Frequently Asked Questions

Who, What, Where, When, How, Why – Read some of our Frequently Asked Questions about punting tour experiences in Cambridge!

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, get in touch on 01223 322200 or by email at info@rutherfordspunting.com and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or take suggestions. 

LOCATIONS

Cambridge is the home of pleasure punting. Head to our Jesus Green Moorings in Cambridge to take our Visit England accredited punting tour. You’ll find Rutherford’s official moorings a 2 minute walk along the boardwalk from Quayside.

Rutherford’s Bookings Desk
Quayside, Cambridge CB5 8AB

Rutherford’s Moorings
Jesus Green, Cambridge CB5 8AQ

GETTING THERE

You can get a taxi straight to Bridge Street, right beside the Quayside in Cambridge. On the pedestrian area you’ll find the Rutherford’s Bookings Desk.

You can catch any bus to the centre of Cambridge and take a short walk to the Quayside on Bridge Street. Catch bus number 5 or 6 and you’ll stop right opposite the Quayside at the Bridge Street stop.

Drive to one of the five Park and Ride sites on the edge of Cambridge to avoid the expensive parking charges. All the Park and Ride sites go into the Drummer Street area, around a 10 minute walk from Rutherford’s Quayside location.

If you’re looking to avoid buses, the closest car park is the Park Street Car Park, just 5 minutes from the Quayside.

OPENING DAYS AND TIMES

You can go punting with Rutherford’s all year around. Rutherford’s are only closed on Christmas Day. 

Rarely, river conditions make it unsafe for our guides to push tours and we therefore close at short notice. We will contact you should this affect your booking.

Rutherford’s are open from 9:30am till dusk every day. Excitingly, this means that you can stay on the river much later in the balmy summer evenings.

Our opening hours reflect the seasonal amount of daylight in Cambridge. This means that in summertime you can book a punt experience well into the night at 8 or 9pm. In the depths of winter our last boat leaves around 3:15pm.

That depends on what you mean by best, which punting experience you would like to select and also on the time of year. For the most beautiful light, late afternoon is best. To avoid wait times to board a shared punting tour during peak season (summer holidays) the morning is best.

BOATS

Punts and gondolas are very different in both build and usage!

Punts are wide flat-bottomed boats with straight ends. Punters propel and steer using a long pole (quant) by pushing against the bottom of a placid lake or low current river. Punts were initially designed as work boats for a variety of trades such as fishing, catching wild fowl and reed-cutting in the fens. Punts are used as both work boats and pleasure boats around the world today.

In contrast, gondolas are built with a modified V bow (only part flat bottom) and are rowed with an oar by gondola drivers (gondoliers) through Venice’s canal networks. They are more similar to a large canoe, but are usually narrower. The designs are exquisite and they are expensive to build.  Gondolas are also now found in Australia as pleasure craft.

Another important difference is that gondolas use a small electric motor, each boat is set at the same speed and the gondoliers use the motors in the same places on the tours to ensure that the flow of traffic is more manageable. This limits the strain on the gondoliers body and also minimises incidents of tendonitis. When boarding your gondola, you’ll spot the charge port on the side of the step and the buttons on the deck, which are stepped on to operate the motor (one forward and one backward).

Our traditional punts comfortably seat 12 people. Groups of more than 12 people will need to book multiple boats.

Your guide will ensure that you board the punt safely from our moorings. On board you’ll find our punts are dressed with cushions, woollen blankets and our uniquely designed lumbar supports in place for your comfort. On hand we have umbrellas and also offer hot water bottles and additional blankets throughout the cooler months.

Our boats are numbered, rather than named. You’ll find yourself seated on R1, R2, D2, or R4.

GUIDES

To maintain our standards, we’ve signed up to be mystery shopped regularly by Visit England and other partner organisations. This has the benefit of ensuring the best experience for our customers whilst spotting any issues early through their detailed feedback. Our guides are also encouraged to develop their tour through a special training scheme backed up with a pay scale focused on customer experience and value.

The guide won’t sing as a standard rule. Even so, if you ask nicely you never know!

We love to hear feedback on how our guides are doing and what you loved as well as ideas for future tours. Email us at info@rutherfordspunting.com or alternatively, give us feedback in the following locations:

Rutherford’s Punting  Cambridge Facebook
Rutherford’s Punting Cambridge Google
Rutherford’s Punting Cambridge TripAdvisor

YOUR PUNTING EXPERIENCE

The tour takes you along the College Backs, a 1 mile (1.6km) stretch of one of the most beautiful stretches of river in all of England. The area has been declared a historic park by English Heritage.

Rutherford’s punting tours glide past seven spectacular university Colleges and under eight world-famous bridges. Your guide will give you an award winning tour as you cruise along. You’ll see amazing buildings and structures, pristine gardens and more, including:

  • The breath-taking Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge style)
  • The wedding cake style of St John’s New Court
  • King’s College Chapel from its most beautiful angle
  • Queens’ impressive Mathematical Bridge

Our tours usually last around 50 minutes, depending on the hustle and bustle of the river and on the strength of the river flow.

