Cambridge Cream Tea Punting
Join us and sample the history of refreshing afternoon tea and find yourself catching the Cambridge cream tea punting bug.
Starting with tea, as all good things do!
Tea drinking has been the height of sophistication in England since the 1660s, when it was popularised by King Charles II and his Portuguese wife, Catherine de Braganza. It’s nowadays something that we’re famous for as a nation.
Back when the trend began, it wasn’t for everyone: hefty price tags meant tea was the preserve of the aristocracy. This exclusivity helped ensure that tea was destined to be BIG in Britain. Anyone who was anyone was indulging!
John Wesley deplored it and Samuel Pepys was an early adopter: ‘And afterwards I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I never had drank before’. George Orwell recognised it as a mainstay of civilisation in Britain and even wrote an essay on how to make it perfectly.
For a fantastic 362 years, the British people have had a love affair with tea.
This English miracle elixir breaks through the boundaries of class, status and diversity with a whooping 165 million cups of tea drank everyday (2018)!
Tea drinking might be on the decline overall with the invasion of coffee and herbal teas but it’s still very much embedded into the national traditions across all walks of life.
Arguably the best English invention – surely the afternoon tea
How did afternoon tea start? Afternoon tea has been around a long time and was made fashionable by one of Queen Victoria’s friends, Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.
Anna would complain of a sinking feeling around 4pm in the afternoon. This was because only two meals were served a day and with the recent advent of kerosene lamp lighting, by 1840 dinner was served increasingly later in the evening.
Anna began ordering a tray of tea, bread and butter with cake to her room around mid-afternoon, and it was not long before she began inviting friends to join her for these clandestine social meetings.
Anna came to stay in London, as the well-to-do might, and she brought her afternoon ritual with her. The trend took off and soon enough afternoon tea became a fad amongst the rich.
Queen Victoria’s famous afternoon teas
Queen Victoria, a life long friend of Anna, loved this fabulous idea and starting ordering luxurious tea, sandwiches and cake in the afternoon.
The Queen famously enjoyed sponge with jam and raspberries so much so that the cake took on her name and is recognised globally as the classic Victoria sponge that we know and love today.
Evolutionary cream tea punting experiences
We invite you to enjoy a moment of transcendence on one of our cream tea punting experiences, away from the mad and frantic world. Join us to find out about tea and cake on a marvellous punting tour with an added introduction to the history of Cambridge.
Savour the sweet flavours as you glide along the peaceful and serene College Backs. This quintessentially English experience combines our 50 minute punting tour with a Cambridgian Cream Tea from the famous Fitzbillie’s.
Our cream tea punting experience includes freshly baked traditional scones served with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam. If you’re looking for a full afternoon tea, then opt for our amazing picnic punting experience from Fitzbillie’s which is modelled on the full traditional afternoon tea.
The Cambridge Cream Tea Punting Tour Information
Our 50 minute cream tea punting tours are bookable in advance and will be waiting for you with freshly prepared scones and tea.
Please bear in mind that you’ll need to call us on 01223 322200 to let us know about any dietary requirements in advance.
Head directly to our Jesus Green Moorings just 2 minutes along the Quayside boardwalk to take your tour – your boat will be set up and ready to go at your chosen time.
Our cream tea tours can be booked throughout the day. Our pricing indicates the number of people that you can bring with you on your tour, boat prices having a maximum of 6 or a maximum of 12 passengers.
For last minute bookings, please contact our Bookings Team on 01223 322200.
You welcome to bring your dog with you for the experience and best of all there’s no extra charge for your best friend!
Both our boats and our employees will be dressed for the weather on the day. If it’s sunny, there will be no hot water bottles or umbrellas – unless you’d like one for shade – and your guide will be wearing a waistcoat.
Alternatively, at colder times of the year, your guide will wear a professional boating coat and your punt will be equipped with extra snuggly blankets, umbrellas and hot water bottles.
What to do if you’re running late? Your cream tea punting booking will be held for you for 15 minutes, after this point it wouldn’t be possible to go on the tour as this would mean missing our later bookings.
Please call us the moment you know of any delays to your schedule and we’ll try to organise things to accommodate you.