A punt tour of the College Backs provides the perfect introduction to historic Cambridge.
Cambridge is named after its river, a clear indication of the central role this waterway has played in the history of this ancient university city. The most famous stretch of the River Cam is known as the College Backs and runs from Queens' College to Magdalene College. Set amongst spacious lawns and intimate gardens are some of Cambridge's most renowned sights, including the Mathematical Bridge, King's College Chapel, the Wren Library and the Bridge of Sighs.
This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stretches of river in England and there is no better way to experience it than from one of our chauffeured punts, with one of our knowledgeable guides providing a tour which combines an historical perspective with insights into university life today.
We are open daily throughout the year, except December 25th, from 10:00 until dusk, conditions permitting. We run regular public tours of the College Backs each day. Because of the popularity of these tours reserving places in advance is recommended.
Punts - a brief history
A punt is a traditional square-ended, flat-bottomed boat, usually propelled using a long pole. Punts were developed in Medieval times to provide stable craft which could be used in areas of water too shallow for rowing conventional craft. One such area was the Fens, the marshy flatlands north of Cambridge, where punts were integral to local trades such as eel fishing and reed-cutting, until they died out in the late nineteenth century.
Punts were introduced to Cambridge as pleasure craft in Edwardian times. One of the pioneers of punt hire on the River Cam was F. Scudamore, who founded his business in 1910, quickly establishing punting as Cambridge's favourite pastime. Today, Scudamore's Punting Company owns the world's largest fleet of punts, with nearly 150 craft available for hire along two routes.
Punts today are usually 6 to 7 metres long and 1 to 2 metres wide. They are propelled by means of a 5 metre long wood or aluminium pole, which is also used to steer the craft. This method of propulsion is known as "punting" - just using a paddle to move along doesn't count!
Despite the constraints of our historic riverside locations, we are committed to ensuring that the widest range of people can access our punt stations and enjoy the river.
Accesso per disabili disponibile
Numero di minori permesso per adulto
Indirizzo: Granta Place, Mill Lane, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1RS, Regno Unito
The College Backs last approximately 45 minutes, starting and finishing at our Mill Lane station. Our tours punts hold up to 12 passengers and come equipped with blankets and umbrellas as standard. Please note that you are reserving places on a public tour.
This tour is very popular and advance reservations are recommended.
You are requested to check in at the punt station ticket office 10 minutes before your reserved tour time; late arrival may lead to further delays to your departure.
To enable a prompt check-in please bring a print-out of your reservation with you.
How to find us
Scudamore's Punting Company, Granta Place, Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RS.
Our Mill Lane punt station is in the southwestern area of the city centre, only a 5 minute walk from King's College, the Market Square and the Tourist Information Centre.
Travelling to Cambridge
By rail: Cambridge is an hour by rail from London or Peterborough. Buses run every few minutes from Cambridge Station into the centre of Cambridge and our Mill Lane station is about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop next to John Lewis. Taxis are also available at Cambridge station.
By coach: Regular coach services run from central London and the various London airports. The Parkside coach stands are only a 5 minute walk from Cambridge city centre and 10 minutes from our Mill Lane punt station.
The historic centre of Cambridge lies on the western edge of the city, so the best way to get to us is from the two main roads to the west of Cambridge, the M11 and A14. The M11 runs north from London and the M25; exit at Junction 11 or 12 for Cambridge. The A14 connects East Anglia to the Midlands and the North; to access Cambridge join the M11 southbound and exit at Junction 12.