Winter in Cambridge is more like your daily advent calendar that offers something different and unique each day. The curious part is you will never know what the next day provides, but be ready for excitement.

Cambridge In Winter

The Cambridge winters offer a heavenly atmosphere anyone falls in love with. The city is a tiny beautiful piece of geography in the United Kingdom. But it is filled with full of astonishments that make it a fascinating and lively leisure retreat hotspot. The winter in the UK is undoubtedly chilly, and a picnic during the season is more of an adventure. But still, embrace the English weather by wrapping yourself warm. It is a truly rejuvenating experience for your inner soul. Cambridge winters offer numerous options to cherish the winter because Christmas is to be celebrated to the fullest.

Illumined in the Christmas lights, the Cambridge winters is an aesthetically astonishing atmosphere. To add to the serenity, one can choose Cambridge punting in the River Cam that brings tranquillity to their inner self. Above all, the River Cam blanket cased with snow and the quiet Cambridge college backs with cherry and daffodil blossoms are the perfect portraits for photographers. And you can use the best of it with punting through College Backs during a winter morning when the river has zero traffic.

Punting during winter is the perfect chance to get a majestic shot of the architecture, charismatic scenery and wildlife, regardless of the time of the day. Photographers consistently look for that extra ‘attraction’ to make a shoot stand out in uniqueness The tranquillity that the winter in River Cam offers is the perfect answer to the dream shot for a photographer.

Punting In Cambridge

Cambridge is known for its punting activity all around the world. The scenic beauty of the place is best explored through punting. Although, many people see punting as a warm-weather activity, punting during winter is bliss to the eyes and soul. The best part of punting during winters is the serene winter scenery deprived of the hustle and bustle of summer on the river.

The weather would be freezing. But the Cambridge punting companies provide extra blankets and warm water bottles to keep you warm and cosy. The winter punting can be experienced from November to March, and it is easier to book a punting during these times as there is not much traffic during this season.

The best part is you will be the only one on the river, and you will float past the Cambridge Bridges and the tranquil Cambridge Backs, and you soak up some of the magic that the winter in Cambridge brings.

The Christmas Arrives

The chilling and cosy winter is the greatest season of celebrations. December marks the arrival of a festive season with the Christmas traditions. With lighting the Christmas tree, wrapping the presents, hanging starts, decorating gingerbread houses and baking with family, Christmas is full of surprises and contentment.

Christmas traditions never get complete without the joyful Christmas carols. Christmas is the time when we embrace our legacy with the old traditional songs that have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. Carols are sung to celebrate the sacred birth of Jesus Christ.

A Punting Christmas

We introduce you to an idea of a unique Christmas in Cambridge that can be red-lettered with the most magnificent memories. The river Cam in winter is a serene picturesque that anyone would fall in love with. Think of a well-lit Christmas eve and a calm Christmas morning gliding through the still river embraced with the aesthetics of the mere atmosphere. It would be a magnificent experience. 

Think of an early Christmas morning, you gather with your friends and family at our punting station for an exclusive punting trip through the College Backs. Let’s celebrate the festive of harmony, together with our loved ones amid a serene ambience. Singing carols while gliding through the River Cam through the Chapel, sharing the desserts and cakes to rejoice in the harmony and finally ending with a drink to warm ourselves in the chilling weather would be a unique and most fascinating Christmas celebration one could have.

So, let the year 2021 be red-lettered in your memories for the unique Cambridge Christmas you celebrated.

Punting in Cambridge is a fantastically quirky tourist activity that is both informative and much 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.

Punting in Cambridge with Pets

If you want to try punting on your own, you can hire a punt for the day. It 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 permit pets to join you for the thrill, but some minor safety precautions must be considered. Our pets are our best friends. It is a privilege to include them in our favourite trips. And they’ll love anything that we are interested in.

Punting in Cambridge 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 in shallow water and small rivers. It 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.

Things to be Cared of while Punting with Pets

Some people feel uncomfortable sitting too close to a pet, especially if they have any allergies. Hence, a guided tour with other tourists might not allow your pet to join in some cases. Your chauffeur will let you know if your pet can be allowed or not. If you are adamant about your pet joining you in punting, 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.

