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.