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.

Punting in Cambridge is the most popular and exciting tourist activity. You get to sit in a comfortable flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow. This boat is designed to show you all the beautiful sights while rowing through shallow water and small rivers. Your chauffeur or punter will propel the punt boat by pushing against the riverbed with a long pole known as a quant. Summer is the best time to visit Cambridge, and here are the top reasons why you
should book a punting tour to make your trip more magical.

Learn About Cambridge

Your chauffeur will be a Cambridge native or long-term resident, and they will have plenty of historical tales to share with you during the ride. Some of them are students from Cambridge University. For a laugh, you can ask them to tell you funny secrets about this famous university that was once attended by Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing, Emma Thompson, and Charles Darwin.

See Beautiful Scenery

Even though Cambridge has some of the most beautiful historically crooked streets to admire the architecture, seeing it from the narrow rivers on a punt is an entirely unique experience. Enjoy the majestic River Cam on a chauffeured punt and breathe in the fresh air from all the surrounding greenery and Cambridge landscape. You will get plenty of picturesque views of the meadows and traditional tea gardens along the way.

Have Fun in Groups

Punt boats usually allow up to 12 people on board. This could mean bringing a rather large family, or you can make new friends with other tourists. You can also hire a private tour for your group to celebrate a hen’s party. This is a terrific chance to spend time with fun people and share a laugh. You can also bring some drinks on the punt if your chauffeur or tour operator allows it.

Romantic Rides

If you want to spoil your partner with a romantic trip, book a private tour just for the two of you. It will be like a romantic gondola ride in Venice. You can bring a bottle of champagne and have a toast to celebrate love while the chauffeur rows you down the beautiful marshlands. Get a couple’s photo taken on the River Cam with the breath-taking views and surrounding architecture.

Relaxing Atmosphere

After an exhaustingly long day of walking around the streets of Cambridge, punting is a great way to kick back and relax without ending your tour. There is enough space on the boat for you to sit comfortably and be transported along the River Cam. The punts move at slow speed so you can take plenty of photos along the way. You will get uninterrupted views of Cambridge from a punt which makes it the perfect way to end a trip and get the most magical photos to share online when you get back to the hotel.

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.