Well behaved small canines 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. There might be ducks and swans swimming in the river. While you enjoy the architectural excellence of the College buildings, these little creatures gliding in the river attract children and pets. There are chances for your pet dogs and cats to get zealous with the picturesque and serene environment. Make sure that they are under control. Make sure that you have packed enough food for your pets before heading on for a punting.

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 if 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 bring them for a tour.

The River Cam is said to be the heart of Cambridge as it glides through the world-famous Cambridge College University. Punting on the River Cam in a traditional Cambridge punt is an escape from the swamped life into a serene and blissful scenery that freshens our minds.

Your 45 minutes of punting in Cambridge would be a stupendous experience with the views of all the world-famous Cambridge landmarks including the King’s College Chapel, The Wren Library at the Trinity College, and the masterpieces like the Bridge of Sighs, Mathematical Bridge, and many more. Punting in Cambridge is a perfect outdoor activity for a weekend trip in Cambridge and serves as a perfect destination for any kind of celebration.

Steeped in History

When it comes to history, not just the River Cam punting, but the sightseeing it offers has a story to narrate. If in a chauffeured punt, the expert punter omniscient about the history of Cambridge and Great Britain transforms your punting experience into a red-lettered one. Gliding through the river and listening to the history of punting is an impeccable experience.

The acclaimed traditions of education and higher learning from Cambridge University is well known all over the world. The Charter of King Henry III founded the university in 1209 and Cambridge serves to be the second oldest English speaking university in the world.

When it comes to the history of punting, punts were developed in medieval times to provide a stable craft in shallow water areas. One such area was the Fens, the marshy flatlands to the north of Cambridge, where punts were used in the local trades such as reed-cutting, fowling, eel fishing and transporting cargo until Charles drained out Fens in the late nineteenth century for making the super fertile land suitable for farming.

The first-ever punts are associated with fishing in the river Thames. Pleasure punts in the river Thames, specifically built for recreation and entertainment became popular between 1860 and 1880.

See the Sights Whilst Punting on the River Cam

The Vintage Buildings

If you are starting your 45 minutes trip from Mathematical Bridge, you could start the amazing trip being fascinated with the geometry of this epic bridge. Gliding through the river, and passing the bridge, the enormous Queen’s College that was built in 1448 awaits you to your right. The mathematical bridge itself is an extension of Queen’s college. You will be surrounded by vintage buildings on both sides. Moving on, St Catharine’s built-in 1473 is to your right and you will have vast greenery that imparts a serene and subtle feeling to your minds on the left. 

On the way, you could see other tourists enjoying their punting trip like you. It is estimated to have more than 0.5 million punting tourists every year. While waving to your fellow punters and enjoying the views on both sides, glimpses of 1209 built University College starts to appear. The view of this enormous college and its distinctive building is eye-catching view. Far behind, the King’s College Bridge built-in 1819 awaits you. You could see traces of the people walking over it even from miles away. 

The Serene View

Passing the bridge, a widespread green field where the cattle graze would be on your left and the massive King’s College built-in 1441 on the right. It is continued with the College Chapel built-in 1446. The immense college campus and the clear blue sky over it offers a lifetime view. You could extend your vision to the Claire College bridge built in 1640s, even from miles apart. Immediately as you travel beneath the bridge, your right side would enhance the beauty of your vision with the Claire college campus that was built in 1326. 

Then comes the Trinity Hall built-in 1350 to your right. The river Cam is a great place to spot wildlife including ducks, swans and herons. You could see the ducks swimming in the river, while you punt. The recently built (2005) Jerwood Library is a reflection of modern architecture. It also has a bridge connected. 

The Masterpieces

Now, gliding through the river, you reach the Trinity College Bridge built-in 1764. Passing the bridge, you find 1546 built Trinity College to your right. Being refreshed and rejoiced by the views, and feeding the ducks swimming in the river, you could watch the New Court built-in 1831 at your left, the 1709 built Kitchen Bridge awaits you on your way. It will be soon followed by its sibling, The bridge of Sighs built in 1831. St Johns who owns both the bridges are seen to the right. Unlike other bridges, public passengers are not allowed to pass through the Bridge of Sighs

Thus, Punting in Cambridge is the only way for tourists to enjoy this masterpiece. Later, you can see the Cripps Building to your left and far away, gliding through the river Cam, you could see the Magdalene Bridge built in 1823. It even carries buses over it. Passing the Magdalene Bridge, you reach the Magdalene College built-in 1428. 

