The Ultimate Punting Guide


Cambridge Punting Guide

If you’re planning a trip to Cambridge soon, punting is something you can’t miss out on.

Being one of the most iconic pastimes in the city, it’s an extremely popular activity among tourists and locals alike.

Whether you’re a first-time punter or not, keep on reading to find out more about punting in Cambridge and why you need to schedule this top-rated activity into your Cambridge itinerary.

Chauffeured Punt Tours, Punter, Punting Guide


What Is Punting?

Punts are long, flat-bottomed, wooden boats that are pushed along rivers by people known as ‘punters’ or ‘punt chauffeurs’.

In Cambridge, the punter will stand at the back, on the till, and push the boat along using a pole. You may be familiar with the gondolas in Venice, but punting is the better, British alternative. The position of the punter will vary depending on where you go punting in the U.K.

Punting has been used for centuries to ferry goods up and down the river, but it’s only been since the early 1900s that punts have become a relaxing leisure activity.

Cambridge is one of the most popular places to go punting as you can soak up the amazing views, paddle down the iconic Cambridge River Cam, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Is Cambridge Good for Punting?

Yes! In fact, Cambridge is voted one of the most beautiful Places to go Punting in England.

During a chauffeured punting tour, you’ll follow an iconic route along the River Cam, where you’ll be delighted by the views of the world-famous ‘backs’ of Cambridge University. This route will follow a 2-mile return journey passing seven colleges, nine bridges and some of the most renowned sights of the city on a traditional Cambridge punt.

When Is the Best Time of Year To Go Punting?

Punting is a great year-round activity. Us Brits know that even the rain can’t stop us from getting out, so you can easily find a punting service in Cambridge regardless of the season.

Punting in Winter is the quieter period on the water, when you can look forward to reduced prices and more availability. It will definitely be cooler, so make sure to wrap up warm in a jacket, with a hot drink in hand, for the perfect festive day out on the river.

Punting in Spring can be slightly hit or miss, as we’re never fully sure of what the weather will bring. But with the change of season and the flowers blossoming it is an incredible time to experience punting tours, with the University grounds showcasing different shades of pink, yellow and blue.

Punting in Summer is the prime time to get out on the boats. Enjoy a leisurely ride in the glorious sunshine whilst you sightsee Cambridge in style. Expect crowds and congestion, but one thing is for sure it will always be full of action.

Punting in Autumn is a breathtaking experience. From your boat, you’ll be able to watch leaves slowly falling from the trees without having to deal with the crowds of tourists – you might also be lucky and get a sunny Autumn day. The most famous picture opportunity at this time of the year is the creeper on the back of St John’s new court building. A sight not to be missed.

We, at the Traditional Punting Company, think that the best time to use our punting services is during the quieter times, either on a summer’s evening or during a winter’s day, where you can enjoy an intimate time on the boat with your friends or family.

Cambridge punting tour guide

Types of Punting Tours

Because punting is so popular in Cambridge, you have a lot of options when it comes to selecting the type of experience that would be perfect for your group or occasion.

Whether you want a relaxed evening alone, or you are trying to plan an activity for the whole family, here are some of the most common Cambridge punting tours available.

Private Tour

If you want the luxury of your own boat and to see the sights with a personal chauffeur at the helm, then a private tour would be the option for you. Sit back and relax while you take a slow meander down the river on this once in a lifetime experience. You can even ask your chauffeur to show you how to punt, or to take photos of your group as part of this service.

Shared Tour

If your group size is smaller or you are on a tighter budget, then chauffeured shared punt tours are the best option for you. Join us in your own private section, suited to your group size, and enjoy the incredible commentary from your chauffeur as you pass the wondrous sights along the way.

Family Discount Tour

Whether it’s the half-term or summer holidays, booking an activity that the whole family is going to enjoy can be hard – but we, at the Traditional Punting Company, believe that punting is for all and families should enjoy our punting tours at the best rate with additional extras also available.

Book ahead to save money and receive a family discount so you can keep yourself and the kids happy on your visit to Cambridge.

Romantic Tour

Take the time with the person you love during a romantic punting tour for two. Book a boat to yourself and enjoy an intimate experience – day or night – that you will both remember for years to come. Why not add on some flowers or food to your punting service to impress your other half.

Hen Party Tour

If you are planning a hen do and want to try something unique then have you thought about a punting tour?

You can book your hen party online for group sizes of up to 24 people or call us in advance if your group size exceeds this number. What about adding on some extra pizzazz to your party with picnics or scavenger hunts to make your hen do a memorable event.

Evening Tour

If you want to avoid the crowds and see the river from another perspective, evening punting is a great way to finish the day. With departure times from 6pm onwards, you enjoy the history of Cambridge whilst the sun sets. It’s the perfect pre -or post-dinner activity.

