Rutherford’s May Ball firework punting is the best opportunity to be a part of the opulent University of Cambridge summer parties in May Week, a misnomer as it takes place every year in June.
Throughout May Week, the Colleges of the University of Cambridge put on a lavish May Balls to celebrate the end of the academic year. As a student, the parties represent a chance to cut loose and party before heading off for the summer. The most famous of these include out-of-this-world choreographed glitzy firework displays, alongside the chance to see top music acts and an excuse to wear your very best gear.
Tickets are tricky to get hold of and are coveted by everyone both in the city and further afield. If you’re not one of the lucky few with a ticket, then the very best place to enjoy the events and firework displays is from the river.
Even if your student days are over you don’t have to miss out. For a jaw-droppingly beautiful and oh-so Cambridge experience, hire your own punt and guide to drift along the Backs. You guide will claim pole position for you to experience the fireworks and frolics taking place at the May Balls on the banks.
The atmosphere on the river itself is captivating and on the flotilla of punts you can join in the celebrations. You’ll see students dressed in sumptuous ball dresses or stylish tuxedos and the river decorated in sparkling lights, according to the theme of the May Ball.
For 2018, there are two nights on which you can share these unique experiences from the river:
Monday 18th June 2018
Sharing out-of-this-world fireworks, these two Colleges know how to put on a show – Not to be missed!
Tuesday 19th June 2018
Named as the world’s seventh best party by Time Magazine, these fireworks are in a class of their own.
Your guide and punt will be awaiting your arrival, aiming to leave from around 9:00pm so that we can ensure that you have a great position to view the fireworks on this, the busiest night of the punting year. You’ll enjoy time to speak to your companions, drink, eat, laugh and share the night as you wait to bear witness to these exclusive traditional events. Champagne celebrations are ubiquitous both on the river and in the May Ball itself, with people on the punts in a party atmosphere as they anticipate the impending displays.
Firework displays start at around 10.30pm to cheers from the students and the punting crowds. The displays are usually around 15 minutes of choreographed fireworks to a mix of music from classical to mainstream popular culture. The style of the show will be difficult to predict and will include every type of firework and light lasers, there’s even been confetti cannons in the past! The grand finale can be heard across the region.
Post fireworks, the punt armada breaks up quickly and every boat makes a beeline back to their respective moorings. The river at this time is alive with hustle and bustle, adding adventure to your night as our experts navigate their way through the madding crowds to the Jesus Green Moorings from which you departed earlier in the evening.
Join us for the punting highlight and night of the year!
Our firework punting experience usually lasts up to 2 hours (depending on position and the return journey adventures) and punts must be reserved in advance. These tickets sell out as there are limited boats available. Punts must be booked in advance and will be waiting for you at your preferred time. Please note that these tours sell out quickly as there are limited boats available.
Please contact us directly to discuss special requests, from flowers or a punting table to bottles of chilled Champagne ready for you on the day. You can reach us on 01223 322200.
On the night, check in with our team at our Jesus Green Moorings anytime from 9pm. Our boats can seat a maximum of 12 friends. You’re very welcome to bring along picnics, nibbles and drinks on our boats – in fact we recommend it for this experience.
Our punts will come equipped with cushions and blankets as well as our unique lumbar supports to ensure a comfortable experience. Both our boats and our employees will be dressed for the weather on the evening. Your boat will be equipped with additional blankets and emergency umbrellas – just in case the weather changes!
Please note, there is no access to restroom facilities on this experience and therefore please make sure you answer the call of nature before you leave to ensure that you’re not caught short!
What to do if you’re running late? Please call us the moment you know of any delays to your schedule and we’ll try to organise things to accommodate you. It’s important to note that the best spots are grabbed on a first come basis and therefore lateness may affect your viewing position!