The punting experience is truly mesmerising irrespective of the season. The cherry and daffodil blossoms that line up the river is an eye-catching view. You can even make your punting during winter a remarkable one, by wrapping yourself in a blanket and staying warm and cosy in the punt. Although you’ll be frozen with cold, the experience would be adventurous and the sights the nature offers would be an impeccable one.

Touring Cambridge during winter is a magical experience. And, winter is an even better season for many people to go punting in Cambridge. Even though the temperatures can drastically drop, punting is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding winter activities in Cambridge. Without the summer crowds, you can go punting and gleefully immerse in the beauty of the picturesque surroundings on the River Cam. With less traffic on the River Cam, there is freedom of movement, and you can see the same destinations in Cambridge from a whole new perspective. It can be fun, and absolutely enjoyable to drift across the River Cam in the depths of winter. And surprisingly, Cambridge transforms into one of the most exquisite locations in England during the winters. Having said that, we have some valuable tips to help you stay warm and cosy 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.

There is more to punting in Cambridge than taking selfies while admiring the breath-taking greenery. Punting is a storytelling experience, and it has a history that not many people know about unless they go on a specific historical tour.

What is Punting

Punting is an activity where people ride a small square-ended boat that has a flat bottom. A chauffeur then uses a long pole to push against the riverbed, which propels the boat in whichever direction you want to go. That propulsion is what’s known as “Punting.” Cambridge is surrounded by water, and there is lots to see, which is why tourists go for a punting adventure because they can take in the best views of the world-famous university.

History of Cambridge Punting

In between 1902-1904, Cambridge witnessed a more organised set-up for traditional punting, which then went on to become a major recreational activity along the River Cam. As a result, River Cam now boasts the most punting activities seen anywhere in England. The entire ecosystem is naturally structured to give the onlooker some of the most breathtaking visuals in the world. Moreover, the trip takes the tourists across the heart of Cambridge that is packed with stunning college buildings. As one travels upstream, the river enters the quaint and serene countryside in the village of Grantchester. Numerous historical monuments, churches, pubs and traditional buildings are situated in this scenic village.

Punting Along The Cam River

The little boats or “Punts,” were built in medieval times to row in shallow water. Cambridge has marshy flatlands that the locals lived near to take advantage of hunting ducks, eel fishing, and transporting cargo until the nineteenth century. Punts don’t have a keel, which is a flat blade that sticks down into the water. They do not need it because they’re only meant to be rowed on very shallow water. This makes the boats more flexible to move around in narrow waters. Their stable and generous width allows plenty of room for passengers to sit and enjoy the ride.

Modern Day Punting in Cambridge

Punts became a recreational mode of transport in Cambridge at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, they were popular on the Thames and in Bath. Even during poor weather and strong winds, people still use them because they are unconcerned about a quick dip in shallow water that they can easily climb out of.

A punt is a little harder to navigate compared to a rowing boat, but people still enjoy riding them and getting their sightseeing done from the waterways around Cambridge. At times, the long poles get stuck at the bottom, and a chauffeur could get knocked off the boat if they yank it out too hard. They might have to go in the water to pull it out, but in the Cambridge area, there are stone beds in many areas that prevent poles from getting stuck easily. These stone beds were placed during a time when horses were allowed to wade up the river, so riders didn’t have to pay tolls to the university if they were crossing their lands.

The next time you go on a Cambridge punting tour along the River Cam, ask your chauffeur about the history of punting and what makes it so unique compared to any other mode of water transport. There are many punting tours to choose from, and they regularly compete because of the influx of tourists coming to Cambridge University. Hopefully, the number of punts can be reduced because some of the waterways are very narrow and boats can knock against each other if there’s too much traffic.

Being a traditional flat bottomed boat having a square cut bow, a punt is designed for the usage in shallow water. Punting is the use of punts to tour around the amazing Cambridge University. What is more exciting is much of the route is only accessible by river. If you are a tourist who loves to explore Cambridge, we can help you choose the right punt tour for you, based on price, time, season and location. We assure you to provide an experience that could be cherished as a red lettered memory for an entire lifetime.

