Punting Questions Answered


This article covers all of your most frequently asked questions about punting in Cambridge and everything you need to know before going on a chauffeured punt tour!

With summer fast approaching, the historic city of Cambridge is becoming ever more popular. This also goes for punting, which is one of the city’s top rated activity to do whilst visiting Cambridge.

1. Do you need to book to go punting in Cambridge?

No! You don’t need to book to go punting, however, we do recommend it. By booking your punting experience in advance you secure a date and departure time so you can turn up on your chosen day and hop on board at your designated time! Booking in advance also means that you are purchasing your ticket at a cheaper rate compared to buying a punting ticket with a sales representative on the day. You could save up to 30% by booking in advance especially if you opt to book for off-peak departure times – and of course booking in advance also means that you have more availability to choose from.



However, if your decision to go punting is spontaneous then there is some space left to turn up on the day and secure your spot on a punt tour. One thing you need to bear in mind is that the prices are higher than what you see online and the availability is limited so we do recommend getting to the punts as soon as you can on your chosen departure date, with extended waiting times longer on the weekends due to popularity.

So overall you don’t need to book your punting experience in advance but if you do it will save you time and money compared to booking on the day, with no queues or headaches!

2. Can you punt on your own in Cambridge?

Yes! You can punt by yourself in Cambridge. You have two options for punting in Cambridge, either join a chauffeured punt tour of the College Backs or give it a go yourself in the form of a self-hire punt



If you do choose to hire your own punt then you have fewer options of companies available to rent your punt from, so you have a smaller range of prices to compare as well as the location from where to pickup the punt itself.

On Quayside, the only punting company to offer self-hire punts is Scudamoore’s. If you wish to go with another company then you have Trinity College Punts (positioned in the middle of the College backs next to Garret Hostel Bridge) and Granta Moorings (positioned near the Mill Pond area).

Punting yourself is harder than it looks and (from experience) you may not end up exploring the full stretch of the College Backs due to training in circles instead of punting straight (a common problem with self-hires). But if you have punted before then opting for a self-hire is a wonderful way to experience the Backs at your own pace. If on the other hand you would like to witness the beauty of the College Backs, without the risk of falling in as well as learning everything there is to know about Cambridge and its University, then a chauffeured punt tour would be the option for you.

If you have booked a chauffeured punt tour and fancy having a go yourself then all you need to do is ask your guide if you can have a go (provided that there are no covid restrictions at that time) and learn from the experts themselves.

3. Which is the best punting company in Cambridge?

There are approximately 8 companies operating on the River Cam who all offer the historical tour of the College Backs. Choosing from a vast selection of companies can be daunting but the best way to determine the best punting company is to check out punting reviews on google to find out the top rated service. Another way to make sure you are booking with the right company is to compare prices and punting extras that are offered online so you can find out the best tour option for your group and budget. And finally make sure to also check out whether the company is offering additional free services if you book with them online like a city guide or audio app for instance.



4. Do you tip Cambridge punters?

Punting is a tipping industry but it is not mandatory and of course the choice is yours! If you think your chauffeur deserves a tip then hand them a cash tip after the tour. Or another way to show your gratitude is by leaving a review mentioning their name to give them recognition.

5. Are you booking online with a licensed punting company?

Third party bookings are very common nowadays, especially with services such as GetYourGuide and Trip Advisor. However, you should be mindful that some websites may be a third party and not the actual company that you are going punting with. To operate a punting service on the River Cam the company would need a licence by the Cambridge City Council and the Cam Conservators to operate. Therefore, when booking a chauffeured punt tour online make sure that you carefully at the company you are choosing to go with.

6. When can you go punting in Cambridge?

Punting is an all year round activity so you can go come rain or shine. If you choose to go punting in the winter or in the morning then the river is a lot quieter and you definitely experience the luxury and bliss of the college backs from doing so. In terms of when punting tours depart would depend on the company that you choose to go with. Most companies are open by 10:00am and will operate until sunset, so during the winter months tours normally stop earlier on in the day at approximately 4pm compared to the summer months when tours can carry on until 9pm.


If you are still left with questions about punting or how to book punting then check out either our booking page or contact us page so you can send us your punting enquiry. 

Posted on March 11th, 2022, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor