Kings College Chapel

The Cambridge Backs

It has been seven months now since we moved to this lovely city and sometimes I need to remind myself of how magical it actually is. At the weekends Cambridge is very busy and I usually try to run my errands quickly, so I can leave this busyness swiftly behind me. I tend to ignore the colleges despite the fact that they are actually real sanctuaries within the city.
There are no narrow pavements with way to many people passing, no frantic cyclist who almost run you over when crossing the street, and no risk of getting sucked into the consumerism at local shops. Instead you find green lawns, historical architecture and heavenly silence!

Unfortunately most of  the colleges do not allow visitors at the moment because it is Easter Term which means that students have exams and therefore need a calm environment to revise. However, it is possible to catch a glimpse at some of the colleges from a different point of view, and that is from the Backs. The Backs are a picturesque area where the following colleges back on the river Cam:

  • Magdalene
  • St John’s
  • Trinity
  • Trinity Hall
  • Clare
  • King’s
  • Queen’s

The most relaxing way to explore the Backs is from the river on a punt. Usually the punter has a lot of college anecdotes to tell while you can lay back and enjoy the view of ancient college architecture. It is a bit more complicated to explore the Backs by land as the colleges do not have something like a continuous riverside path.

St. John’s and Queen’s have buildings on both sides of the river which are spanned by two famous bridges: The Mathematical Bridge and The Bridge of Sighs.

The Backs are one of these magical spots in Cambridge that consistently amaze me because they are so beautiful. In spring the lawns are covered with a blanket of crocuses and tulips whilst in summer one punt after another floats down the river and tourists in every language admire the beautiful view of the Cambridge Backs.

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