The last 12 months at Let’s Go Punting have flown by, it really felt like yesterday that we were writing a recap on 2022. Now, here we are a year later, reviewing the whirlwind of 2023. Each month that went by brought something special, a new thing to be proud of and a new badge to add to our sash.
It’s time for your annual New Year newsletter, a time to reminisce on the achievements of 2023. Grab a mince pie, and a glass of fizz and let’s toast to the year passed.
Considering the chilly weather, January kicked off the year as the busiest January to date. We welcomed lots of new customers on our punting tours amongst the iconic colleges. With a hot drink and lots of layers, anyone can brave the cold to experience the incredible frost-covered colleges.
For many, Valentine’s Day is the biggest event of the month, and we were no exception. To show our appreciation for the day that celebrates the patron saint of love, we created a bespoke package. On offer was a Private Punting tour for two, a bottle of Prosecco, a bouquet of 12 Red Roses and an Antipasti platter for two. This was received with great success.
As the warmer weather and sunshine finally appeared, so did primroses, crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils in Spring. Continuing to show our loved ones gratitude, our specialised packages were created for Mother’s Day. Every mum received a complimentary bunch of daffodils with their punting tour – the perfect way to show some appreciation to the hardest workers.
In March, we also partnered with Traditional Punting Company to raise money for Red Nose Day. For every like on one of our socials of a chauffeur in a red nose, we doubled this and donated to charity – we raised a grand total of £200!
In April we welcomed our upgraded punts to the river. Our new ‘Glider Punts’ consist of a fibreglass shell, flexiteek desks and recycled wooden trim. They also feature raised lightweight & spacious aluminium seating, and collapsible side tables for refreshments. The new fleet was built in-house at our barn in South Cambs, the immense hard work has paid off and we are thrilled with them!
In the final week of April, we hosted an Industry Week, where we invited local businesses to join us for a delightful day of punting on the scenic River Cam. The event proved to be a fantastic opportunity to build new partnerships and make meaningful connections.
As we wrapped up the early days of spring, our annual Easter Punt and Hunt added the perfect touch to usher in the warmer months ahead. This celebration set the tone for the season – and the little ones even got to enjoy a sweet treat from Hardy’s Sweet shop at the end!
May has always been the beginning of the busy season – and this was no different. Our staff had all hands on deck, pardon the pun. Our office team was busy capturing pictures of the new boats in prep for social media during the busy season. And our new cashiers, chauffeurs and a new assistant manager were all busy training.
Kicking off the summer season, we celebrated at our annual staff BBQ. This was the perfect opportunity for everyone to relax and get to know each other before the busy season hit.
With June being pride month, we celebrated colourfully. Our departure desk fashioned a new Pride flag and lots of fun accessories. Cambridge Pride was held on Jesus Green on the 17th, right next to our departure point, so we got to join in with the incredible atmosphere.
One of the biggest and most exciting events in Cambridge is the Cambridge University May Balls. And no they are not held in May, just to confuse you. For two nights, chauffeured punts fill the river outside St John’s and Trinity, giving everyone on board a spectacular, front-row view of the fireworks displays. Trinity College and St John’s College put on the most incredible display every year making this a magical night not to miss!
As the school summer holidays started, we saw the number of corporate staff parties grow. Groups of colleagues enjoyed drinks and games on Jesus Green provided by us, followed by a relaxing punting tour to settle any rounders debates.
In August, we held our much-anticipated annual Music on the River event. Adding a fresh note, we introduced the talents of Georgia and Imlac, while also responding to popular demand by bringing back Ukulele Simon. Over three Friday evenings, we were treated to a delightful hour and a half of music, serenaded by the setting sun and entertained with renditions, including classics like ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me,’ ‘Satisfaction,’ and ‘As I Was.
With the nights starting to draw in and summer coming to an end, we created a partnership with City Pub Group just in time for a few more summer evening drinks! We are so excited to build on this partnership and plan some exciting events – definitely not something to be missed!
After a season of incredibly hard work from the staff, we go to celebrate at the staff party. We enjoyed drinks at Cafe Foy, a local favourite, and pizza from Three Joe’s to thank our staff for all their hard work.
October saw the return of our popular Halloween Punt and Hunt for kids. Complete the activities to crack the code and earn a sweet treat from Hardy’s Sweet Shop. Priced at just £2.50, this add-on was a great way for families to make the most of their tour experience, creating lasting memories with a touch of spooky excitement for the little ones.
With fewer tourists, the riverbanks were peacefully undisturbed, allowing locals and visitors alike to savour a less crowded yet equally enchanting glide along the river. The calm of this quieter season always lets us dive into the preparations for the upcoming festive celebrations. Behind the scenes, we meticulously laid the groundwork for an array of exciting Christmas activities and plans.
In December, as temperatures dropped and the holiday season approached, we embraced the festive spirit with a series of exciting activities.
We held our annual and ever-popular Christmas Carols on the River event, featuring the St. John’s Evangelist Choir with all ticket sales going to Tom’s Trust – a local charity providing support for children with brain tumours and their families. Despite windy conditions, our chauffeurs did an incredible job of keeping the boats together so all our customers could enjoy the choir’s beautiful singing. In total, we raised an incredible £1200 for Tom’s Trust. Additionally, we donated £300 to the St John the Evangelist Choir. They very kindly split this donation with £150 going to Tom’s Trust and £150 going to Wntercomfort – a local homelessness charity supported by the church.
Our Christmas Punt and Hunt was another success. This scavenger hunt took kids on an adventure along the River Cam, answering clues to crack the code at the end and win them a sweet from Hardy’s Sweet Shop.
In December we also collaborated with the Chestnut Group (behind some of our local favourite restaurants), bringing exciting deals and offers to our customers. One lucky customer even won a punting tour for 6 guests and a £50 voucher to spend at the Rupert Brooke in picturesque Grantchester!
Last but not least, we had our final staff party of the year with the winter crew. Celebrating at the Tivoli, we split into teams for an epic shuffleboard tournament, enjoyed tasty fayre from Steak & Hounour and Levels Pizza, and finished off with mini golf on their electric greens. A brilliant way to get together before Christmas and test our competitive spirit.
We hope you all had an amazing 2023, here’s to 2024.