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Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

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#21 of 180 in Things to do in Oxford
Hertford Bridge, often called "the Bridge of Sighs", is a skyway joining two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane in Oxford, England. Its distinctive design makes it a city landmark.Misnomer and mythThe bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice. However, Hertford Bridge was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and instead it bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city.There is a false legend saying that many decades ago, a survey of the health of students was taken, and as Hertford College's students were the heaviest, the college closed off the bridge to force them to take the stairs, giving them extra exercise. However, if the bridge is not used, the students actually climb fewer stairs than if they do use the bridge.BuildingThe bridge links together the Old and New Quadrangles of Hertford College (to the south and the north respectively), and much of its current architecture was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson. It was completed in 1914, despite its construction being opposed by New College.The building on the southern side of the bridge houses the College's administrative offices, whereas the northern building is mostly student accommodation. The bridge is always open to members of the College, who can often be seen crossing it.
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  • August 20, 2017
    We passed under the Bridge of Sighs several times during our visit to Oxford. Oh yes, this is the Bridge of Sighs ... modeled after the one in Venice, but in such a lovely setting in Oxford.  more »
  • August 18, 2017
    The meaning of the legs and the same name in Venice are slightly different. Venice bridge across the legs of those on death row, but Oxford's bridge is a bridge in this gateway to the students passing by.
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  • August 16, 2017
    I happened upon this as I walked unguided around Oxford. It is quite immediately recognisable from the TV and is a definite photo opportunity. I had seen it marked upon the maps at various points thro...  more »

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Where to stay in Oxford

An inexpensive alternative to Oxford's pricey hotels, historical college room lodgings provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the city's old-world academic atmosphere without having to pass exams. Offering more than just comfortable beds and warm meals, centrally located college B&Bs provide visitors with a glimpse into the ancient world of Oxford academia. These rooms are mainly available during school vacations, when students clear out of their dormitories. At other times of year, explore the varied world of Oxford's elegant hotels and private guesthouses.
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