What is punting?

Punting is the act of propelling the punt in the traditional fashion using a pole or Quant by a person, generally called a Punter, from a platform at the stern. Seating for the passengers is arranged in the middle of the boat. There are generally cozy cushions and blankets to keep you comfortable. A punt is often confused with a gondola in Venice, which is a shallow draft vessel that is structurally different, and is also propelled by an oar rather than a pole.

The History of Punting

Cambridge punting, now popular among tourists as a unique way to explore Cambridge, was originally used as a mode of transport. Earlier, it was used to transport goods around the shallow boggy sites which surrounded Cambridge. Leisure punts were first introduced in the U.K in the mid-1800’s and overall has grown in popularity since then. Sometimes used as vehicles to move goods commercially, the industrial revolution has confined it simply to a popular hobby in modern times.

The Punt boat explained

The flat-bottomed craft is not unique to Cambridge, but the city certainly marks some of the most famous punting worldwide. The boat itself is known as a punt and its drive as punting. It is a Latin term meaning “to push” because the technique used to propel the craft is to push it off the bottom of the river with a long pole (proper term: quant). Though the Venetian Gondolas which use an oar seem similar to this, it uses a different technique. Unlike Venice, the bottom of the River Cam has more gravel than mud which produces a striking voice as the pole touches the bottom of the river.

Popular cambridge punting tours

Once mastered, the technique allows a person to move a heavy load on a boat with relatively less energy expenditure and it is for this reason that merchants and farmers in ancient Cambridge used the punts to transport goods. A few sights along The River Cam proves this statement to be right including the river level doors at St John’s College and the steps on the old docks, now known as Quayside.

How to Punt?

The first thing you need to do to move a punt is turn your feet to the right hand side of the punt and keep the pole on the right hand side. When you want to go straight, pick the pole completely out of the water and slide through your hands until it hits the bottom of the river bed, if the rocketing line is where the back of your foot is. When you need to move your punt straight, walk your hands to the top of the pole, and try to keep the pole in line at the side of the punt.

When you want to steer the boat, keep the pole just under the surface of the water and you can use it like a rudder. If you want to go right, swing the pole under the water to the right hand side. If you want to go left, swing the pole to the left hand side. If you need to turn around sharper or need to turn around completely, take the pole from the water, place it away from the boat and push it away from the boat until the boat spins around. To slow down the boat or bring it to a complete stop, one of the easiest ways is to pick the pole out of the water, place it in front of you along the side of the boat and apply your weight, then the boat stops.

Advanced Punting Techniques

While traveling through higher flow, you need to adjust your maneuvers such that the punt is being directed relative to the moving water, and not to the still riverbed. In this case, if you travel at the same speed as the river, you’ll no longer have control on your boat. You gain control either by moving up or downstream relative to the flow.
Also be cautious when you observe a difference in water texture because it may be the Eddies which are caused due to the presence of fixed obstacles. Eddie’s may cause the water to flow either in a different rate or in opposite direction depending on the object present.
Though the theory is just simple physics, driving a punt is much more difficult than it might appear. So if you dream of learning to punt, book our chauffeured punts, so that a professional could teach you the lessons in an effective way.

Different options for punting

We provide you with 3 different options. You can either Drive yourself or take a shared tour or a private tour, where a chauffeur would accompany. If you are adventurous and love challenges, choose the self-drive. If you prefer to relax and enjoy the beauty of Cambridge, then depending on your budget pick a private or shared tour. Self drive punts are smaller than the tour punts, so you’re limited to 5 passengers.

Private and shared tours

This gives a chance to relax and enjoy the beauty of Cambridge in peace. Generally, private tours are more expensive. But if you are interested in sites, this might be the best option because:

  • The chauffeur would give a historic commentary.
  • The experienced chauffeur would cover the distance within time.

When punting on the River Cam in Cambridge, you can choose between taking a chauffeured tour with a driver and self-driving the boat. Here is a brief description of different options for punting in Cambridge.

Self-drive

Self drive would be cheaper if you know punting and you are a team of more than 2. The boats are narrower and faster if driven properly, however, despite looking easy, punting is an acquired skill. So you may not be able to direct the punt easily. And extra charges would be hired for extra time taken.

