The term ‘punting’ comes from the latin term ‘ponto’, meaning a flat-bottomed boat. Usually, punting takes place upon narrow boats which are square at both ends and propelled by a long pole (think Venetian gondolas, though technically those are propelled with an oar, not a pole!) and often chauffeured. We’ve compiled 10 of the best reasons you should give this quintessentially English activity a try…
1. Experience a different perspective - you’re probably used to walking along the waters edge, especially if you’re a dog owner! But when do you get the chance to enjoy the tranquility and beautiful sights upon the actual water? From your boat you can experience a completely different side to the riverbanks, literally!
2. See wildlife in its natural habitat - in a city like Oxford it can be easy to forget about all the beautiful wildlife that surrounds us, but when climbing aboard your boat you can get right amongst the kingfishers, robins and voles!
3. Escape the city and embrace a slower pace of life - rivers are a magical place where everything seems to happen in slow motion. Let everyone else rush around whilst you sit back and relax for the day amongst the tranquil sounds and sights.
4. Visit quaint country pubs and indulge in a tipple - what better way to quench your thirst and quash your hunger is there than stopping off at a relaxing, idyllic riverside pub?
5. Step back in time - lovers of literature unite! Why not follow the footsteps (or should we say paddle strokes) of Lewis Carroll who wrote the famous Alice in Wonderland (1865) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (1871).
6. Be inspired - artists, poets and writers can gain an abundance of inspiration from the sights and sounds that a punting trip can offer, just as Carroll did! Why not take the whole experience home with you by recording birdsong and the sound of the water gently lapping at your boat! Bliss!
7. Perfect for parties - especially Hen parties! Hens are increasingly finding new and unique ways to celebrate their forthcoming marriage, and what could be nicer and more memorable than a gentle meander down the Thames with your ‘BFF’s’ and future bridesmaids?
8. Fun and memorable way to entertain the kids - take a picnic hamper full of your favourite treats and a flask of something hot on board and play a spot of ‘I-spy’. Get crafty by packing some paper and pencils so that they can draw their favourite animals that they spot from the boat.
9. Take in the history and architecture - Oxford is a city blessed with world-renowned architecture, as is the surrounding area. Take in the scenery as you drift past St Hilda's College gardens, Oxford's famous Botanic Gardens, Christ Church College Meadows and Magdalen School’s beautiful rose gardens.
10. Office from office - there’s nothing stopping you taking a day out of the office to work from your very own chauffeured punt! Fresh air, inspiration and a sense of freedom - perfect if you need some time out. Just make sure you don’t drop your laptop in the water!
If you’d like to gain more information about the Oxfordshire punting scene, read our next article titled ‘Where to hire a punt in Oxford’ and you’ll be punting in no time!
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Tim and I own and run thebestof Oxford, a local online and offline marketing service for the best recommended businesses in the Oxford area. Our award winning website showcases these businesses, as well...