Experience the best punting tour without breaking the bank on a shared tour. You’ll share the boat with others and will be booked in on arrival to the next available tour. On busy days you may have a longer wait time.

If you’d prefer a more exclusive experience, book a private tour and dictate the time and date of your tour in advance. On the tour, it’s a more personal experience. You can ask to have a go yourself or ask more questions during the tour. You can also choose to include a picnic, freshly prepared sushi, Champagne and more!

Your punting tour will start and finish in the same location as a round trip. If you would like to go one way on a tour you’ll need to take a private tour and the finish point will need to be arranged in advance with the relevant landowners.

Stopping or starting a tour at one of the University of Cambridge Colleges will need to be arranged directly with the College in advance. If this has been done, then we can arrange a private tour for you and your group.

Punting prices depend on the experience that you want, and there are many options to choose between.

You’ll experience our Visit England accredited tour for less by joining with other people for a shared tour. Shared punting experiences offer the best way to see the prestigious College Backs for less.

Look online for our pricing and bear in mind that it’s always cheaper to book online where possible for both our private and shared tour experiences.

You can book your shared punting experience on the day, online and in person. For last minute private tours, please speak to our Guide on the Quayside or call us on 01223 322200 and we’ll try to arrange things for you.

We accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, AliPay as well as all major debit and credit cards through Stripe online and WorldPay at our Bookings Desk. For conferences, repeat business partners and large group partners we also offer an invoicing service. If you are booking on the day with our team on the Quayside, you’ll be able to pay by cash.

After booking on our website, you’ll receive your digital ticket confirmation by email. Please show us this on arrival to check in for your tour (either on your phone or tablet or as a print out). If you’re booking with our team, they’ll issue you a ticket.

If you’re planning on using a shared tour ticket, visit our Bookings Team on the day that you wish to go punting and we’ll get you booked on to the next available tour. You’ll find them at our Bookings Desk at our Jesus Green Moorings (Cambridge, CB5 8AQ).

If you’ve reserved a private tour, aim to sign in with our Bookings Team at least 10 minutes prior to your private tour.

All our tours depart from and return to our Jesus Green Moorings, Cambridge CB5 8AQ. This is the river side of La Mimosa restaurant in the corner of Jesus Green. The moorings are 2 minutes walk along the board walk from our Quayside Bookings Desk.

Scheduled shared punting tours depart frequently throughout the day, so grabbing a shared tour ticket on the day is usually the best option on busier days. Our online prices offer the best value!

On summer days, tours leave every 15 minutes and in quieter times there may be up to 45 minutes between tours. Wait times on a sunny summer holiday weekend may be up to 2 hours at peak times (between 12pm and 4pm).

When you grab your ticket through our website, you’ll receive an email and the opportunity to download the ticket to your phone wallet. There isn’t an option to book a time and date in advance – these tickets are valid for 6 months.

On the day you wish to go punting, you can head straight to see our Bookings Team at our Jesus Green Moorings. Just show them the email or the ticket and they’ll book you seats on the next available tour.

Your punt tour will depart from the moorings, a 2 minute walk along the board walk from Quayside. Please note that seats are allocated based on a first come-first served basis and therefore on sunny summer holiday days we recommend booking in earlier on the day.

There are many types of private tour to choose between, from our traditional tour or Champagne punting, to punting picnics and more! You’ll find that what is included in your tour will depend on the experience booked. There’s something for everyone!

Private punting tours can be booked up to a minimum of 24 hours in advance to ensure that we have enough time to set up the boat for your arrival.

If you wake up and decide that you’d like to come punting on the day, get in touch on 01223 322200 and we’ll see what we can do to meet your needs.

BABIES & CHILDREN

Babies and small children are welcome on our punts. The still flat waters of the River Cam make for a soothing experience. Babies and children up to the age of 3 travel free on our shared tours. Please note that on our private tours they do count towards passenger numbers – even if they’re really tiny!

Babies and children must travel with a nominated guardian. As a guardian, we ask that you make sure that the baby or child doesn’t put their hands over the edge of the boat to minimise the risks from bumping into other boats.

There are no age limits – old and young, punting can suit everyone. We ask that those under the age of 16 are accompanied by an adult.

CANCELLATION AND LATE ARRIVAL INFORMATION

We accept cancellations in line with our terms. Please get in touch with any questions at info@rutherfordspunting.com or on 01223322200. 

WEATHER AND RIVER CONDITIONS

Light rain won’t stop your tour, our toasty pollen blankets and colourful umbrellas will keep you snug and dry. If the heavens open and it’s a torrential downpour to remember then we’ll be more than happy to rearrange your tour to a sunnier day.

For more information, please view our terms.

Occasionally the sluice gates may be unexpectedly opened and cause a fast flowing river. We do not expect our team to work under these conditions (regardless of the weather conditions) and therefore may close for the safety of our team.

For more information, please view our terms.

COMPANY INFORMATION

Jesus Green Punting Ltd trading as Rutherford’s

Rutherford’s Punting Company
St Luke’s Church
Victoria Road
Cambridge
CB4 3DZ

VAT NUMBER GB 219014536
COMPANY NUMBER 08047557