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The Backs

Abutting the backside of six Cambridge colleges, The Backs is a scenic walk alongside the River Cam.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Cambridge
Mathematical Bridge
Officially named 'Wooden Bridge' and connecting two parts of Queen's College, the self-supporting structure gained its colloquial name for the ingenuity in its design.
St Catharine's College
Founded in the 15th century as Katharine's Hall, the college is known for having an open court style, rather than the quadrangles displayed throughout Oxbridge colleges.
Cambridge University
Founded in 1209 by Oxonians who had a dispute with Oxford's townspeople, Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English speaking world.
Round Church
Its' given name is Church of the Holy Sepulchre and it is one of four remaining medieval round churches in England.
Bridge of sighs, Cambridge
Named after the Venetian Bridge of Sighs, the one in Cambridge connects two quadrangles of St John's College.
King's College
Founded in 1441 by Henry VI, though its construction was halted by The War of the Roses and was not completed until a century later under Henry VIII.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Cambridge
Discover the long, rich past and magnificent historical buildings and prestigious colleges of Cambridge on a fascinating walk alongside the River Cam.

  • Stroll through handsome streets of grand, statuesque buildings, almost half of which are owned by Cambridge University.
  • Enjoy an unrivalled view of some of Cambridge's most prestigious colleagues on a punt along the back of the River Cam passing King’s Trinity, and St John’s.
  • See the Bridge of Sighs, straddling a particularly picturesque stretch of river, and a similar design to a bridge of the same in Venice. 
  • Each University college has a distinctive character, Kings for its Gothic chapel; Trinity as the brainchild of Henry VIII, and St John’s for its student William Wordsworth.
  • Hear about Cambridge’s most idiosyncratic customs and famous alumni, including Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Bertrand Russell, Alan Turing and Lord Byron.
  • Soak up the long, rich history and awe-inspiring buzz of the city, with its bustling streets and pavement cafes interspersed with leafy green parks and cycle paths.
As a city, Cambridge has helped to broaden its student population’s intellectual horizons with its rich array of bookshops, cafes, pubs, live music venues, comedy clubs, galleries, museums and scenic riverside parks. On this fascinating private walking tour of Cambridge, we will discover the story of the birth of the modern city, from its founding in 875 when the Danes conquered Eastern England to when it achieved iconic status as a world leader in University education.

Our stroll begins at The Backs, behind Cambridge’s most prestigious colleges, passing the timber-built Mathematical Bridge spanning the River Cam. Founded in 1473, St Catharine's College is known fondly as "Catz", while King's College was famously founded by King Henry VI in 1441 after establishing Eton. Trinity spans both banks of the river with buildings dating back to the 16th century. The Round Church, notable as Cambridge’s second-oldest building, was inspired by Jerusalem’s church of the Holy Sepulchre. Our final stop is the Bridge of Sighs, influenced architecturally by a bridge in Venice of the same name.

Note: All colleges are currently closed for touring.
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