First, a confession – it pains us a bit to write this blog because we’re about to give away our best kept Cambridge local secrets. Just promise you won’t tell anyone else, okay? Of course, we highly recommend you come punting with The Cambridge Punt Company. Whether you’re a local or a visitor from overseas, let us chauffeur you along the Cambridge Backs and regale you with memorable tales. But what are the perfect pairs, to accompany your Cambridge punting tour? Look no further than our insider picks…
1. Early morning or evening punting with The Cambridge Punt Company
Obviously, punting is our number one choice for an unmissable Cambridge activity – but our top tip is to come between 9am and 11am or after 6pm. The Cambridge Punt Company have full access to the resplendent Cambridge Backs – one of the most historic miles of water in the world. King’s, Queens, Trinity, Trinity Hall, St John’s, Clare, Magdalene College and our most famous bridges too – they are all yours during your private or shared punting tour. And they’re even more wondrous at quieter times on the water, when the light is soft and the tourist buses aren’t in town. Bring a picnic, champagne, pre-order food from us, propose at sunset or celebrate your special event.
Follow The Cambridge Punt Company on Instagram for more local secrets of Cambridge.
Now, what about the rest of your leisure time in Cambridge? Here are some fine ways to while away the hours…
2. Best dinner – MillWorks
An historic Cambridge mill complete with glass-encased waterwheel, The MillWorks is a great dinner choice in Cambridge. Yes, we’re big fans of the river at the Cambridge Punt Company and you do get some rather serene waterside views from MillWorks – but it’s the fresh and tempting grub that keeps us coming back. We’re led by our stomachs, you see – and our tums approve heartily of MillWorks fare.
To impress your date, pair an early evening punting tour with a romantic dinner at MillWorks – you’re welcome!
3. Best quick lunch at Yippee Noodle Bar
We’re big fans of Asian flavours at the Cambridge Punt Company. In our next life, we’ll probably reside in a small beach hut in the Philippines – but for now, we’ll remain at your service on the River Cam and we’ll grab our lunchtime bites at Yippee. It’s mainly Chinese-inspired food but there’s a fair amount of Japanese, Thai and Indonesian influences on their menu too. From spicy squid to tempura prawns, oodles of noodles to roast duck soup, this place is packed with flavours and there’s a warm vibe too. It’s a short hop from the Cambridge Punt Company desk on Quayside – so why not head there for lunch before or after your River Cam punting tour?
4. Best breakfast and coffee at Stir on Chesterton Rd
If you’re coming for an early morning punt, which we highly recommend you do, then breakfast or brunch at Stir is a perfect pairing. It’s a local secret that you’ll be glad to know when you arrive at this lovely café – yes, it’s a stroll from town centre but the locals love Stir’s delicious coffee, baked goods and tasty brunches.
And do feast your eyes on Stir’s gorgeous Instagram page – lovely photography of baked delights!
5. Potter around the All Saints Garden Art & Craft Market
It’s another delight that’s just down the road from The Cambridge Punt Company – and it’s pretty highly regarded at that. The All Saints Garden market won the 2018 award for the Best Small or Speciality Market from the National Association of British Market Authorities. We love the collection of little stalls here because they showcase our local talent – jewellers, natural soap producers, watercolour painters, woodworkers, glassmakers, card designers, leather designers and more. If you’re looking for a gift to top off your trip, then this treat of a market is the place for you.
6. Spring and summer swims at Jesus Green Lido
At 100 yards long, this 1920s outdoor swimming pool is one of the biggest in Europe. Jesus Green Lido is closed for the season now but if you’re planning a trip to Cambridge next spring or summer, then take a dip in the pool the locals love. It’s open again in May 2019 – so come punting with The Cambridge Punt Company then spend the afternoon at our lovely lido. There’s plenty of sunbathing space too, so don’t forget your sunscreen, shades and a chunky book.
Keep up with the latest poolside news on the Jesus Green Lido Twitter feed.
7. Lammas Land for a picnic or family fun
Spread out your picnic blanket on the grass and paddle with the kids in the shallow pool in milder months. You can wander to nearby natural spaces too, including Coe Fen and Sheep’s Green, full of wild flowers and birdlife.
Combine Lammas Land with our punting tour for the ultimate lazy day in Cambridge.
8. Feast at the Cambridge Sunday Market
We love to pick up bags full of organic fruits and veg at the Cambridge Sunday Market. There are organic meats and cheese and tempting cakes too – as well as pottery, paintings, photography and sculpture. Enjoy a Sunday punting tour with The Cambridge Punt Company – then mosey over to Market Square, to sample local produce and watch the world go by.
Keep posted about all the stalls and market news at the Cambridge Markets Twitter feed.
9. Cycling everywhere
We’re a city of two-wheelers. From locals to our student population, school kids to sprightly OAPs, Cambridge is synonymous with the bicycle. So why not hire a bike (or bring your own), to get the best access to the nooks and crannies of our glorious city. Spin over to Quayside for your punting tour – but don’t forget to stop at the water’s edge. Cycling isn’t recommended in the River Cam.
10. Best riverside pub – The Plough in Fen Ditton
Many an hour, of many a bygone day, has melted into a shimmering haze at The Plough. This large pub has the best beer garden by a mile and some tasty food choices to keep you going including veggie and vegan choices. It’s a couple of miles out of town, so perhaps this is one for visitors who have a few days in Cambridge – but if doing-not-very-much-with-a-drink is your thing, then The Plough is your heaven away from home. You can book a table on The Plough’s website.
The Cambridge Punt Company is a fully licensed, insured and authorised punting company. Book your shared punting tour or private punting tour online for our best punting prices. Call Jo on 07943 820 437 for help with your booking or special group requests.