Growing up on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, I’ve spent many a weekend in the lovely city of Cambridge enjoying the pubs along the river or shopping in the centre with friends. It’s one of my favourite places to go during the summer in the UK, there’s just so much charm in the winding streets filled with history. Before I went away travelling, Cambridge was always the place my friends and I would go for special occasions – birthdays, bank holiday weekends, even a surprise baby shower! It’s the perfect city to explore whether you’re away for a romantic weekend, catching up with friends or spending time with family and if you haven’t been before, it’s such a great tourist destination. There are so many cute cafes and restaurants to explore, the history and beautiful architecture of the university and of course, it has all the shopping you could want. I’ve always felt very lucky to have cities like this, and Norwich – which I think has remained such an undiscovered gem for so many over the years – right on my doorstep.One thing I’ve always wanted to do over the years is to spend an afternoon punting down the river in Cambridge – kind of a home bucket list item. It’s just one of those things I’ve never got round to actually doing, so many times my friends have all said it looks so much fun but the problem is that every time we go to the city usually it’s for a special occasion and we have lots planned with no free time to do a trip. So I was very excited when Scholars Punting invited me along to experience Cambridge in all it’s glory this weekend – even the temperamental British weather couldn’t put me off enjoying a cruise along the river in these gorgeous little boats. Taking along the best friend for an afternoon of coffee, cake and wine, it was the perfect accompaniment to a trip down the river.We had a fantastic guide, Max, and I really can’t recommend him enough – he gave us a fantastic rundown of the history of Cambridge, interesting facts about the stunning buildings, the different colleges of Cambridge and of course, the prestigious line-up that attended the university. It was the perfect balance of fascinating history, great humour and some pretty entertaining punting anecdotes. Starting out at the Quayside, just a 15-20minute walk from the train station which takes you past some of the fabulous restaurants and coffee shops Cambridge has to offer. The tours get busy during the summer so worth booking ahead to ensure you’re not disappointed, but even during the colder months the river is still pretty busy. We were surprised at the number of boats out despite the grey day – luckily the rain held off for long enough for us to enjoy the 45 minute tour which takes you around a mile along the river and back again.What make the tour worth doing? Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor to Cambridge, this tour shows you a very different and unique side to the city which, unless you’re a student at the colleges, you are unlikely to have seen before. The tour takes in a lot of private land that isn’t open to the public as part of the college grounds, so you not only get to see the beautiful buildings in all their splendour, but the grounds that surround them as well. One of my favourite parts of the tour was the stunning architecture of both the bridges and the colleges – it’s pretty impressive to see the detail of these and to learn about the history behind tiny details. The weather may not have been peak-punting sunshine, but actually we really enjoyed doing the tour on a duller day, it meant the river was much quieter and the moody skies really added to the drama of the architecture, as you can see from the photos.Whether you’re a couple looking to have a private tour, or even a hen party/tour group that fancy a fun activity that really defines Cambridge and shows off the city to it’s best – punting is one experience you don’t want to miss out on. It’m so glad I finally got to experience it and a huge thank you to Max, and the team, for making it such an epic experience. If you would like to book a tour or find out more, visit the website here. Don’t forget you can make your trip extra special by booking some bubbly for the journey, and I hear the company may soon be introducing sushi tours which should be good fun. Just, if you’re planning to propose, hold on to the damn ring tightly – we heard quite how many engagement rings are littering the bottom of the river and I don’t want yours to join them!
Have you been punting – how was your experience? Have you been to Cambridge – any recommendations for first-time visitors? What’s on your home bucket list?