I highly recommend going punting if you visit Cambridge, England. Now, after reading that I am sure you are asking, “What is punting?” It’s more or less like taking a gondola ride… but in England. You travel down the river in the middle of Cambridge and see the historic buildings and loads of other “punters”.
Now, I highly suggest you book online prior to going. Prior to leaving for Cambridge I had done a bit of research and found that prices on a shared punt ranged from £10-16 per person. If you buy at the time of the punt prices were generally about 40% higher. Even though all of them take you on about the same ride. If you haven’t booked your punt prior to leaving you will most certainly be hounded by young British men with clipboards trying to book you on a trip.
Punting down the river takes about 45 min and is a very leisurely ride. They use long poles to push you up and down the river while steering you through the other boats… most of the pro punters do this standing barefoot on the back of the boats. You can also rent your own boat and try punting yourself. This is where it gets interesting. There were a number of teenagers trying this very thing and chaos ensued. At points during the trip it was a traffic jam on the river. Boats were running into each other, people were almost falling off and boats were getting turned the wrong way. It was pretty fun to say the least.
Most of the punts have a young British man manning the pole. They tell you about the history of the colleges as you go up and down the river. They are knowledgable, fun and have a few well placed jokes that keep you entertained. You can bring drinks onto the boat or can also charter picnic punts and romantic punts with wine.
So… go punting! It’s fun and a good first adventure within Cambridge. It’s a grand ol’ introduction to the city.