A trip to England would never feel complete without punting in Cambridge and marvelling at
the sights surrounding the world-famous university that was home to legends like Professor
Stephen Hawking. A Cambridge punt involves a flat-bottomed wooden boat with a quirky
chauffeur who is most likely a resident or a student at the university. You can take a ride with
friends and family and learn about the history of Cambridge and why it has a special place in
many people’s hearts. If you are visiting the city for the first time, you might be wondering
which side of the river to take the tour from to get the best views. There are two main options
for a Cambridge punt.

The Lower River
This is a short stretch of river that runs through the heart of Cambridge University and is best if
you want to see all the famous landmarks, such as King’s College Chapel and the Mathematical
Bridge. If you want to explore the university, this is the better tour because then you will get to
enjoy all the views and stories during your Cambridge punt. This is an exceptional ride that will
give you a lot of insights into student life at this renowned establishment. During the tourist
season, this route may be the most crowded, but you can always book in advance to avoid
queues and secure tickets for your preferred timings. Unless you steal a student card or sneak
into the university, this is the best way to see all the grounds and iconic buildings even if you
spend less time on the river.

The Upper River
The upper river is a lengthier stretch that leads towards picturesque villages outside Cambridge.
Instead of gazing at buildings, you might see more natural scenery and farms. This side of the
river is less crowded, so if you are self-punting in Cambridge for the first time and need some
space to master your rowing techniques, you can practice your skills on this side without
bumping into all the tourist boats that swarm the lower river. Unlike the lower river, you can
also enjoy a more relaxing atmosphere because there are hardly any crowds at the upper river,
and you will find plenty of beautiful scenic spots for a picnic break. However, be careful of
swans and ducks that might attempt to steal your food. The lower river is a popular choice
among tourists, but the upper river is preferred by locals because of its serenity and chance to
spend more time on the river. You should not have any problems buying tickets at the last
minute, but it is always better to book those beforehand because Cambridge gets very crowded
during the warmer months. If you are only visiting for a day, you might miss out on a punting in
Cambridge tour if there are too many people and you have not booked the tour on your
favourite side of the river in advance.

A quant is a pole that is used to propel a barge or punt boat through the shallow waters while punting in Cambridge. The barge quant has a cap at the top and a prong or teeth resembling a pitchfork at the bottom. This stops the pole from sinking into the mud. A quant used for

Cambridge punting is usually around four meters or thirteen feet long and is generally made of hollow metal or wood. This way, it can always float even if it is left in the water. Depending on the size of the punt, a longer quant might be required to propel it. In earlier days, these poles were essential to drive yachts when there were no engines or if the wind was not strong enough. Sailors for large vessels relied on quant poles that were at least twenty-six feet long. Aside from propelling a Cambridge punt, the quant is used to steer the boats by acting as a rudder. The rudder is a primary control surface that helps boats move through the water. The chauffeur using the quant can quickly stick it behind the punt to safely control and navigate the direction it moves. There is also a common saying, “I wouldn’t touch that thing with a barge pole,” or “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole,” which usually referred to a long pole that is meant to tread through dirty slush and mud at the bottom of a river.

How to Use A Quant

The main reason quants are used for punting is to propel the boat from the rear or front deck. The angle that the chauffeur holds the quant depends on how deep the water is and how fast they want to travel. For large tour groups, they will go relatively slow because punting in Cambridge is a relaxing trip for you to see the sights around the university, so you might notice that they are not holding the quant at a steeper level, which is meant for deep waters. This is because the bottom of the quant should be able to reach the bed of the canal, and a shallower angle is needed for speed. Your chauffeur might hold it relatively straight because they do not want to go all fast and furious with families and children on board.

