May Ball Punting Cambridge
At the end of each academic year, each college in the University of Cambridge hosts their own ball to celebrate another year of academic achievement and to say goodbye to the friends made since the previous September. These are lavish and stunning affairs that can last all night long, finishing with many students punting to Grantchester.
This is a tradition that began in the 1800s, around the same time that pleasure punting began picking up steam in popularity. It was only in the 1960s, however that the affairs became more than a way of celebrating the end of the year. Each college began using orchestras and bands, followed by the inclusion of local businesses who were keen to sponsor and be involved with the celebrations.
Punting near the May Ball
These days, tickets sell out in record time, with Trinity and St John’s Colleges being two of the most popular available. Firework displays are now a big part of each night as each college seeks to out-do the others. This is one of our most popular times for punting as students, tourists and locals all seek to get the best view of the lights, while the students work to put on the finest show on behalf of their peers.
Along with garden parties and more competitive boat races, punting is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the end of exams. While each party is renowned for its own particular take on the ball (with some specialising in their dinners, while others are known for adding in fairs and rides), each one ends with a stunning firework display which you are welcome to watch from your very own punt.