The Backs of Cambridge refer to a continuous green space and the curve of the river Cam running behind several of the Cambridge colleges – Kings, Trinity, St Johns, Clare College. The small wooded area is tree lined with a walking/cycling path along the ‘back’ entrances to the Colleges.
It makes for a nice stroll in the morning or evening with parking easily available along Queen’s Road (A1134). Off the busy King’s Parade, it exudes a more laid-back unhurried view of Cambridge complete with sneak peaks in to some of its most architecturally impressive colleges.
Views from The Backs
We visited at the height of the 2022 summer drought and it was evident that the usually green grassy areas were parched dry. The views were still spectacular nonetheless. Cattle in line with ancient tradition can still be seen grazing in the fields behind King’s College.
Views from the Garret Hostel Bridge
The Garret Hostel Bridge, so called for its proximity to nearby Garret Hostel is one of three public foot/cycle bridges that link Cambridge City centre to The Backs. Location wise it lies between the bridges of Trinity and Clare College, although neither are accessible publicly.
Overview of the ‘secret’ pathway to the City of Cambridge
From The Backs, walk on the garden path northward. This path is parallel to Queen’s Road (A1134) where you can find some on street parking (fees applies). Turn right into Garret Hostel Lane and continue towards Garret Hostel Bridge. When on the bridge, do take some time to admire the views from there especially around mid morning or afternoon when there are people on boats, punting up and down River Cam. Also, don’t miss the view of Trinity Bridge.
When you are done, continue on Garret Hostel Lane on the other side of the river until you reach the junction. Turn right onto Trinity Lane and continue until the next junction where you can take a detour and go right up to the rear entrance of Gonville & Gaius College library and to the rear entrance of King’s College Chapel or turn left onto Senate House Passage. Continue on Senate House Passage where you will past the side gate to Gonville & Caius College Library and the back of Senate House. At the end of the passage is Trinity Street.
Quick Turn by Turn Instructions
- On the garden path next to The Backs, head north
- Turn right onto Garret Hostel Lane and continue
- Cross the Garret Hostel Bridge
- Continue on Garret Hostel Lane until you reach a T-junction with Trinity Lane
- Turn right onto Trinity Lane then
- Turn left onto Senate House Passage
- Continue on Senate House Passage until you reach a T-junction with Trinity Street
- Turn right onto Trinity Street then continue onto pedestrianised Senate House Hill in front of Great St Mary’s, the University Church.