Your Cambridge punting chauffeur will drive the quant downward and then push it slightly back, which propels the punt. On larger boats, the chauffeur will walk along the side of the punt and brace against the quant to drive forward at the speed they are walking in. For reversing, the quant needs to be pushed forwards and then pulled out of the water. Your chauffeur will place their hand over it and then pull up, as though they are climbing up and down the pole. While punting in Cambridge, the chauffeur will usually stand at the back for most of the rider and then slide their quant in the water at a forward angle. This will glide the punt loosely in the direction they want it to go. They will then push the quant just past a vertical angle, sloping it downwards from front to the back of your punt, and then push on the quant to propel forward. At the end of this stroke, the quant gets twisted with a downward roll of their wrist to break it free from the bottom and then retrieve it by throwing their hands forward, getting ready for the next stroke. You will notice how smooth and rhythmic this style is, which is the best form to give you a safe yet adventurous ride that will satisfy all your Cambridge tourist needs.

Punting in Cambridge is the most popular activity that is enjoyed by residents and tourists every
year. You can either go book a tour with a group or hire a punt to enjoy exploring the historic
River Cam. A traditional punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow that is perfect for
rowing on shallow water and small rivers. They were initially used as cargo boats and are now
used for pleasure trips for those who want to enjoy the sights around the world-famous
Cambridge University. These boats can be rented by the hour if you want to experience your
own unique Cambridge adventure. If you are hiring a punt, you will need to know how to row
safely along the narrow and crowded waters because punting is not easy. Here are some
rowing techniques to learn for your next self-punt to ensure safety for everybody on board.

Rowing Style for Cambridge Punting
The most basic technique for a Cambridge punt is to push the boat along with the quant, which
is the long pole you will be using while shoving it directly against the riverbed. The Cambridge
tradition most punters use requires them to stand on the back of the boat and punt forward
with the open end. The River Cam is narrow and very crowded full of punts, but you will see
most chauffeurs using this style, which is known as the “Cambridge End.”

Rowing Technique for Beginners
When you have a firm grip on the quant, stand near the back or “Till.” It would be best to
position yourself closest to the side as much as balance allows as you look over the side of the
punt. Using your forward hand, push the pole down vertically close to the side of your punt and
guide it with your lower hand. Let the quant fall down all the way until you feel it touch the
bottom of the riverbed, and then reach forward with both hands by gently pushing the pole
past your chest. It is essential to be gentle for the first time so that you can control your
steering. When you complete each stroke, relax your muscles and let the pole float upwards
behind you like a rudder. This relaxation habit after each stroke will prevent you from falling
over if the quant gets stuck unexpectedly.

Rowing Technique for Experienced Punters
Instead of using the quant as a rudder, more experienced punters will steer during their
strokes. They do this by standing forward further and stay close to one side of the punt. If they
want to turn the boat in the direction they are facing, they throw the pole close to the punt and
pull it towards them. This type of stroke is known as “Pinching” the punt. To face the other way,
they throw the pole slightly further out and pull their feet towards it. This style is called
“Shoving around.” Some Cambridge punters with a lot of experience might also use a one-
handed technique, which is more challenging. The one-handed method requires a punter to
throw the pole forward instead of pulling up, which is a “Bucket recovery.” The advantage of
doing this is so the punter can drop their pole directly onto the riverbed at an angle facing their position without slowing momentum. The pole is in a vertical position, and pressure is applied
to steer the punt. This style is beneficial if you want more power in fast-flowing streams or if
the punt is already racing.

There is nothing more British than going punting in Cambridge on a hot summer evening as the sun sets across the River Cam, and the glistening water under long drooping trees surround you. Thousands of visitors travel from across the world to go on a punting tour to hear fascinating stories about the renowned university that was once home to Stephen Hawking. A Cambridge punt will always bring out the proud magic of England because it is a rich historical experience. Going on gondola rides in Venice while listening to “When the moon hits your eyes,” is also a lot of fun, but you should never confuse these relaxing favourites. Here are the main differences between punting and gondola rides.

