As I made my way along Magdalene Street, I came across a River with lot's of empty Punt's, and lots of Student's trying to take me Punting for a fee.
Sorry.... I wasn't interested, and was on my way, only to find another lot, further on.
It looks ok, and the few people I saw being punted looked to be enjoying themselve's.
I don't know how much the student's charge, I didn't get that far!
Daily 10am to 3pm (November to March - Weather Permitting)
Daily 10am to 6pm (April to October)
Duration of Tour....45 minutes (return trip) leaving at regular intervals
Departure Point: Mill Lane, Cambridge
Even if you think that this is way too touristy, punting is THE not-to-be-missed thing in Cambridge. Punts are for rent at several places on the river Cam (such as Scudamore's on Mill Lane or Cambridge Chauffeur Punts on Silver Street), and I suppose that prices will be pretty much the same everywhere as competition is fierce. We were lucky enough not to spend any money as our host could hire punts from her college for free.
Punting looks easy, but it can be quite tricky to actually manoeuvre the punt in a straight line. Instead of doing what would be the most logical thing (meaning: going straight forward), it tends to zigzag across the river, bumping into other punts, the walls or - particularly unpleasant - the branches of weeping willows... In any case, this is a lot of fun, unless you actually want to move as fast as possible from A to B. But who would actually want to do that?
The punts float slowly past the Backs, the majestic meadows and gardens of Cambridge's most impressive colleges. This is very beautiful, especially when the sun is about to set and the sandstone facades of the colleges reflect its light. Now and then ducks and geese swim next to your punt, quacking demandingly in case you have some breadcrumbs. Academics and tourists stroll over the low bridges spanning over the river and on the well-kept college lawns students play frisbee or study for their exams.
For those of you who prefer to see all that without the hassle of actually punting themselves, punts with chauffeurs are available. Unlike in Oxford, these are well-informed guides and tell you a lot about the colleges and their traditions. Altogether an unforgettable experience - even as it is very touristy!
It was a warm day and we thought it would be cooler on the water. Wrong thinking! All the buildings left and right kept the heat in and the wind out. Also we were sitting in the sun without shade.
It is a nice trip though. The guide will tell you all there is to know about the colleges left and right. And I must say they do look different from the water.
If you are prepared to wrap up warm then even in December it is possible to hire the services of a punt and boatman from Scudamores on the Cam near Queens College - see the photo.
The boats have blankets and most people we saw were taking advantage of the extra layer of insulation they provided on this cold day. However we saw several separate boats and all of the occupants seemed to be really enjoying their tour along the River Cam that takes them along the back of the colleges.
The boats were all propelled by the paid puntsmen who would use their long poles to push the flat bottomed punt along. I'm told that in the summer it is possible for visitors to hire a punt for the day and to take it down to the meadows at Grantchester for a picnic. The visitors would have to do the poling themselves and I daresay a few get into difficulties but it would make a great story to tell the folks back home!
During summertime, it is not unusual to see dozens of these boats on river Cam carrying mostly tourists. Punting has become one of the most popular tourist activities in Cambridge. Usually, students earn some money by serving as a “punt skipper” and tourist guide, but there are also facilities where you can rent a punt for yourself. Punts are flat-bottomed boad which are moved by the help of a wooden 3 meter stick only. They were first used by local fishermen, but were also used as a mean of transport for centuries.
The weather was ideal to go punting, or rather to be taken punting. It's much easier to sit down comfortably and have someone else do the work. We passed a few visitors who were really having trouble, one poor lady didn't even get her boat to start. She kept going in circles, so I think it's a lot more difficult than it looks like.
We learned one interesting fact, in a country where you drive on the left side, you punt on
the right side. We were told this by a professional punter after we had gone under a bridge on the left side and almost bumped into him. It looks like these punting guides have a lot
of experience with stupid tourists going in the wrong direction. They managed to prevent most crashes and were still telling their customers stories about college life at the same time.
We passed the gardens of the colleges, absolutely beautiful in summer! From time to time a hopeful duck would swim by, but in vain, as we didn't have any bread at all.
One hour self-punting costs 8 GBP and you have to leave your ID as a deposit.
The hour passed by very quickly, in fact we were a few minutes late returning the boat, but
didn't have to pay extra.
Summer in Cambridge simply wouldn't be complete without punting. You can hire a boat for groups, you can hire a boat just for yourself and do all the hard work too, trying to get to the other end of the river while holding on to that long pole (can be very romantic if you know what you are doing, if not you might even get divorced), or you can have it the fun way and get a boat just for yourself and with it a person that has done the trip many times before and knows how to control the boat and at the same time that person will be your guide and tell you interesting stories about the place itself. Of course, you pay accordingly.
