Bridge of Sighs
Hertford College, of which the Bridge of Sighs forms part, is closed to visitors, with the exception of alumni, students’ guests, and prospective applicants, so there’s no way to cross the Bridge of Sighs itself. It’s easy enough to admire it from street level when exploring downtown Oxford, either independently or on an Oxford walking or cycling tour. Although New College Lane is narrow, plenty of Oxford tours include a photo-stop here.
Things to Know Before You Go
A stop at the Bridge of Sighs is a must on any photography tour of Oxford.
The official name of the Bridge of Sighs is Hertford Bridge.
New College Lane is wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Bridge of Sighs spans New College Lane in central Oxford, a stone’s throw from the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera. Almost everyone explores central Oxford on foot, or occasionally by bicycle, and it’s easiest to arrive by bus or train. Most London trains start from Paddington, while the popular Oxford Tube coach service stops at Shepherd’s Bush, Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch, and Victoria.
When to Get There
As one of the University of Oxford’s signature sights, and within easy reach of the Bodleian Library, the Bridge of Sighs attracts plenty of visitors, especially over the summer peak (roughly late June through August). Your best chance at an uninterrupted shot of the structure is to visit either early or late in the day, before or after the group tours leave.
The Many, Many Bridges of Sighs
It’s not clear how Hertford Bridge acquired its nickname, but it joins a host of other Bridges of Sighs, from Nevada to Stockholm. Venice’s Bridge of Sighs got its name because it linked a prison and an interrogation room, and Cambridge’s Bridge of Sighs was likely named for the Venetian original, although some associate the sighing with the rigors of university examinations.
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