The Location

The best place to go punting is on the River Cam in Cambridge, where you will cross the shallow, narrow waters that surround the colleges. You will hear vivid stories about all the famous people who graduated from Cambridge University and went on to change the world. The most notable alumni members are Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Prince Charles, Emma Thompson, Stephen Hawking, Sylvia Plath, and many more.

Although a Cambridge punt is suitable for large groups or couples who want a romantic ride, you can hear a lot of historical facts about all the colleges, and even some funny stories involving students. A gondola ride is famous in Italy. Although gondolas have a reputation for Italian romance, you can also ride one in groups with friends or other tourists. Since most of Venice consists of waterways, it is the best way to explore the city.

The Boat

Gondolas used to be a symbol of power for Venetian families, which is why they all decorated gondolas differently to represent each other. The final shape of the gondola reached around eleven meters, and the stern and bow were lifted higher. This gave it a stronger symmetry and made it easier to control. A gondola operator would propel the boat by rowing a type of oar that is unique to Venice, and they do not need to be in shallow waters. A Cambridge punt, on the other hand, is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow. It is designed to use in shallow water or small rivers. The punt is propelled by pushing the pole or quant against the bottom of the lake. Punts are usually the colour of the wood that is used to make them, whereas gondolas are all painted black for uniformity.

The Operator

A punt boat operator in Cambridge is called a “Chauffeur.” Most chauffeurs who ride on the River Cam are students from the university, and you should pick their brains for interesting titbits that are not mentioned in any brochures. Since they are British, they might sound a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch. Gondola operators are called “Gondoliers,” and they wear regulated clothing that consists of a striped red or navy t-shirt, or a white sailor’s shirt. In the movies gondoliers often serenade romantic couples with classics like “That’s Amore,” but they are not forced to sing anything in real life, so you should not expect them to. While punting in Cambridge, anybody can sing if they want to, if it they do not disturb other passengers during the ride.

Did you know that Cambridge is where the hole in the ozone layer and gravity were discovered? There are so many incredible things that Cambridge has contributed to the world. This city is globally renowned for its creativity, inventiveness, and breath-taking natural surroundings.
Here are the top reasons why you should always choose to go punting in Cambridge rather than any other place.

Cambridge Rules

Cambridge is the birthplace of football and the earliest record of the game dates to 1579. In 1848, a group of representatives and students from Cambridge drafted a set of rules and pinned them to the trees surrounding Parker’s Piece, which is a massive open park in the centre of Cambridge that you can visit after your punting tour. The “Cambridge Rules” were then adopted by all the teams in the area. England’s leading clubs got together to form the Football Association in 1863, and Cambridge Rules was the basis for the new FA rules.

A History of Evolution

Charles Darwin was a student at Christ’s College in Cambridge and was inspired by his professor, who established the city’s botanic garden. Darwin founded evolutionary biology, which shook the world and published “Origin of Species,” that shaped the way future generations learn about human evolution.

IVF Treatments

This medical procedure has been a lifeline for many people around the world who struggle to start a family. It was developed in Cambridge by Robert Edwards, a decade after he proved the technique by fertilizing an egg outside the womb. The world’s first test-tube baby was born in 1978, and Edwards received a well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Artificial Intelligence

If you have not seen the movie “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, you are seriously missing out. It is based on the true story of Alan Turing, who was a Cambridge Mathematician, and the father of artificial intelligence and computer science. He had built a computer called Christopher that successfully cracked an unbreakable German Enigma code during the Second World War.

Gravity

Sir Isaac Newton was a famous scholar and student at Cambridge University. He was sitting on the grounds one day when an apple fell on his head and helped him develop the theory of gravity. In 1687, he also established the fact that planets revolve around the sun, and gravity is the force that controls this. This publication became the foundation of modern physics, and the world knew that Cambridge is an unbeatable city when it comes to education and sciences.

A Collection of Nobel Prizes

When you are punting in Cambridge and admiring the beautiful views on the River Cam, remember that this city has ninety-six Nobel Prizes. These were awarded for outstanding discoveries related to medicine, chemistry, economics, literature, and peace. Thirty-two winners were from Trinity College alone.

