By in Travel

Punting Cambridge UK

Cambridge England

Punting is a truly English experience and Cambridge, England is one of the places where you can easily find ways to do this. But first, you may well be asking, what is a punt? There are so many meanings to this word, including gambling and football but in Cambridge, the word "punt" means a flat bottomed boat, with no keel and no tiller that carries passengers or (many years ago) cargo. A punt has a square shaped front and back, so no prow. This makes it more stable and so safer for carrying passengers.


Punts operate in shallow water, this is because they are moved by a pole. The punter (the person who moves the punt) stands at one end of the punt and uses a pole to push against the river bed, in order to push the punt forward. This may look and sound easy but there are many instances of novice punters falling into the water by making a wrong move. Originally, the punter walked along the boat, from one end to the other but nowadays, they pole the punt from one end. This also allows them to carry more passengers and means the passengers are less likely to get wet from the dripping pole.

Hiring A Punt

It is easy to hire a punt in Cambridge. You can take a ride in one poled by an experienced punter or hire one to pole yourself. Near the Mathematical Bridge, there is a hiring station. There is also one near the Granta Restaurant. At the restaurant you can watch punters on the river. Alternatively, you can sit on the grass and feed the ducks, another very English experience., while watching the punts.

Punt launcher

The Cambridgeshire area is pretty flat. It is part of the area known as "The Fens", originally, a very wet and briny area, though nowadays much of it has been drained. Even so, some areas where punts are kept are higher than others and in order to move punts from storage or change the area where they operate, there are punt launchers, these are slopes with rollers, down which a punt can be slid into another stretch of water.

(c) MegL my own photograph

Duchess of Cambridge

In case you are wondering where you heard of "Cambridge" previously, you may well have heard the term used in connection with the UK's Royal family. The Queen of England bestowed the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on her eldest grandson, Prince William and his bride when he married. The Duchess of Cambridge is a very popular person worldwide.

Image Credit » (c) MegL My own photograph

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VinceSummers wrote on April 21, 2019, 1:31 PM

The punt reminds me some of a gondola in Italy. Not as graceful, perhaps, but it sounds a good deal more stable.