Go punting, kayaking, sailing and swimming in this clean river that winds its way through one of the world’s most iconic universities.
The River Cam is the historic waterway that meanders through the University of Cambridge. It is known for the activity of punting, involving flat-bottomed boats propelled by pushing a long pole against the shallow river bed. Walk along the banks of this charming river and visit the sights of Cambridge.
As the river enters Cambridge from the south, it straddles the vast verdant meadows of Sheep’s Green and Coe Fen. Rent a canoe or kayak from the Cambridge Canoe Club. Cycle along the paths and spot cows grazing in this serene, rural area. Stroll along the banks of the river and take photos of King’s College Chapel in the distance.
The river is clear and clean, supporting a diverse ecosystem. It contains wild brown trout among other fish. Participate actively in punting on boats owned by many of the university’s colleges or relax on these small vessels as an operator takes you up and down the river.
Continue north to enter the Queens’ College section of the University of Cambridge. Admire pleasant riverside gardens and cross the famed Mathematical Bridge, which is made from crisscrossing panels of teak timber. Among the highlights here are the Tudor-style President’s Lodge, the Old Court and the Chapel and Walnut Tree Court.
Pass St. Catharine’s College and arrive at King’s College Chapel. Venture inside for its superb medieval stained glass and look up at the vaulted ceiling. Go through Trinity College to get to the spectacular covered structure of the Bridge of Sighs.
At the northeastern end of the city is Cam Sailing Club, where you can watch sailing races most weekends between March and November. Go swimming in the cool water in summer.
The River Cam meanders through the center of Cambridge from southwest to northeast, before continuing into the Great Ouse River. The waterway eventually meets the North Sea on England’s eastern coast, 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Cambridge. Visit nearby sights, including Fitzwilliam Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.