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.

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.

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.

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.

Even though a punt moves through the shallowest of waters if a passenger is not a strong swimmer, it can be a bad experience for them. Most operators are highly skilled at maneuvering a punt safely, but there is always a risk of capsizing, especially if the chauffeur is new or if another tourist onboard starts rocking the boat. Many things can go wrong, and it’s always better to take the necessary precautions before going on your Cambridge punting tour. Most punting tours are organized by reputable operators, but some chauffeurs offer a self-drive or are inexperienced. This is dangerous because punt boats are significantly heavy and need a lot of practice to navigate and maneuver safely, especially around the Cambridge University area where the waterways are extremely narrow. Many self-punts also crowd the area because they want to make money from tourists. This causes a lot of traffic on the waterways and boats can often hit each other while passing.

Riders should keep their hands inside the boats because their fingers risk getting crushed every time another punt boat passes by closely. Skilled chauffeurs are in no rush to complete tours and pay more attention to safety. If they see a punt boat coming from the other side, they will stop and give it plenty of space to pass and avoid any accidents. Make sure you use an operator who demonstrates patience and has undergone safety training.

If your tour group has any small children or elderly people, they should be seated in the middle of the boat. This way, if any collisions occur, they will not be in danger of tipping overboard and falling in the water. Never sit too close to the edge of your punt because if another boat does hit, you could get hurt.

Keep a watchful eye for weirs and sluice gates. There are two of each on River Cam, and the water is usually low enough for them to be safe. However, try and stay away from them as much as possible because if safety buoys aren’t present, you could get sucked down the water, especially if it rained heavily before your trip. When there is an increased flow, small waves can form, and they can trap those who are not careful. To avoid a drowning accident, choose the best tour operator who has a lot of experience. They should be able to identify which routes are the safest and never take risks with people’s lives just to rush through tours or take shortcuts. They should also give you a little safety briefing before the trip and remind everyone to keep their limbs inside and never sit too close to the edge. If you suspect someone is too intoxicated to be taking a ride, inform your chauffeur because you don’t want to risk having someone who might suddenly move around and tip the boat.