Chauffeured Tours

History of Punting in Cambridge

Chauffeured punt tours are strictly of the larger 12-seater boats which are more stable, making them safer than the smaller self-drive boats. The chauffeurs would give you detailed information about every landmark and also ensure that every destination is covered on time.

We provide more packages in Chauffeured Punting

  1. Shared Punting Tour (1-3 People) : Book a flexible ticket(s) and join the other passengers on a 9 persons’ chauffeured punt.
  2. Shared Punting Tour (4-6 People) : This is also a 9 passenger’s punt, where you could book your tickets join your co-passengers
  3. Private Punting Tour : A chauffeur would take you to locations you need for 50 minutes
  4. Cambridge Hen Party Tour : Ladies can have a hen party in the Cambridge River with all the food and alcohol you bring on board.
  5. Punting for Large Groups : Catering up to 100 passengers is possible at a time. A group with more than 24 passengers can avail for a discount
  6. Evening Punting Tour : Illuminated college buildings can be seen if the punting gets started at dusk
  7. Punting on Special occasions : Celebrate your special occasions at Cambridge, the hotspot for celebrations.

Punting Prices

With varying scenarios and occasions, Tyrrell’s Punting company has a great deal of offers awaiting you.

Private punting tour charges with your chauffeur can range from £110 – £140. And shared punting tours with booking for 4-6 people along with chauffeur a can range from £65 – £90. Evening punting tours which range from £100 – £140 are also available.

The services we provide you assure an unparalleled experience with a perfect value for money and time. If you are looking for a most economical punting experience, choose our shared punting.

Punting Tours Weekdays Weekends
Shared Punting Tour £35 (Up to 2 people (own seat))

£40 (3 people (own seat))

£65 (Up to 6 people (Half boat))

Tuesday to Friday (Excluding Bank Holidays)

£50 (Up to 2 people (own seat))

£55 (3 people (own seat))

£90 (Up to 6 people (Half boat))

Weekends, Monday & Bank Holidays

Private Punting Tour £110 £140
Cambridge Hen Party Tour £100 £140
Punting for Large Groups Contact Us or Call +44 1223 782303 Contact Us or Call +44 1223 782303
Evening Punting Tour £100 £140
Punting on Special occasions Contact Us or Call +44 1223 782303 Contact Us or Call +44 1223 782303

Tips on how to save money punting

Buying online

This is almost always the cheapest option. With zero chances of haggling, most companies provide their most competitive deal online. Also, Voucher codes are often found in Google searches.

Shop around

Whether you are buying in person or over the internet, don’t buy your tickets from the first company you come to. Most often the popular ones may be charging high compared to the others. So have a comparison on the prices and the ratings of the companies before booking your tickets.

Buying in person

Punt tours are sold by salespeople called touts who are punting brokers. Only a shrewd negotiator will get the best price from them. Cheaper rates are available for a group of 4 or more.

Larger companies need to be avoided as they set higher targets. Smaller companies don’t do this, yet. It’s better to reject discount vouchers. This helps touts with a better deal to approach you.

During the peak time, the companies come to full capacity, hence negotiation on price is nil at this time. Try to avoid 14:00-16:00 to get the best rate. Evening rides are the most expensive. The cheapest times are 10:00-12:00 and 16:30-17:30.

What is the best time to go punting?

Seasons

The fact is you can punt at any time of the year in Cambridge. The only time which gives a halt to it is during a heavy rain or lightning, which occurs very rarely. Here is a brief description of the sights you happen to watch during different seasons of the year. Each season gives a different perspective to the trip.

Spring

Daffodils and cherry blossoms line the river banks. Warmer temperatures, clear skies and sunshine await you. The river would be a little busier but you can still relax and enjoy floating in the river.

Summer

This is the most popular season to go punting. On a sunny day, it is busy like hell, that there might be heavy congestion, boat crashing and people falling in. Though not relaxing, it’s exciting and fun to watch even from the bank. Gardens with a wide variety of blossomed ravishing flowers give an aesthetic appeal to the Cambridge College.

Autumn

Trees shed their leaves and River Cam will be flanked by trees, leaves, and other vegetation drenched in autumn colours. This adds up to spectacular scenery.

Winter

During the winter, punting in snow is both challenging and fun. The prices will be a lot cheaper during winters and you can enjoy a great deal of peace and calmness with lesser chaos, you almost own a whole river. Punting in the fallen snow is a unique experience.

What time of day?

The time you choose for punting has an effect on your tour. Irrespective of the weather, Weekends and bank holidays are the busiest. Going midweek will give you more of a relaxed experience. To experience the river at its quietest go as early or as late as possible, with 12 pm to 4 pm being the busiest.

Morning

Sunrise is the quietest and best for photography sessions .Even though it’s cold, it’s an effective way to avoid the hot summer sun.

Middle of the day

Irrespective of the heavy traffic and congestion, most people choose 12pm to 4pm as it’s the least cold time and gives a guarantee on the weather.

Evening

This is the best time to punt. Even during summer, the river is the most secluded in the evening, which is beneficial for sightseeing. The sun sets in the trees behind the college grounds and the lit college campus is an eye catching view.

Exactly where to go punting in Cambridge

Punting in Cambridge

The punting from Cambridge to Grantchester is considered to be the most desirable route with spectacular serenity. It is quite famous for its calm and enchanted meadows, trees, villages, and pubs. Punting to Grantchester is a unique experience, with plush greenery and serene nature on either side of the river. Grantchester is situated 2 miles south of Cambridge. Plenty of scenic beauty and architectural excellences awaits you on your way. Some of them are the Bridge of Sighs, King College Chapel and Mathematical Bridge. Each of them is historical remarks over decades.
After punting past the college backs and Newnham, we move past the enchanted Grantchester meadows where you can see cattle grazing peacefully among the lush green lands, and finally reach the famous Grantchester Village. This popular retreat, lying some 4km (2.5 miles) to the south of Cambridge, with historical monuments and thatched cottages, was once the beloved home of the First World War poet, Rupert Brooke. The ‘upriver resort’ is a hub for punters who take a tea at the Orchard and relax on the meadows.

Punting in Oxford

The punting start at the Cherwell Boathouse and meander by the playing fields of the Dragon School, gliding gently through the University Parks past Lady Margaret Hall, and continuing a relaxing exploration downstream, eventually arrive at the bathing site for Oxford Dons, Parson’s Pleasure, where the punt turn round and wend its way lazily back.

Traditions of punting in Oxford and Cambridge are different: Punters in Cambridge stand on the till and the open end of the punt would be facing forward, while in Oxford they stand inside the boat and punt with the till forward.

What to take with you?

Although, the traditional punt clothing is a blazer, which isn’t particularly sporty, wearing a seasonal cloth would be more comfortable. Punting in River Cam is a relaxing trip to enjoy the aesthetics of Cambridge. Just bring a bottle of your favorite drink to enjoy on your trip. During winters, bringing a blanket to keep you cozy is recommended.

One of the most sought-after excursions by tourists and residents alike in London is “punting”. It is one of the foremost outdoor activities popular in the nation. It is one of the most common bucket list goals for many globetrotters. And out of the several punting destinations in the UK, the punting from Cambridge to Grantchester is one of the most desirable routes. It is quite famous for its calm and enchanted meadows, trees, villages, and pubs.

The Punting Chronicles

In medieval times punting was regularly used to transport goods and merchandise to be sold in the market. It was also regularly used to hunt waterfowls and fishing.

From Trading to Touring

Pleasure punting in the UK was formally introduced in 1860 and the demand increased exceptionally at the beginning of the 20th century. This flat bottomed wooden craft known as the “punt”(boat) is typically propelled by pushing against the river bed with a wooden pole which is also known as punt pole. Nowadays the punt poles are also made using aluminum.

Present-day punting

Among several other locations, Cambridge has become a well-liked punting spot. River Cam flows through the heart of Cambridge and is famed for its attractive and vintage college buildings. These are some of the most beautiful places in London. Apart from that, the riverside has several other picturesque locations and bridges which makes Cambridge punting a must-try experience.

Hiring punters

The conventional way of rowing a punt is by standing at the top of the wooden deck which is also known as the “till” and pushing against the riverbed. It’s a bit of hard labor and you need to get used to it since maneuvering in unknown territories can be a tad bit challenging. You can either hire a professional punter who is highly skilled and familiar with the passages or you can punt yourself through the river. Hiring a punter also allows you to know about the various fables and legends related to the land.

