I’ve been saying for quite a while that I’d love to explore Cambridge. Everyone that I’ve spoken to that has visited has expressed just how pretty this city is, so when the lovely people at Rutherfords Punting invited me to experience a trip down the River Cam I jumped at the chance! What better way to discover a beautiful city than by drifting through it in a boat – with your very own tour guide!
I didn’t realise that Cambridge was just a 45-minute train ride away from London, now that I know this I can guarantee that I’ll be back regularly to explore new parts of this fascinating city. We boarded the train late AM at Kings Cross and soon found ourselves arriving and beginning a 15-minute walk from the station to the city centre.
We headed straight to the Rutherfords booking desk on the quayside just next to Magdalene Bridge, here there are a few kiosks from various other punting companies (a lot of which looked far less professional). Rutherfords stand was in the centre of a group of kiosks (and surrounded by a bunch of very good looking men in crisp white shirts and chinos – The Rutherford Punters) We signed up to go on the next available ride which was in 20 minutes. At this point we were also notified that we were able to take food and drink onto the boat – Fabulous news! So, we headed to a nearby shop for some crisps and gin & tonic.
We returned to the bookings desk, ready for our ride and were swiftly led further up the river slightly to La Mimosa Punting Station, this is where we boarded the boat. In total there were 11 of us on the tour so it was a bit of a tight squeeze. Unfortunately, we were in the middle section and the people opposite us were quite moody and so they ruined a few of my photos of the ride (no idea why they were all such grumpy guts!).
Our punter/Tour guide was lovely and seemed to know a lot about the city, he was really friendly and funny and luckily a very good driver! He’d been punting as a summer job for 3 years in between university semesters and told us he’d fallen into the river on just 3 occasions in that time – I have absolutely no balance whatsoever so I’d probably have fallen in straight away had I given it a go!
The tour lasted around 45 minutes, in which time we headed a mile down the river, we travelled past the backs of many of the picturesque and historic Cambridge University Colleges including; St Johns, Trinity (which we later decided to go in and investigate), Kings and Queens colleges with our tour guide giving us little snippets of information and stories about each one – this added a lovely touch to the ride and I never knew that Prince Charles was such a bad student! Or even that he attended Cambridge University?!
As well as the colleges, there were other things that we could sightsee as we floated on down, such as Wren Library, King’s Chapel, The Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge (Everything I’ve ever heard about this bridge is apparently all lies).
We then reached Darwin, where we turned around and headed back upstream to where we started. This was lovely as it gave us the chance to have another look at all the sights we’d seen and learnt about and to be able to take them in.
It was a wonderful and relaxing little cruise down the river and I found it very pleasant, informative and just such a nice way to see and learn about a new city without lots of walking. My friend and I discussed coming back with a group of friends to book onto one of the private tours, some of which can include picnics or they offer private dining tours in partnership with Sticks N Sushi, which would be absolutely incredible and right up my street.
After our ride was up we clambered out and decided to carry on wandering and made our way up to Trinity College to have a look around. This place was A LOT different to my university – far prettier and more exciting. There wasn’t a huge amount to look at other than the courtyard although we did manage to seek out the college chapel which was stunning.
We then followed the trail to the back of Trinity College and into the area that backs onto the river that we’d just sailed down. Here, we crossed over the bridge and sat bankside watching the other punting boats travel down the river – and some very near collisions!
We continued to walk around the city after sitting for a while. I bought some amazing fudge and we looked around the Sunday market before heading for home.
What a lovely place, I’m really hoping to return soon, maybe this time for a weekend break. I also feel that coming back here around Christmas time would be magical and potentially a very romantic trip.
Does anyone have any recommendations for my next trip to Cambridge?
For more information regarding Rutherfords Punting or to book advance tickets please CLICK HERE