Picnic Tour

What could be better than enjoying your breakfast, lunch or dinner from the river? With a picnic punt, you’ll be provided with the finest produce and freshly made items for a unique and luxury experience.

At the Traditional Punting Company, we offer three different types of picnic options: luxury afternoon tea, brunch or a deli-style picnic – all are just as delicious as the other.

If you have dietary requirements then please do not fret, we can cater for most upon request.

Resplendent Cambridge University grounds

Punting Guide FAQs


How Much Does Punting Cost?

Depending on the day and time that you go, you can expect to pay different rates for your punting tours.

Booking online is the cheapest way to join a chauffeured punt tour, with our online dynamic pricing structure you will be assured that you are getting the best price, no matter the time of year you visit us.

Below, you’ll find a pricing guide to some of the best punting services on offer:

Tour Price
Private tours From £79
Family discount punting From £30
Distance shared punting tour From £20
Romantic punting From £79
Hen party punting From £79
Evening punting From £79
Picnic punting From £94

Take a look at our full Cambridge punting price list, where you can find detailed information on pricing as well as our family discount package.

Do You Need to Pre-book Punting?

You don’t always need to book your punting tour ahead of time. You can walk up on the day, pay for your ticket, and get on a boat.

However, if you choose to book at the sales desk on the day, prices are up to 50% more expensive when compared to the rates shown online. Availability is also limited on the day especially when visiting at peak times.

We always recommend that our customers book online through our website to avoid any disappointment on the day.

How Long is Punting in Cambridge?

Most punting tours will last approximately 50 minutes.

During this time you’ll pass by architecturally renowned buildings, prestigious colleges, exclusive bridges, and beautiful gardens, whilst our tour guides provide commentary throughout – delving into the history of both Cambridge and its University – and what’s more you’ll have plenty of time to keep exploring the city for the rest of the day when your tour ends.

What Is the Minimum Age To Go Punting?

Punting is for all and there is no minimum age to go punting, however if you are under the age of 16 you must be accompanied by an adult.

How Many People Can Sit on a Punting Boat?

In Cambridge, we use the traditional ferry punts that can fit up to a maximum of 12 people – this number does not include the chauffeur. Due to licensing and regulation, anyone over the age of one is counted within numbers, so when booking your group online make sure to include everyone in the headcount except for babies under the age of one.

If you’re booking for a large group to go punting, then you can arrange to book multiple punts to cater for the entire party. The punts will depart and travel along the river together, so your group can enjoy the incredible views of the University at the same time.

Or, if it’s just you and your family, you can book a shared chauffeured punt tour by row. Each row on the boat can hold up to 3 people and set prices are offered for group sizes of up to 2, 3, 6 or 9. Shared tours are the most economical way to enjoy punting.

Punting in Cambridge, Cambridge University, Visit Cambridge, Chauffeured Punt Tours, River Cam, Summer day

Can You Punt on Your Own in Cambridge?

If you want to experience what it is like to be a Cambridge local then you could give punting a go yourself by hiring a boat from a self-hire point along the river.

Punting is harder than it looks, so you might not enjoy the experience as much as if you had a professional punter doing all the hard work for you.

But if you think you’ll be OK, come down to the river and try it for yourself. Please note that the self-hire punts are smaller in size and can only hold a maximum of 6 people in any one boat.

What Can You See During a Punting Cambridge Tour?

Cambridge is best-known for its world-famous University, and during a punting tour you’ll get an up-close-and-personal view of some of the most historic academic buildings in Cambridge.

Known as the ‘college backs’ or the ‘backs’ for short, you’ll get a glimpse of the colleges that are lined up along the river which includes the likes of King’s, Queens, Trinity and St Johns to name but a few. You’ll also be taken under bridges that are not accessible to the public as well as bypassing some other recognisable sights on the River Cam like for instance The Wren Library, The Cripps Building and Kings College Chapel.

Your punter will be an expert on all things Cambridge, so listen up and ask as many questions as you like, so you’ll leave with a new-found knowledge of this beautiful and historic city.

Come Punting with the Traditional Punting Company

If you’re visiting Cambridge soon and want to see what punting is all about, choose the Traditional Punting Company for the best punting service in Cambridge.

We offer a range of tours that can be personalised to fit you and your family’s needs. From evening sessions, to private tours, punting is the perfect way to soak up the views of Cambridge in style.

If you want to find out more about our punt tours, or have any questions, get in touch with the team today and we’ll be more than happy to help you with anything you need in preparation for your visit to Cambridge.

Posted on May 16th, 2022, by the Traditional Punting Company