Selction is 9/10's of the law ........... Oh no thats Possession. Well us girls decided to be cheeky & ask if we could select our punter so let the competition begin.
These next photo's are definetly one for the ladies!! Remember to go with the Traditional Punting company so as to get a fit punter :-)
A punt is similar to a venetian gondola but without the curved edges, it is a narrow flat bottomed boat propelled by a long pole.
You can do the sensible thing & hire a guide who expertly navigates you round the punt novices or hire one yourself & try not get wet.
A punt holds 12 people & costs £14 each with a guide although large groups could negotiate a discount of £10 depending on the season & how busy they are. We went with the Traditional punting company who left from the Magadelene Bridge. As you are walking down to the river there are many touts selling tickets, Jan Jarus (aka The Ghost) appeared out of nowhere, stared us in the eyes and before we knew it the 5 of us were seated in a punt.
The trip takes around 45min taking in all the sites as well as additional expert knowledge from your guide who are
Punting is a traditional activity. There are a couple of ways to go. The way we chose was to hire a punter whilst enjoying the views along the river, enjoying each others company and giving our 19 year old punter a few lessons about life.
One may also choose to be an amateur punter and rent only the boat and not the guide/punter to make it a very relaxing ride.
If you are going to be your own punter, be aware that there can be a bit of congestion on the river. Beware VT'ers bearing pigs....)
There are several companies offering punts for hire but we went with the Traditional Punting Company.
Typical rates are 10-14 pounds per person depending on group/individual rates as well as the season.
Following lunch we decided a trip on the river was not to be missed so, off we went. A perfect day, we hired a punt and the five of us lazed and laughed our way through the relaxing journey, we were given a few historical details along the way but mostly we had fun.
The trip is pretty, it can get a little busy out there but it's light hearted fun. Check out the Harry Potter area where quidditch was played, the Mathematical Bridge, which is said to once have been held up without nuts and bolts, it's suggested that it was pure mathematics that kept it stable. There is also the Bridge of Sighs, though the only resemblence to the infamous bridge in Venice are the bars installed, in Venice this was done to stop criminals jumping from the bridge in order to save their lives and avoid the walk from the Law Courts to their death in the Execution grounds.
A word of warning, I nearly lost my sunglasses in the river but managed to save them just before they sunk to the bottom but Joy was not so lucky with her mobile phone, that sits there now nestled snug on the river bed. So make sure you secure all belongings whilst in the boat.
For a funfilled trip call Jan on the number below, he and his men will ensure you a fun and informative ride.
If you go to Cambridge for a visit then you should try punting on the River Cam...it's really peaceful and relaxing... We saw heaps of different companies offering punting trips and after walking around the city a bit we decided to give it a go. It costed us 8 pounds each for about an hour on the boats...
I was too scared to actually punt the boat...but it looked fun while everyone else i knew did it!! You see, I'm clumsy so I didn't want to risk falling in!! But the view from sitting down was really good too!! You get to see a lot of the Cambridge colleges, as Cambridge has a very student culture.
Punting is basically using a very large stick to maneouvre the gondola in the water. The procedure is to 'dig' the stick into the ground and push the gondola via that method, the angle you push it in is the opposite direction of movement....
I definately recommend it :)
Punting on the river was a very enjoyable and relaxing experience. I was with my entire family, and everyone really enjoyed it (both young and old!). We had a student do the actual punting, so we were able to relax and take in the sites of Cambridge. Along the way he pointed out the different buildings we viewed from the river, and gave us entertaining antedotes about the city.
As we were docking, we saw another boat about to depart, and the people on board were sipping champagne and eating strawberries! That is definently the way to go!
If I was to go back, I'd either opt for the champagne and strawberries option or try my hand at punting. Those who were punting unguided kept running into other boats, the wall, or falling off into the water. It seemed rather fun!
We took a punt down the river Cam, and very nice it was to. Although the claims by our punting chauffeur that it was going to be the best 45 minutes of our lives was a bit over the top, even on the most glorious of November days.
We decided on not hiring our own punt sue to the lack of technical expertise between us, and so plumped for the chauffeured punt provided by Scudamore boats at £12 per adult. The boat could take up to 12 passengers and was full.
The trip gives you a view of “The Backs” of the colleges and also a chance to see a few of the many bridges which span the Cam. In fact that is where the name of Cambridge originated, a bridge over the river Cam.
All you do to get a ticket is buy it from the Scudamore kiosk which is situated alongside the river, near to the Anchor pub. They give you a time slot for your trip and the guide does the rest.