There are many more fascinating contributions that Cambridge has made to the world. These include the works of Stephen Hawking, Joe Farman, and many famous poets like Sylvia Plath and William Wordsworth. You should take a Cambridge punting tour with loved ones, and your chauffeur will share more incredible stories about why this city is the best.

Just because Halloween is over, it does not mean that going on a haunted trip and hearing
about ghosts isn’t still a lot of fun. Instead of the usual walking tours, why not take a ride
through the River Cam and hear spooky stories about Cambridge University that will put every
horror movie to shame. This will make punting in Cambridge a lot more exciting, especially if
you want a little more thrill rather than the usual stories about the architecture.
St. John’s College
This college is one where people have reported several haunted sightings and bizarre incidents.
It was built on a Medieval hospital that was forced to shut down. You can ask your chauffeur
about the ghost of Doctor James Wood, who was an impoverished student at the college. He
could not even afford a light in his room while students today are spoiled with laptops,
televisions, and mobile phones. Back in the day, he used to sit in the O staircase in the Second
Court and use the light from other rooms to work through the night. Some people reported
that his apparition is still haunting the same place at nights and surprised a few students by
following them to their rooms.
Another famous ghost is James Ashton, who was brutally murdered in 1746 in the First Court
next to the library. He was discovered stabbed in his room, and everybody suspected that his
friend John Brinkley killed him. However, Brinkley escaped justice because his father had some
very powerful lawyers. He fled after the murder, and Ashton’s angry spirit can sometimes be
heard screaming loudly in the building.

King’s College
King’s College is a very popular haunting site. This is because the founder, King Henry VI, had
gone insane after prison when he was defeated in the War of the Roses. The chapel was used
during the civil war by Oliver Cromwell to house parliamentarian cavalrymen. Students at
Cambridge have reported noises coming from inside the chapel at night. You might hear horses
neighing and soldiers scraping their feet. Even the police were called many times by students
and teachers because they spotted moving figures on the roof.
Another unusual haunting story is that of Barret’s Coffin. A scholar named Barret was a very
eccentric person and lived in the Gibbs Building while strangely keeping a coffin. People often
heard him screaming loudly throughout the night but ignored him because of his quirky
personality. One day, the screaming stopped, and when scholars entered his room, they found
him dead, lying in his coffin with a smile on his face. For a long time, the Gibbs building was no
longer used for accommodation because people could not sleep and always complained about
the random screaming. It was so bad to a point where the college tried exorcising the building.
The exorcism did not work, and now people just continue to tolerate whatever happened in the
building.

Clare College
When you are punting in Cambridge, ask your chauffeur about the Black Widow of the Cam.
Her name was Elizabeth De Clare, and she was married off to the richest man in England against
her wishes when she was only twelve years old. Her husband died after the wedding, and
Elizabeth had to remarry. Her second husband also passed away after getting married. Then she
went on to marry a third wealthy husband, who perished from food poisoning. Elizabeth
became the richest woman in Europe and was unstoppable. Then the people of Cambridge
formed a mob and tortured her until she confessed to murdering all her husbands. The local
men tied Elizabeth to a boat and floated her until Clare Bridge, where she was then killed by
burning arrows. She suffered an agonizing death, and her vengeful spirit continues haunting the
River Cam.

