Punting companies in Cambridge
Scudamore’s is the biggest punting company with three of the largest and most financially viable locations on the river. Any other company is dwarfed in turnover and capacity.
Whilst they may have a similar list price to other companies, they maintain a higher average ticket price by offering fewer discounts than competitors.
Cambridge Chauffeur Punts
This is a medium-sized punt company. There is one location within a lucrative spot on Silver street.
The company is owned by one person and there is plenty of money to suit his needs. As a result expect a more relaxed approach to work. You will be less likely to get the uncomfortable hard sell from this company.
Business is open to all, however they’re main customer has become Chinese tour groups who arrive on coaches nearby on Queens road.
Prices here are average
Granta Punts is a medium-sized punt company. The location is idyllic, however off the Beaton track.
Being located in an area with less footfall Granta has previously marketed themselves a company favoured by locals. In recent years they have controversially used ex-illegal punt operators to sell their tours under the banner of Varsity tours. This was unpopular with other companies such as Scudamore’s who would otherwise have had the footfall. Street sales were officially banned by the council on the basis that it was a nuisance, this benefited well geographically placed companies and has always been a topic of debate.
Trinity College is the only college which rents self-drive punts directly to the public. Around the punt building, punt renting and maintenance a community of friends was spawned. The chauffeured tours which were once done as a side line, have now become a regularly advertised attraction.
Prices are the cheapest on the river as there is less of a capitalist feel to this operation. The tours are strictly on smaller eight seater punts and you will often be punted by someone who owns their own punt and has been punting for decades.
Scholars Punting Cambridge, Lets Go Punting (Traditional Punting Company), Cambridge Punt Company, Cam Punters & Rutherford’s
We all fall under the same banner of Magdalene Bridge because we all operate from the same council-owned landing stage. Each owner is licenced with just four punts. We either operate separately or in pairs with eight punts (let’s Go Punting and Cam Punters).
Our location has little footfall although we are licenced to have some limited presence on the quayside which is busier.
Given the competition of companies within this small area expect a high-quality service and people trying very hard. Needs must, and incredibly the first page of Google is dominated by Magdalene Bridge.
Chauffeurs are handpicked and groomed like professional footballers. Companies are proud of their teams. In the punt race last year Magdalene took Gold, Silver and I personally took Bronze (not bad for an old man). Our chauffeurs give the full 45-minute tour, it’s just we can’t afford for them to get an injury through lack of fitness.
If you are a fan of buying local, then your money is best placed with Magdalene Bridge.
These blogs include information on the history of modern punting in Cambridge. In places, there are some of the politics of punting.