Suitable for novices and experts alike, students, corporate parties, families and groups of friends can all experience this quintessential Oxford experience of punting on the river Cherwell. Punting is a truly timeless, slightly eccentric, quintessentially Oxford, idyllic pleasure.
With enchanting scenic views and winding ancient waterways, punting in Oxford has long been a tradition of locals and tourists alike. Punts are flat-bottomed boats and punting is the act of propelling the boat along the water using a long stick to push the bottom of the river.
It’s thought that Oxford’s favourite pastime began around 1860, and, today, it’s an Oxford University tradition to go punting after graduation – or pretty much any other time comes to think of it.
Punting in Oxford
- If you wander next to the River Thames on a warm day, you’ll notice lots of people have taken to the water to give punting a go. With little experience needed, it’s a great way to access unparalleled views of the historic city and surrounding countryside.
- Embark on a punting trip with an optional walking tour and experience Oxford’s interesting history from a different perspective.
- Every student at Oxford Scholastica is given the opportunity to go punting, and it is often the thing students say they are most looking forward to when they receive their summer school timetables.
- For punting in Oxford, The Cherwell Boathouse has provided a handy video guide on how to punt correctly.
- For the ultimate Oxford experience, splurge on a chauffeured punting tour. Up to four people, plus the chauffeur, can clamber into a punt and explore the Oxford countryside from the tranquillity of the water.
Top Punting Locations At Oxford:
- Top punting locations are Magdalen Bridge, River Thames Below Folly Bridge, and River Thames Segment "The Isis"
- Without a doubt, the easiest place to hire a punt is by Magdalen College Bridge or Magdalen Bridge Boathouse. The route is pleasant, taking you around the back of St. Hilda’s College and Christ Church meadows. The route is relaxed and as the current flows south, one should be able to glide with relative ease around this route.
- Another option is to head to the Cherwell Boathouse, which is in the North of the city. The Boathouse is on a much wider, more secluded part of the river Cherwell. If you fancy punting in Oxford with style, the Cherwell Boathouse boasts a pretty good restaurant with a sterling wine list.
- Starting at the Cherwell Boathouse, you’ll be punted past the playing fields of the Dragon School – graced by Hermione Granger herself. You’ll then wind downstream, discovering University parks and the former nudist site for the Oxford Dons.
- You’ll travel south from the boathouse, past the Botanic Gardens, and through Christ Church Meadows. If time allows, your chauffeur will continue along to the south of the Isis, where the river opens, and the constraints of city life are left far, far behind.
- Oxford has several splendid bridges, which can be observed from the vantage point of a punt for a beautiful selection, including photographs. The trip will disclose all the secrets surrounding Oxford University, as well as give you a lowdown on the city as you float along the waterways and then meander through the cobbled streets.
- You’ll also be able to spot wildlife and appreciate the striking landscape, all whilst dodging the cheeky ducks, training rowers, and punters sharing the water with you.
Food and Drinks while Punting
Indulge in an afternoon tea sightseeing cruise along the River Thames for an afternoon filled with heady fun and tasty food.
Onboard, one of the favourite Oxford restaurants, The Folly, provides a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, decadent cakes and scones, and tea for you to enjoy.
The tour is highly recommended for big families, and friends who wish to explore punting and enjoy together.