The safety aspect

Punting is an extremely safe activity. The boats are strong, stable, and perfectly built. And the punters who navigate the boat are adept in what they do and are trained professionals. It is relatively safe even if you are punting yourself because the water is relatively shallow. As an added safety measure life jackets are also provided for those who require them, especially children.

The Scenic Countryside

Punting to Grantchester is unique, as plush greenery and nature flank on either side of the river. Grantchester is a tranquil and serene location situated 2 miles south of Cambridge.

Celebrated sights and landmarks

Some of the most iconic structures seen along the way from Cambridge to Grantchester among several others-

Bridge of sighs

which was said to be loved by Queen Victoria more than any other spot in the city

King College Chapel

This is the oldest building in Cambridge which took over half a century to build.

Mathematical Bridge

This is a historic wooden bridge built entirely by straight timber without any bolt, nails, or screw.

The Grantchester Village

After punting past the college backs and Newnham, we reach the enchanted Grantchester meadows where you can see cattle grazing peacefully among the lush green lands. And then finally to the famed Grantchester village.

Tourist attractions in Grantchester village

Grantchester is a quaint and peaceful countryside. It’s a typical English village with thatched cottages and historic monuments. There are two churches of St Mary and St Andrew from the 12th century. A couple of famous pubs are also opened to tourists to enjoy a pub lunch such as the “Red lion” and “the Green Man”.

If you are a tea lover then definitely a visit to “The Orchard (Tea room)” is highly recommended. You can sit outside the tea room as lots of outdoor seating are available and enjoy the brew.

Best seasons for punting

Be it Summer spring Autumn or winter, punting can be enjoyed all year round. Every season has its significance and there are lots of vibrant colors blooming in nature. Some of the best unforgettable moments can be experienced and clicked.

People also asked

How long does it take?

It takes approximately three hours to complete punting from Cambridge to Grantchester.

How much to spend on punting?

Tyrrell’s Punting offers you different types of deals for different scenarios according to the occasion and number of people.

Private punting tour charges with your chauffeur can range from £110 – £140. And shared punting tours with booking for 4-6 people along with chauffeur a can range from £65 – £90. We also provide evening punting tours which range from £100 – £140.

We are more than happy to help you with any queries so it’s best to drop in a mail or call using the support number.
Our services provide you with an unparalleled experience with an absolute value for money and support.

Punting in Cambridge is the best way to explore the sights and learn all the history and accomplishments that this incredible city proudly holds. The River Cam passes through the heart of Cambridge University’s campus, offering the most unique views of the famous colleges. Most chauffeured Cambridge punting tours start from Magdalene College Gardens and go all the way through St. John’s College, Trinity Hall, Trinity College, Clare College, and finally Kings’ and Queens’ College. Though chauffeured tours are currently on hold due to the nation slowly recovering from lockdown, the weather for the rest of June is set to be marvellous and full of beautiful sunshine because summer is here. There has never been a better time to connect with the best and brightest British roots by renting your own punt for the day. Imagine giving your friends or family members a good laugh as you entertain them with your radical navigation and balancing skills. You do not need to be an expert punter to rent one of these traditional English boats. Here is why it is worth going on a Cambridge punt all by yourself without queuing up with all the other tourists. 

Learn Incredible History

The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209 and is the second-oldest university in the world. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. The birth of this incredible school came about when scholars at Oxford fell out with the local government and townspeople after a woman’s death in the city. They were not on good terms with the king, and the event created an uproar, causing them to migrate to surrounding cities, such as Cambridge. When those scholars moved to Cambridge, the new institution was founded and is known for many Cambridge punting tours for a reason. Sir Isaac Newton, Cambridge’s best-known inventor, and a remarkable scientist and mathematician walked the halls of this university. He invented the reflecting telescope in 1688 and was a fellow of Trinity College, which you can visit on your very own punt. 

Enjoy the Weather

England is getting sunnier by the day because summer is here. The temperatures are set to hit up to 30 degrees Celsius, which is perfect for wearing a pair of shorts to go on a Cambridge punting tour. If you are renting your own punt, bring a picnic basket with tons of snacks and cold drinks for the day. Your loved ones will thank you for those tremendously. 

