How to find the Cheapest Punting in Cambridge

With unusually cold weather over the past 2 months (as this is being written it is -6 outside) and the cost of living going up it is understandable that people are wanting to find cheap activities to do without compromising on the quality. This blog post is here to help you find the cheapest punting in Cambridge.


Luckily, for both us and you, the reader, punting can be a relatively cheap but exceedingly amazing activity. Contrary to popular belief, punting is a year-round activity and gives equal pleasure whether it is done in summer or winter. With Cambridge being the number one spot in the UK to go punting, it can be very overwhelming to choose which company and tour type is the best option for you.


This is the ultimate guide to help you figure out which of the eleven Cambridge punting companies is the best option for you. Hint: it might well be us!

summers day punting in front of New Court


Cambridge Punting Tours


Technically there are four different Cambridge Punting Tours on offer; so first off, it is worth knowing which one suits your needs the best.


The most popular Cambridge Punting route is the ‘College Backs’ tour. This tour runs from either Quayside/Jesus Green or the Mill Pond. It doesn’t matter too much where you depart from as you will see the same sights, however down on Quayside there is a greater variety of punting operators. On the College Backs Punting Tour, you will see seven of the iconic Cambridge University Colleges and nine bridges. The reason this route is so famous is the majority of the mile-long stretch of river is only accessible by boat or by buying tickets to each individual college.


The second Cambridge Punting route is from Mill Pond to Grantchester Meadows, a very picturesque and popular route with the locals during summer. There is only one punting company, Scudamores, which offers self hire punts up to Grantchester.


The next step is to decide on whether you would like to go on a guided punting tour or a self-hire. Each of them has its own benefits; a guided tour will get you a chauffeur included in the price, plus a historical and cultural tour of Cambridge; on a self-hire, you can go at your own pace however it is surprisingly hard to navigate a punt and there’s no guide to tell you about the buildings and bridges that you are passing.


Once you have decided whether to go on a guided punting tour (the most popular option) or not, you then need to decide whether a shared tour or a private tour is the best option for you.


Shared tours are the cheapest way to go punting in Cambridge. You can book a row, half a boat, or three rows. You don’t need to worry about compromising on the quality of the experience, you will still see the same sights and receive the same guided tour. The only difference is that it is a lot cheaper if you are a small group.


Private punting tours are the perfect way to explore the College Backs with just you and those closest to you. The advantage of a private guided punting tour is that you have exclusive use of that boat for 50 minutes. Meaning, if you wanted to pause to take photos with the colleges in the background then you can. This can also end up being the cheapest punting option if you have 10-12 people in your group.

girls having fun, drinkin prosecco on a punt during summer

Researching the cheapest punting options


The next stage, after you have decided what tour to take, is to RESEARCH. If you have your heart set on only punting one way down the river then the only company that can do that is Scudamores. However you’ll pay the same price for half the tour so the best option is a guided return tour of the ‘College Backs’ with Let’s Go Punting.


On the surface, the difference between different punting tours offered by different operators is quite small. However, there is a difference in the finer details, i.e. the added extras, departure times, cancellation policy and price. Additionally, many companies on the river offer a 45-minute trip whereas with us you get a 50-minute tour and boats are booked out on the hour meaning as long as you arrive on time we wont be rushing your punting experience.


Next, find the most bang for your buck. We pride ourselves on being one of the most affordable punting tour operators on the river. Our founders are the parents of two young children and therefore understand the difficulties of finding an activity that not only is entertaining for little ones, but also is cheap and works around your schedule. In 2017 we introduced Early Bird Tours. Early Bird tours depart before 11am, these tours are the perfect way to explore the river at its quietest. You can glide down the river in tranquil waters all whilst marvelling at the natural beauty and diverse ecosystems the River Cam has to offer.


One of the best ways to find cheap punting in Cambridge is by BOOKING ONLINE. Our online tickets are heavily discounted compared to those bought on the day. There are numerous advantages to booking online including; securing a departure time, allowing you to structure your day around your punting tour; larger options of departure times; larger options of seating arrangements; and no queuing.


If you do happen to come down on a quiet day you may be able to strike a deal but always better to book online.

boy with his toy dog enjoying an evening punt along the river cam



You can find discounts online; the best place to look is the ticker banner at the top of the home page or on google under ‘posts’. We have an affiliate system with certain local businesses. Therefore if you book with one of our affiliates you will automatically receive a discount.


We also offer an NHS discount (NHS10PUNT) or a carers discount (carer10).


When you book a punting tour with us, you will receive a free City Guide that will have discounts to various local businesses including Freckleface and The Tipsy Vegan.


We also offer a 10% discount on walking tours booked via Stride.


Our Punting Prices in Cambridge 


We are proud that we offer dynamic pricing structures to ensure that everybody can afford to go punting. We operate during three different seasons; Low; High; and Peak. This means that our prices do undulate to reflect the change in seasons however we still ensure that the pricing remains affordable. To look at our current pricing structures, and to find out how much it costs to go on a punt in Cambridge, there is a page on our website that you can check out.


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