Bridge of Sighs
There are two ways for travelers to get a glimpse at the Bridge of Sighs. Pay to enter St. John’s College and get front-on views of the bridge from the midway point of Kitchen Bridge, which sits south of the Bridge of Sighs, or take a punting tour down the River Cam.
During punting tours, a guide typically skippers the boat, navigating it down the river past the riverside lawns and gardens of Cambridge University colleges—an area known as the Backs—and under the Bridge of Sighs.
Things to know before you go
- While travelers can enter St. John’s College to view the bridge, they are not permitted to walk across it.
- Bring your camera; the Bridge of Sighs makes a picturesque backdrop for vacation photos.
- St. John’s College is wheelchair accessible.
How to get there
The Bridge of Sighs is in St. John’s College in the center of Cambridge. Walking from Market Square takes about 5 minutes, while the walk from the Cambridge train station takes about 30 minutes. The route U (Universal bus) stops nearby.
When to get there
St. John’s College is open all year round but closes to visitors over Christmas and the New Year, mid-June, and for select events throughout the year; it’s worth checking opening times ahead of your visit. Go in the morning when there are fewer crowds. Punting tours run all year round; expect fewer boats and a more tranquil experience in winter.
The Myth Behind the Name
According to legend, the Bridge of Sighs in Venice takes its name from the prisoners who used to sigh while crossing the bridge on their way to the New Prisons. Cambridge’s Bridge of Sighs has a similar myth: its name supposedly references the sighs of students on their way to and from exams. In reality, however, Cambridge’s bridge was named by Queen Victoria because it reminded her of the Venice original.