Garret Hostel Bridge

Cambridge, England

Garret Hostel Bridge has earned its self a very strange nickname indeed!

Discover Garret Hostel Bridge

Garret Hostel Bridge is one of ten bridges and sixth over the middle stream of the River Cam in Cambridge, England. The bridge is also one of three public bridges connecting the city centre to The Backs, alongside Silver Street Bridge and Magdalene Bridge. From its location on the river the bridge offers great views of the surrounding landscape.

Situated at the terminus of Garret Hostel Lane, the foot and cycle bridge derives its name from the former Garret Hostel, a lodging establishment demolished in the 17th century. But in recent years it has come to be known locally to students as Orgasm Bridge. Read on to find out why.

Garret Hostel Bridge: Simple and Elegant

The bridge's historical roots trace back to 1455. Since then the bridge has been rebuilt around six times, with the current bridge having been designed in the 1960s by Timothy Guy Morgan. Morgan was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge's School of Architecture and unfortunately died before the bridge’s completion.

The bridge’s design incorporates pre-stressed steel cables set in concrete, making it one of the first post-tensioned concrete bridges in the United Kingdom and giving it a modern aesthetic. This modern touch places it in contrast to the nearby Clare Bridge, the only surviving bridge from the 17th-century English Civil War.

Today, the simple yet elegant Garret Hostel Bridge proudly holds the distinction of a Listed Building, a testament to its architectural significance.

The Unique Nickname of Garret Hostel Bridge

"I've always referred to it as that [Orgasm Bridge]! But it's quite apt… Especially if you have two full Sainsburys bags in your panniers trying their best to prevent you from reaching the top!"

Apart from its architectural significance, Garret Hostel Bridge offers panoramic views of several Cambridge University highlights including King’s College, Trinity College and Trinity Hall, and St. John’s College.

This popular spot, frequented by tourists and cyclists, has also gained notoriety for its unique nickname, Orgasm Bridge.

"You hear cyclists making all sorts of funny noises and they get to the top and go oh yes!"

An anonymous person on: The Student Room.

The bridge's unusual moniker stems from its steepness, leading cyclists to produce suggestive sounds. Cambridge University students, familiar with the bridge's reputation, attribute the orgasmic references to the audible relief of cyclists reaching the summit, while others suggest its the exhilaration experienced by those speeding down the other side.

Other commentators have also expressed that the happy sounds echoing across the bridge are produced by punters from the boats below.

“It's more the punters who have made weird noises when I've been in there. 'I'm going to crash ahhhhh' in high pitched tones for about half an hour.”

Charlotte, a local who regularly crosses the bridge.

Whether it's the triumphant exhalations of cyclists conquering the ascent or the reactions of punters below, Orgasm Bridge remains a distinctive and humorous landmark in the charming city of Cambridge.

Garret Hostel Bridge 1
- Martin Pettitt

Nearby Bridges

In the vicinity of Garret Hostel Bridge in Cambridge, several other remarkable bridges contribute to the city's iconic landscape.

Mathematical Bridge

Just upstream lies the Mathematical Bridge, renowned for its distinctive appearance and fascinating history. This bridge, often associated with Queen's College and Sir Isaac Newton, has a unique mathematical design where straight timbers form a striking arched structure.

King's College Bridge

Further downstream, the 19th century King's College Bridge gracefully spans the River Cam, connecting the iconic King's College to the picturesque Backs. Unlike the more modern looking Garret Hostel Bridge this stone bridge exudes a timeless elegance that complements the historic surroundings.

Clare College Bridge

Adjacent to the Garret Hostel Bridge in Cambridge is the Clare College Bridge, which links Clare College to the heart of the city. In a style indicative of the early Stuart period, where Baroque influences are blended into an otherwise classical facade, Clare Bridge was built between 1638 and 1640 and named for the college’s founder Elizabeth de Clare.

Go Careful on the Garret Hostel Bridge

The growing popularity of this iconic site, has caused a surge in foot and cycle traffic. This has raised concerns about the safety of people traversing the Garret Hostel Bridge. Whether you are a cyclist or crossing on foot, it is paramount for everyone to be mindful of their surroundings, adhere to designated paths, and share the space responsibly.

By exercising caution and prioritising safety measures, we can collectively ensure the continued enjoyment of this historic landmark while minimising the risk of accidents.

Discover More of Cambridge With CityDays

Ready to discover more of what Cambridge has to offer?

CityDays have a brand new treasure and scavenger hunt in Cambridge, which combines the fun of an escape room with the historic facts and whimsical trivia of a walking tour!

Take the stress out of planning your visit to Cambridge and book your adventure today

Not visiting Cambridge this time? Don’t worry, you’ll find us all over the world.


What you need to know

Garret Hostel Bridge
Garret Hostel Lane Bridge, Newnham, Cambridge
52.205850, 0.113958
Tips before you visit

Cycling traffic flows both ways on the bridge so please be cautious.