The short answer is yes, definitely, punting’s worth it.
Punting is a quintessential British activity, and paired with the atmospheric sights of some of Cambridge University’s most iconic colleges (we are looking at you, Kings College Chapel) it is an almost inevitable must-do on any trip to Cambridge.
A bit about Punting in Cambridge
Punting in Cambridge has been around since 1910 when Scudamores founded their punting station on Mill Lane. Since then punting has been taking over Cambridge by storm. By the 1920’s Punting overtook any other form of boating to be the largest activity on the river in Cambridge. There have also been many pieces of literature that have referenced the River Cam, including ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester‘ by Rupert Brooke and ‘Taking Leave of Cambridge Again‘ by Xu Zhimo.
Our tours are a 50 minute return trip of the College Backs, we depart and return from our landing stage on the corner of Jesus Green. During your tour of the mile long stretch of the College Backs you will see seven colleges and nine bridges. The famous College Backs route is largely only accessible by either buying admissions to the individual colleges or by taking a punting tour with one of the licenced tour operators.
We offer chauffeured guided shared or private tours, meaning you can cruise down the river without the worry of navigating the tens of other boats also out on the river. Your experienced guide will delight you in various anecdotes surrounding the colleges and university life, making punting a worthwhile trip.
Why you should do it?
Firstly, it is a traditional English activity, ‘pleasure punting’ has been around since the nineteenth century, first starting off in London. Nowadays ‘pleasure punting’ can be done in several English cities including Bath, Canterbury, Oxford and Stratford-Upon-Avon. However, it is Cambridge which undoubtedly takes the crown when it comes to the popularity of punting. Pictures of people punting in Cambridge can be found published all throughout the UK and even Europe. There is a Spanish textbook which has a picture of somebody punting in Cambridge as its cover.
Not only is punting one of the top things to do in Cambridge, it is also one of the top things to do in the United Kingdom. Just think you wouldn’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, or you wouldn’t go to New York without seeing the Statue of Liberty. So why would you come to Cambridge and not go punting?
Punting also provides an excuse to indulge in the slower pace of life or as the Italians call it ‘Dolce Far Niete’ (pleasant idleness). Punting is worth it as gives you 50 minutes to sit, relax, marvel at the atmospheric beauty of the college architecture, and observe the vibrant ecosystem that habits the River Cam. Just look at these paintings (Lady in a Punt by Henry John Yeend King, and Lady and Child Asleep in a Punt Under the Willows by John Singer Sargent) from the nineteenth century and you’ll see exactly how recreational punting is.
What makes it so special?
Almost a rhetorical question, as the answers are infinite. Some of the highlights include;
- Punting is one of the only way to access the College Backs, unless you pay individual entry fees to each of the nine colleges. Not only do you see more but it is also a far cheaper alternative.
- As our tours are guided you will gain access to anecdotes about Cambridge University you wouldn’t otherwise hear, especially as most of our tours are done by Cambridge locals.
- During your tour you will see some of the famous Cambridge locations including Bridge of Sighs, Kings College Chapel and Mathamatical Bridge.