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  • Silent Night

    Image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

  • King's College Chapel

    Photo by Vickie Heydon-Matterface via Unsplash

  • The Carol Singers, 1878

  • Dr Suzanne Reynolds with highlights from the Founder's Library

    © George Wybrew

  • The River Cam near Trinity and Clare Colleges

  • Stapleford Granary

    © Isabel Sudbury

Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Join this special Advent tour for a series of privileged visits to some of Cambridge’s finest college chapels, including some private organ recitals

  • Visit the Parker Library at Corpus Christi and the Wren Library at Trinity College, home to rare books and manuscripts, and discover the musical collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum

  • Enjoy an excursion to Stapleford Granary, home of ACE Cultural Tours, for a private recital featuring pianist Patrick Hemmerlé

“Excellent all round trip. Well thought out and planned”

"A most enjoyable tour!"

– ACE customers on the 2023 Cambridge Colleges at Christmas tour led by Paul Jackson

Cambridge’s historic colleges are veritable treasure troves, where architecture, artefacts and music combine to tell fascinating stories. During Advent, the city’s lights shine ever brighter against the darkness of the impending winter solstice, but inside the colleges a hush descends for the holiday period.

 

Over four days we will take the opportunity to step into these miniature worlds, exploring their historical architecture and collections, and enjoying exquisite sounds emanating from some of the chapel organs during private recitals.

 

This tour has been specially crafted by ACE to incorporate some of the city’s hidden gems, including exclusive access to the chapels of Emmanuel College, Clare College and Trinity College. The Parker Library at Corpus Christi College contains a world-class collection of rare medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and early printed books, and remains an important resource for scholars today. We also hope to visit the Wren Library at Trinity College, home to a collection of rare books and manuscripts, from the medieval treasures catalogued by M R James to the manuscript for Winnie the Pooh.

 

A highlight of the tour will be a special visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum, going behind the scenes in the Founder’s Library to see items from the musical collections in the company of Dr Suzanne Reynolds, Senior Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books.

 

Music is at the heart of our itinerary, and we look forward to an excursion to Stapleford Granary, the flourishing arts centre that is home to ACE Cultural Tours and its parent charity, The Association for Cultural Exchange, and which occupies RIBA award-winning converted 19th century farm buildings near the Gog Magog Hills. After enjoying a special afternoon tea, we will take our seats for an exclusive private recital featuring pianist Patrick Hemmerlé in the Granary’s state of the art concert hall.

 

Our tour will be interspersed with further festive flourishes, including a lecture from our Tour Director on the history of the Christmas carol with musical accompaniments, and an exclusive dinner in the Saltmarsh Rooms at King’s College. King’s is synonymous with the celebration of Christmas for its famous annual broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve.

 

We will stay in the heart of Cambridge at the four-star Hotel du Vin, a stylish and comfortable hotel set in a former university building, a stone’s throw from the Fitzwilliam Museum.

 

This tour will be led by Paul Jackson, MA, PhD, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and former Head of Music and Performing Arts and Director of Music and Performance at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Paul has enjoyed an extensive career as a conductor of choirs, orchestras and opera, and as a solo and chamber music pianist, performing across the globe. Paul is an enthusiastic supporter of young and aspiring composers, and has commissioned and performed many new works for a variety of musical forces.

 

Tour Director Paul Jackson writes:

 
“I am delighted to be leading this Advent tour in Cambridge, which will take in a number of beautiful college chapels. We will have the opportunity to hear a range of music played on some of the chapel organs, and the tour also incorporates visits to the world-famous Fitzwilliam Museum, and both the Parker Library and the Wren Library, two of the most important and beautiful repositories of medieval manuscripts in the country. Cambridge is a magical city at Christmas, and this tour promises to be the perfect way to enter into the Christmas spirit!”

 

Exclusive festive dinner at King’s College
We are delighted to feature an exclusive private dinner in the elegant Saltmarsh Rooms at King’s College on our final evening. Located on the first floor of the college opposite the chapel, and hung with paintings from the King’s College collection, the Saltmarsh Rooms offer the perfect surroundings in which to toast the season and enjoy a celebratory festive menu compiled by the college chefs, whose “dedication to excellence” has earned them “a justified reputation for serving exceptional food”. In the words of ACE Tour Manager Michaela Rowland Hall, who accompanied the 2023 Cambridge Colleges at Christmas tour: “What a treat!”

Days
4
Cost
£1695
Tour Code
CCAC-24


Included: accommodation based on sharing a classic twin or double bedded room, performances as described, three breakfasts, one afternoon tea, two dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, classic double room for single use supplement £195. Deluxe room upgrades on request.

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