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The Backs

by Emily Smith
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About The Backs

The Backs is a picturesque and iconic area in Cambridge, England, renowned for its scenic views and tranquil atmosphere. It is situated along the River Cam and features lush green meadows, historic college buildings, and charming bridges that span the river. Many visitors and locals alike enjoy strolling along the riverbanks, taking in the stunning views of the backs of the colleges that line the water's edge. The Backs provide a peaceful retreat from the bustling city center, offering a serene setting for relaxation and contemplation. This area is steeped in history and academic tradition, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Cambridge.

Interesting facts about The Backs

  1. The Backs is a picturesque area in Cambridge, England, known for its stunning views of the college buildings along the River Cam.
  2. It is named "The Backs" because the back gardens of several colleges back onto the river, creating a beautiful riverside landscape.
  3. The area is also home to several famous bridges, including the Mathematical Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs.
  4. Punting is a popular activity on the River Cam, and The Backs is a popular route for punting tours.
  5. Many of the colleges along The Backs have stunning gardens that are open to the public, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city.
  6. The area is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to stroll, picnic, or relax by the river.
  7. Historically, The Backs were used as pasture land for grazing cattle belonging to the colleges.
  8. John Harvard, the founder of Harvard University, attended Cambridge University and likely strolled The Backs during his time there.
  9. The Backs offer a unique perspective of Cambridge's iconic architecture, showcasing the blend of medieval and modern buildings along the riverbanks.
  10. Visiting The Backs is a must-do experience for anyone exploring Cambridge and offers a glimpse into the city's rich history and academic heritage.

Frequently asked questions about The Backs

1. What is The Backs in Cambridge known for?

The Backs is known for its picturesque gardens and historic college buildings that line the River Cam.

2. How many colleges in Cambridge have gardens backing onto the river?

There are seven colleges in Cambridge with gardens that back onto the River Cam, creating The Backs.

3. Can visitors walk along The Backs in Cambridge?

Yes, visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the paths that run alongside The Backs, offering beautiful views of the colleges and gardens.

4. What is the best time of year to visit The Backs?

The best time to visit The Backs is during the spring and summer months when the gardens are in full bloom and the weather is usually pleasant.

5. Are punting tours available along The Backs?

Yes, punting tours are available for visitors to experience The Backs from the river, providing a unique perspective of the historic buildings and lush gardens.

6. Which famous poet wrote about The Backs in one of his works?

The poet Rupert Brooke wrote about The Backs in his poem "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester," capturing the beauty of the area.

7. How long is the scenic walk along The Backs in Cambridge?

The walk along The Backs is approximately 2 miles long, offering plenty of opportunities to admire the college buildings and gardens.

8. Are there any historic bridges that cross the River Cam along The Backs?

Yes, there are several historic bridges that cross the River Cam along The Backs, such as the Mathematical Bridge and the Clare Bridge.

9. Can visitors have a picnic along The Backs?

Yes, visitors are welcome to have a picnic along The Backs, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

10. What is the significance of The Backs in Cambridge's history?

The Backs has been an integral part of Cambridge's history, serving as a place of inspiration for poets, scholars, and visitors alike, and showcasing the city's rich academic heritage.

What people love about The Backs

I recently visited The Backs and found the scenery to be quite captivating. The view of the historical buildings alongside the River Cam was truly impressive. Walking along the lush green banks was a delightful experience, offering a sense of tranquility amidst the bustling city. The architectural beauty of the colleges added to the charm of the area, making it a must-visit spot for anyone exploring Cambridge. I highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll along The Backs to appreciate the beauty of this picturesque location.

How to get to The Backs

To get to The Backs, a picturesque area in Cambridge, England, you have several options depending on where you are coming from:

1. If you are arriving by train: From Cambridge Railway Station, you can either take a taxi or a bus to The Backs. Taxis are readily available outside the station and the journey should take around 10-15 minutes depending on traffic. Alternatively, you can catch a local bus from the station to the city center and then walk to The Backs, which is about a 15-20 minute walk.

2. If you are arriving by car: There are several car parks in Cambridge city center where you can park your vehicle and then walk to The Backs. Queens Road Car Park and Grand Arcade Car Park are both within a short walking distance.

3. If you are coming from the city center: The Backs is located behind the colleges along the River Cam, so you can easily walk there from most parts of central Cambridge. Simply follow signs for the River Cam or ask locals for directions to The Backs.

Once you reach The Backs, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river, admire the historic colleges and beautifully landscaped gardens, and take in the scenic views of the iconic Cambridge landmarks. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this unique area.

When to visit

The best time to visit The Backs in Cambridge is typically during the spring and summer months, from April to September. During these months, you can enjoy pleasant weather, blooming flowers, and the picturesque scenery along the River Cam. Springtime, in particular, offers the opportunity to see the famous Cambridge University colleges as well as the beautiful gardens in full bloom. Summer brings warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, ideal for leisurely walks along The Backs and punting on the river. However, it's important to keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices. Overall, the spring and summer months provide the best overall experience for visiting The Backs in Cambridge.

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