Cambridge is an exceptionally scenic and ancient university city. There are many romantic
activities for couples to celebrate their love and punting in Cambridge is an excellent way to
each other’s company. You can surprise your partner with a tour on the River Cam and relax
while you are being chauffeured around this beautiful location.
Instead of sharing a punt with other tourists, you can hire a private ride to take your significant
other on the most exciting historical journey. While booking the tour, ask your company to
personalize the ride. Rather than going the usual route, you can let them know about any
special preferences. The tour company can make suggestions about which are the best spots.
The River Cam provides the most gorgeous setting for a romantic outing, and it is inspirational
to share that with a special person. Ask your chauffeur to take photos of you together so that
those memories can last forever.
This is one of the most relaxing tours after exploring the city together. After spending the day in
Cambridge, your significant other would really appreciate getting a chance to sit back and rest
their feet while taking in more breath-taking sights. The boat can be decorated with rose petals,
and cushions to give you the best experience possible. If this does not impress your date,
nothing else will. If you are celebrating an anniversary together, you can arrange to have a
chilled bottle of champagne on board with flutes to sip along the ride while toasting your
relationship.
You do not have to worry about the weather because the tour operator will have blankets and
covers on the punt. They can even supply you with strawberries and cream to share together to
make the trip extra special. The views you will see along the way are nothing short of
something from a Jane Austen novel, which is what makes Cambridge such a romantic city.
There are lots of activities for couples to partake in and strengthen their bond. After the
romantic punting tour, you can stop at a quiet spot to have a picnic in the nearby gardens. If it
is not too cloudy, you will see the most magnificent sunset from the water that will literally take
your breath away. Dusk is the most romantic time of the day when the sun is going down, and
you can stroll under the soft pastel-coloured sky while holding hands as all the buildings light up
around you.
At the end of the night, you should cosy up together in a local pub, especially one that has a
wood-burning fireplace to set the mood. Enjoy some great food and drinks in Cambridge, and
before you know it, you will be coming back to this city for more. Traveling together with loved
ones is one of the most unique experiences. As you look at all the beautiful sights together, you
are celebrating that there is nobody else you would rather be with to share these magical
moments.

Punting in Cambridge is a fantastically quirky tourist activity that is both informative and a lot of fun. You can learn a lot about the exhilarating history of Cambridge while punting down the River Cam. A punt is a narrow flat-bottomed boat that will remind you of a Venetian gondola with the removed curve. Punting along the River Cam is a traditional delight that everyone must experience at least once. Unless it is a hectic season, you do not need to book a ticket in advance. There will be plenty of chauffeurs ready to take you and your group on a guided tour. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

If you want to try punting on your own, you can hire a punt for the day. This can be challenging for first-time punters, and many of them get laughed at, especially when their pole or quant gets stuck in the riverbed. If you are inexperienced and want to impress a date with a self-punt, we highly recommend against it. Many people travel around England with their pets and have asked if they are allowed on a punting tour. Some companies do permit pets to join you for the thrill, but there are some minor safety precautions to consider.

Punting is a truly timeless, and eccentric idyllic pleasure where you sit and enjoy a ride down the river while admiring the wildlife and Cambridge University sights around you. Keep in mind that the punt boat has a flat bottom with a square-cut bow. It is designed for use on shallow water and small rivers. This can be risky for pets unless they can sit completely still during the ride. Everyone on a punt must sit close to the centre, and the boat is low enough for your hand to touch the water. If you have a jumpy dog who tends to bounce around, then punting may not be for them.

A guided tour with other tourists might not allow your pet to join. This is because some people do not feel comfortable sitting too close to a pet, especially if they have any allergies. Your chauffeur will let you know if your pet can be allowed or not. If you really want your pet to join, there are pet-friendly companies, or you can hire a private punting tour just for your group. You will still have a skilled chauffeur to do all the hard work while you kick back and enjoy yourself. This way, there will be more space on the punt for your dog to lie down and stretch.

Small dogs are more comfortable to bring on a punting tour, whereas big breed dogs can be a challenge. Make sure they are not frightened or too excited during the ride. Keep them close to you in the centre of the punt. The best is to let the dog sit between you and someone else so that they are not at the edge in case they tip overboard. It is exceptionally safe to punt in Cambridge, especially with the talented chauffeurs who have been doing this for a very long time. However, it is always recommended to keep an eye on pets if you do bring them for a tour.

