We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the best times to take our guided punting tour along the Cambridge Backs are early morning (9am to 11am) or late (after 6pm). In this blog, find out all about the secret side of River Cam punting, which you’ll only discover on early and late punting tours. We like a challenge at The Cambridge Punt Company – so we’ve taken the first letters of EARLY and LATE, to give you 9 reasons to book an early or late punting tour.
E is for Extra space on the River Cam
Early morning or after 6pm, the mile of waterway that we travel along the Cambridge Backs belongs to you. There’ll be no battling with hundreds of boats on the water or getting caught in jams. Yes, our punt chauffeurs are always skilled at avoiding the novice punters – even at peak times – but how lovely to enjoy plain sailing and focus all of your attention on the splendid sights. As you pass by some of the most majestic and historic buildings in England, you’ll do so with a clear view (rather than a rear view!).
A is for Atmosphere along the Cambridge Backs
Savour those incredible sights without distraction. Take in all of the stories we tell on your guided punting tour. Experience Cambridge University students, relaxing early evening on the banks of the Cam. It’s a charming atmosphere on early and late punting tours. You’ll get a glimpse behind the scenes of Cambridge life.
R is for Romantic punting tours
Your romantic gesture will be a whole lot more memorable if you avoid the masses.
Come early to propose – don’t forget the ring, a rose and a flask of breakfast tea. Come late to impress your date – get cosy under our blankets and pop the fizz at sunset.
L is for Light – such lovely light
We do say this rather a lot but we’ll say it again. The light, the light, the light! The quality is so much better early in the morning and towards sundown. Without the glare of overhead sun, the colours soften and the tones broaden. The reflections on the water are clear delight. On cloudless days, there are pink sunsets over Trinity College. Trinity Hall is magical first thing or late. The long shadows are another special effect of the light at these times. They’ll make you feel super smug about the photos you take. For the best pictures, avoid the bland midday skies and dodge the hoards blocking your perfect shot!
Y is for Your very own punting experience
We do many private punting tours at the Cambridge Punt Company. We take out end of term parties, hen and stag dos, reunions, corporate activities, May Ball fireworks punting and family celebrations. For individuals too – our shared punting tours are a really affordable way to enjoy the Cambridge Backs.
Whether you want to breathe a sigh of relief under the Bridge of Sighs or celebrate in style along side King’s and Queens – early and late punting tours are the best way to create your special memories. It’s our favourite time of day to go out. Our punt chauffeurs are more relaxed because there’s not so much traffic, so they’re even more focused on you.
L is for Leisurely pace on the Cam
Part of the joy of punting – and why it’s been a leisure pursuit in Cambridge for over a century – is the chance you get to slow down, relax and switch off from normal life. Put your phone down for an hour, unplug from all of your responsibilities, bob along the water and take some big deep breaths. Of course, you can take it easy at any time of day with us – but chances are, you’ll discover your inner tortoise a little sooner if you come at calmer times.
A is for Auditory range
Okay, so this is just a fancy way of saying the sounds are better (but we needed something else beginning with A for this blog!). You will hear things on early and late punting tours that you won’t be able to hear at busy times. Your punting tour guide for one! Yes, you’ll still be able to hear our commentary if you come at peak time – but you won’t have so much interference from other people’s tours. You’ll also experience gentler sounds too. Tune into the rhythmic ripples of the river; hear the breeze in the leaves; listen to birds tweet and the students chatter inside the Bridge of Sighs.
T is for Time travel on your guided punting tour
When you have the river more to yourself, you can get deeper into the sense of history. As you listen to the tales from our punt chauffeurs, travel back through the centuries with us. Imagine Samuel Pepys writing a diary at Magdalene College. Think of Sir Christopher Wren drawing up the plans for the Wren Bridge. Be Lord Byron, bringing a bear to Trinity College (yes, really!).
E is for Elegance, darlings!
For those who like to travel in style – and let’s face it, most of us like a bit of VIP treatment in life – early and late punting tours are the way to go. Allow your punt chauffeur to do all the hard work, while you relax, sip a drink and enjoy the company on board. By coming early, you’ll definitely avoid the rowdy crowds and big drinkers. By coming later in the day, the coach parties will have left town for the day. For those who like the good things in life, early or late are the only options.
And if you don’t believe us, then trust Seagull Rob’s review!
“Great punt” – Seagull Rob, Brisbane
The recommendation to go for a guided punt early (before about 11am on Easter Sunday morning) was a wise one, as it became much busier during the day. This meant that the wait for your punt was longer (say half an hour), and the Cam was chocker-block with punts. My definite advice is go early or go late (to avoid tour buses loaded with punters in the middle of the day). When the Cam is packed, it is harder to hear your own tour guide over all of the others. You’re also more likely to crash into, or be crashed into by, an amateur punter.