Punting is a favourite summer pastime among both students and visitors, but handling a punt – a flat-bottomed boat ideal for the shallow waters of the Thames and Cherwell rivers – requires some practise. The punt is propelled and steered with a long pole, which beginners inevitably get stuck in riverbed mud. Pulling over to the banks of the water for a riverside picnic is an essential part of the experience.

There are two central boat rental places: Magdalen Bridge boathouse, beside the Cherwell at the east end of the High Street; and the Thames boat station at Folly Bridge, a short stroll south of the centre along St Aldates. In summer, the queues soon build up at both, so try to get there early – at around 10am. At both boathouses, expect to pay about £16–20 per hour for a boat plus a £30 deposit; ID may be required. Punts can take a maximum of five passengers – four sitting and one punting. Call the boathouses for opening times – which vary – or if there are any doubts about the weather. Both boathouses also rent out chauffeured punts. You’ll also find rowing boats and pedaloes for rent, although these aren’t nearly as much fun.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

England features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The many faces of Bristol: Britain's coolest city

The many faces of Bristol: Britain's coolest city

Bristol's enterprising spirit is one reason we named it the coolest city in Britain earlier this year. And this spirit is all down to the chefs and artists a…

21 Dec 2017 • Ruth-Ellen Davis local_activity Special feature
Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Cowboy, pirate, Aboriginal storyteller, artist, cultural educator, filmmaker, soft-porn photographer. Francis Firebrace, now 81, has certainly led an extraordin…

14 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

In a world where we rely so heavily on GPS to get from A to B, it's easy to tune out from the natural navigational clues that surround us. In this episode of…

07 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
View more featureschevron_right