Experience delightful organ playing in the stunning surroundings of Cambridge’s famous chapels, in the company of expert organist and lecturer Nicholas Wearne
Sample the university’s superlative choral tradition during Evensong and Choral Eucharist at King’s College Chapel, and enjoy a privileged opportunity to hear the choir rehearse ahead of Evensong at St John’s College Chapel
Take in the music collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum and visit the Church of Our Lady of The Assumption and The English Martyrs
“Nick went above and beyond to make the trip a success!"
- Previous ACE customer on tour with Nicholas Wearne
There are few cities in the UK that boast a more impressive collection of organs than Cambridge, all of them situated within the diverse – and often mesmerising – architectural spaces of the university’s colleges. This tour offers a unique opportunity not only to step inside these timeless yet historically fascinating spaces, but also to hear their instruments sing, courtesy of our Tour Director, expert organist Nicholas Wearne.
We will begin with a visit to the chapel at Girton College, designed by Alfred and Paul Waterhouse and built in 1901. Its elegant and simple interior, with delightful oak carvings crafted by mathematician Margaret Meyer, is home to two organs, including a fine Harrison & Harrison instrument rebuilt in 1974. Our tour continues at Robinson College, where the chapel is one of the largest to be found in a Cambridge college. It contains a world-renowned Frobenius organ as well as two outstanding stained glass windows by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens.
Our second day begins at the Church of Our Lady of The Assumption and The English Martyrs, built in the Gothic Revival style between 1885 and 1890 and considered one of the most beautiful Roman Catholic churches in England. The organ here was built in 1890 by Abbott and Smith to a specification by Charles Villiers Stanford, and was renovated in 2022 by Nicholson & Co Ltd.
Further visits will include the chapel at Sidney Sussex College, with its ornately carved interior; the chapel at Pembroke College, built by Sir Christopher Wren and featuring a striking marble floor and intricate plaster roof; and Queens’ College Chapel, home to a three-manual Binns organ dating from 1892 and restored in 2002, which is considered one of the finest instruments in Cambridge and unique for remaining tonally unaltered since it was built.
A visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum mid-way through our tour will offer an opportunity not only to explore the museum’s fascinating and diverse permanent collections, ranging from ancient artefacts to modern portraiture, but also to delve into the music collections in the company of Dr Suzanne Reynolds, Senior Curator of Manuscripts & Rare Books.
No visit to Cambridge would be complete without a chance to sample its world celebrated choral tradition, and we will attend King’s College Chapel with its fine medieval stained glass to hear Evensong, returning later in the tour to experience Choral Eucharist. A further highlight of the tour will be a privileged opportunity to hear the choir at St John’s College Chapel – one of the world’s finest collegiate choirs – rehearse and perform Choral Evensong.
We will stay throughout at the four-star University Arms Hotel, a smart and elegantly decorated hotel conveniently located in the heart of the city and recently redeveloped to a high standard.
This tour will be led by Nicholas Wearne, BA, MPhil, an experienced ACE Tour Director, lecturer and organist. A former ACE Bursary student, Nicholas’s career has taken him all over the world and he is a previous winner of the Poul Ruders Prize at the Odense International Organ Competition. He has held a number of prestigious positions as organist, including at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, and is currently Senior Tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Nicholas will be joined for some of our chapel visits by guest musician John Bryden, MA, ARCM, ARCO, who read Music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge as Greenwood Music Exhibitioner. John is a member of the Dartington Piano Duo and has played across Britain and Europe as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician.
To hear an extract of King of glory, King of peace performed by the Choir of King's College, watch the video below:
Included: accommodation based on sharing a classic twin or double bedded room, performances as described, three breakfasts, three dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, cosy double room for single use supplement £195.