bat Patrol. Use bat detectors, find out what a bat eats, where they live and fire questions at the bat expert. Suitable for adults and accompanied children aged 8+.This event is weather dependent. Book in advance – tickets are £7.00.

CINEMA: Ely Drive-in Cinema, Sat 8 May 2021

Outdoor cinema options are popping up all over Cambridgeshire, but we love the idea of a whole day of movies. Get comfy in your car, bring plenty of snacks and enjoy Trolls World Tour (U), The Greatest Showman (PG) and drive-in classic – Dirty Dancing (12). Tickets can be purchased here.

EXHIBITION: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge – Tuesday 18 May 2021 to Sunday 1 August 2021

outside of a museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum

In the last year, we have experienced many restrictions (fewer hugs) and touch has become both longed for and scary.  The fantastic Fitzwilliam Museum will reopen on 18 May with an exhibition that explores touch – looking at four thousand years of global artwork. Ancient Egyptian limestone sculptures will sit alongside drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures by Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Turner, Rodin, Degas, and more, integrated with contemporary artists like Frank Auerbach and The Chapman Brothers.

ACTIVITY: Escape Room at Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely, 22-31

Can you solve ‘The Curious Case of Curator Chadwick’. Genius idea to combine escape room mania with a healthy dose of history. Can you help to find Curator Cornelius Chadwick who has disappeared in Oliver Cromwell’s house. Sessions are priced at £95 per group and are suited for between 6 and 8 people. Best for adults or for teens aged 13 to 16. Email for more info.

CLASSICAL MUSIC: Harmoniemusik: From Field to Table, 21 May, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge

Fancy some Mozart and Beethoven? Virtuoso bassoonist and director Peter Whelan directs some of the finest ‘Harmoniemusik’ of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Harmonies were wind bands and were very popular back in the 18thC as a means of waking favoured guests – no shouting up the stairs- bacon sarnie or scrambled eggs in those days! Much more civilised. Get your tickets from from £19.50.

CINEMA: Enchanted Cinema, from May 21, Cambridge

Enchanted Cinema is back at the gorgeous Gonville hotel garden, and also at a new location – The Plough in Fen Ditton – a lovely riverside pub. We cant wait to get into a comfy deckchair and enjoy an evening of acoustic music, popcorn, drinks and film. Click here for the full programme.

COMEDY: Simon Munnery, 23 May, and Rich Hall, 27 May, Cambridge Junction

Simon Munnery (AKA Alan Parker Urban Warrior)

A cult comedy figure of the 90s, multi-award-winning comedian Simon Munnery brings his alter ego – Alan Parker Urban Warrior –  back to the stage for some radical bedsit anarchy. Tickets are 14.50  in advance – book here.

The Junction also has the daring and super sharp Rich Hall on the May schedule (27) – another highly acclaimed comedian that is a regular on QI and Have I got News for you. The Hoedown Deluxe tour is apparently not ti be missed. £19.50 per ticket. Book here.

ONLINE EVENT: Cambridge Beer Festival, 24 – 29 May

The Cambridge Beer Festival is a highlight in the city calendar and loads of fun can be had, usually on Jesus Green, sitting at long tables swigging back those pints – to be precise around 100,000 imbibed over the month! Sadly, CAMRA has decided it is safer to stay online this year – with virtual beer and cider discussions and tasting events instead. Local breweries and cider makers will provide delivery or collection services – get organised with your own ‘pub in the garden’ set up and create your own mini festival!


ONLINE EVENTS: Ipswich Theatres – A night in with (the stars) – series continues through May

Ipswich theatres have kept a lively programme going through lockdown teaming up with Fane Online to deliver some amazing live stream events. These continue throughout May, until things begin to get back to normal over the summer months, and there are some real gems. How about an afternoon with the Bletchley Girls (2 May) and interview with two of the Bletchley Park veterans, Betty Webb (OBE) and Pat Davies. Or go for a night in with author Patrick Ness, or with Romesh Ranganathan (interviewed by Geoff Northcott), or Rickie Lee Jones. Check out the full programme here.

ANTIQUE MARKET: Beccles Antiques Market, 2 May

Oh, how we have missed rummaging around at a good antique market. The Beccles Antiques Market returns to new location at Beccles Quay with approx 100 professional dealers with treasures ranging from furniture to silver, postcards to jewellery. More info here.

FOOD MARKET: Felixstowe Artisan and Producers Market, The Beach Street, Felixstowe, Sat 8 May

Beach Street is a funky collection of shops and cafés housed in shipping containers – very hipster! The food market will showcase local crafts, food and drink. There will be plenty of street food to enjoy and local produce to sample. Stalls include local craft ale from Old Felixstowe Brewery, hot salt beef bagels from Biegel or Bagel, handmade pies from Compleat, artisan spirits from Sunfire as well as fudge from Woodland Bakery and Chilli sauces from the East Coast Chilli Company plus many more! More info here.

EXHIBITION: Moments Modern Art Exhibition, 23 May- 30 Sept, Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds

Bunny Girl by Pure Evil, image courtesy of Brandler Galleries

In association with Brandler Galleries, Moyse’s Hall Museum has brought together all the best modern artists for this exhibition that includes, Banksy, Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, The Connor Brothers, Blek Le Rat, Pure Evil (work pictured), Rachel List and Kaws. There will also be workshops, live art demonstrations,  and talks themed around the concept of ‘moments’. Advance booking is essential. Tickets £5 per adult.

WORLD MUSIC: Yiddish Twist Orchestra, 26 May, 8.00 pm, Apex Centre, Bury St Edmunds

This event sounds so crazy, it is a must as we come out of lockdown surely? Mambo, Calypso, London Beat, surf guitar and classic Yiddish songs combine into a mele of exciting energetic music played by world-class musicians who have accompanied the likes of Billy Bragg, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul Weller, and Jools Holland. This band is a rhythm fest not to be missed.   Book here.

LIVE MUSIC: Bessie Turner, 28 May, Bury St Edmunds

If something a little calmer is more your style then how about supporting a Suffolk singer/songwriter Bessie Turner.  Now being played on BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6 Music and having appeared at Latitude, Reading, Leeds and supported Ed Sheeran himself, Bessie is a rising star, and worth catching now, before she’s selling out much larger venues. With support from Huntar. Tickets here. Adults £10, Students £8

ART & MUSIC: Snape Maltings from 21 May

Folk duo Honey and the Bear

 Snape is always worth a visit if you’re in the area, set in the gorgeous Suffolk countryside close to Aldeburgh, you have an acclaimed concert hall, art galleries, shops, cafes, a deli, and a pub too. Concerts start up again in May, kicking off with the marvellous BBC symphony orchestra and conducted by the rather dishy, sorry, very talented, Ryan Wigglesworth.  On 30 May catch some heart-warming music from Honey and the Bear, folk duo singing songs of folklore and heartbreak. Why not really satisfy the culture vulture in you, and take in some art too, from local East Anglian artist Carol Sanderson, who will exhibit her latest work inspired by poet John Clare in the Maltings gallery this May.

Find more ideas here

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