Cambridge has a wealth of fascinating history that captures the soul. Punting in Cambridge is
the most popular tourist activity for a reason because you get to see all the beautiful
architecture and hear the most enthralling stories. Cambridge is also a very picturesque
location if you enjoy taking photographs or even a few selfies for Instagram. Here are the best
spots for your next punting adventure on the River Cam, so that you can truly experience
everything that Cambridge is famously known around the world for.

Mathematical Bridge
This historical bridge was built during the seventeenth century and was inspired by bridges in
China. You can see that very little material was used to create this long-lasting structure. Most
people believe that the bridge was designed by Sir Isaac Newton. But it was his student, William
Etheridge, who designed it in 1748. The bridge is right beside Queen’s College, which is one of
the oldest and largest colleges at Cambridge. It was founded in 1448 and spans both sides of
the River Cam. You should ask your punting chauffeur to tell you all about the bridge’s design,
and how the timber sturdily holds it in place despite being a weak material.

The Wren Library
The Wren Library was built in 1695, part of Trinity College in Cambridge. It was designed by
famous British architect Sir Christopher Wren, constructed in 1695. The same architect also
designed the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. This is one of the most beautiful views on
the River Cam, especially during sunset. Sir Isaac Newton, Prince Charles, George VI, Eddie
Redmayne, and many more have studied in this library during their time at Trinity College.

Bridge of Sighs
This gorgeous bridge looks like something from Harry Potter. It was named after the Venetian
Bridge of Sighs by Queen Victoria. It was built back in 1831 by Henry Hutchinson. The bridge
crosses the River Cam linking between the New Court and Third Court colleges. Queen Victoria
once said that this was her favorite spot in the city, and that’s how this bridge became such a
popular tourist attraction. There is also a common myth that the word “Sighs” came from
Cambridge University students who were very stressed during exams. In 1928,

Touring Cambridge during winter is a magical experience. You can still go punting in Cambridge and breathe in the gorgeous surroundings on the River Cam, without the summer crowds. However, it does tend to get very chilly, and we have some tips to help you stay warm and cozy throughout your punting adventure.

Wear A Winter Coat

The British weather is unpredictable and can be unforgiving. You could be caught in freezing temperatures, especially from wind chill. It might also rain unexpectedly, so make sure to pack a decent waterproof winter coat. This will keep you sufficiently warm enough to enjoy your Cambridge punting trip. Otherwise, you might not appreciate the beautiful views if your body is numb.

Have Good Walking Boots

Even though your feet will always stay dry when you are sitting in a punt, the grassy areas surrounding the river might be muddy and slippery. High-quality and warm boots will ensure that your feet are warm and avoid any dangerous falls, especially if there is melted ice on the ground. Boots will also make you look classier and more stylish compared to wearing trainers in winter.

Don’t Forget Your Camera

In the modern digital world, people often say, “Pics or it didn’t happen!” Although we encourage every punter to live in the moment and enjoy their scenic trip, it wouldn’t hurt to take some incredible photos and share them on social media. That is the best way to make friends and family feel jealous that they missed out. You do not need to have a professional DSLR camera hanging around your neck all the time. A smartphone is more than enough to capture the majestic beauty of Cambridge and share those memories with loved ones back home.

Bring Gloves and A Hat

The weather in Cambridge can feel freezing during winter. A warm woolly hat and gloves will be necessary to keep you warm so you can enjoy the entire ride on the River Cam. You can also do a walking tour around Cambridge University after the punt and hold hands with loved ones without freezing your fingers.

Carry A Thermos

It is impossible to enjoy an authentic British tour without some hot tea. You can carry a thermos with some tea to sip on during your punting trip. This will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your tummy as you take in all the sights and learn the most fascinating titbits about the famous university. If you are not a big fan of tea, try some mulled wine with cloves, cinnamon, and citrus. Mulled wine is also one of the most popular hot drinks to have in England during winter because it warms and satisfies the soul.