Beat the Queues

The best part about punting in Cambridge right now is that there are no queues. Instead of booking in advance or standing in line under the scorching sun, you can beat the summer crowds and start Cambridge punting immediately without planning to spend an entire day waiting for your turn.

Punting in Cambridge is one of the most quintessential English past times, and one ride is never enough. There is so much beauty and scenery around this city, and the shallow marshy waters make every corner you turn feel like an enchanting journey. Guided tours usually have a chauffeur to navigate along these waters, but nothing is more exciting than renting your own punt for the day. Now is the best time to see if you are up to the challenge because the weather is fantastic too. Anyone can rent their own private punt without worrying about waiting in queues or sitting close to lots of other people, which makes it the perfect activity as we slowly come out of lockdown. Grab a pole and get ready to go punting in Cambridge like a pro.

Standing on The Punt

This seems very scary at first because the boat can be wobbly, especially since the water is never still. The best thing to do is walk to the end of your punt and stand on deck. You may stumble a little or wobble before your Cambridge punting tour even begins, but there is no need to cling to the edge for dear life because you will adapt to balancing quick enough. It is best to take a wide stance with bent knees, keeping your foot a little closer to your preferred side of punting.

Getting Comfortable on The Punt

Gently rock the punt using your feet to get a strong feeling of its movements and structure. This may seem silly, but it will help your body find the right balance when you are on the deck. Then you will not panic when you feel wobbly at times during some turns.

How to Handle Your Pole?

Firstly, you will have to choose a side to make the punt move. For your first solo Cambridge punting tour, try to use a long pole to propel yourself along the River Cam. You can keep the pole on either side of your rented punt but will probably prefer the right side if you are right-handed and vice versa. When you are done choosing which side to use, then you need to lift the pole out of the water and raise it hand over hand, before placing the bottom of the pole against the outside of the boat and near your foot. Then let the pole drop into the water into the riverbed and past your hands.

The fun part comes when you must bend your knees and move your hands along the top of the pole while holding onto the end of it. To steer, let the pole end trail behind your punt. If you drag your pole to the left or right through the water, it will turn the direction of your punt as well. It is best to use the pole as a boat rudder, by turning it underwater in whichever direction you would like to go. Finally, to turn the boat, you will need to spin it by dropping the pole from your left or right side and pushing it away from your Cambridge punt.

Punting in Cambridge is one of the most exciting activities in the city that is enjoyed by several tourists from around the world and the locals. There are two parts of the city where you can usually rent a Cambridge punt. One of the options is to rent one from The Granta, which is a stretch of river that leads to Grantchester. The most popular choice is to go on a guided Cambridge punting tour or self-punt along the College Backs. This is part of the River Cam right between Newnham Mill Pond and Jesus Green Lock. Here is more information to help you choose where to go for your next ride.

The College Backs

This is the most touristy part of the river because it features the famous university that everybody visits from around the world. The Cambridge University College Backs are a chain of iconic historical buildings that cover a kilometre stretch of water. These buildings have so much history that makes punting in Cambridge so exciting for tourists and locals. You might come across buildings that have been standing since the dawn of time, and your chauffeur can introduce all the colleges to you on a guided tour and offer some interesting titbits to make the trip more memorable and fun.

Imagine relaxing on a wooden Cambridge punt that mimics a gondola as it takes you down the River Cam so you can sense where so many of the world’s most significant accomplishments originated from. On this stretch during your Cambridge punting tour, you can see Queens’ College, which was founded by three queens and King’s College, which was founded in 1441 by Henry VI. Students such as Alan Turing, who cracked the Enigma code, attended King’s College. If that does not impress you enough, nothing else will.

The Granta

This side of Cambridge runs upstream from the weir on Silver Street. After approximately two miles, you can arrive at the Village of Grantchester, which is quainter than it sounds. It is a very scenic place to take a break from your Cambridge punt to grab some deliciously warm tea or visit any of the local pubs for a cold pint. Then the river forks in two up ahead, so you can use this part as a turning point. What makes this side one of the best for punting in Cambridge is that there are very few buildings and you are surrounded by a vast stretch of wooded area and meadows. You can sit back and admire the beautiful natural trees that glow across the river, and then stop for a picnic lunch with loved ones to stretch those legs around the lushest green fields.