Although associated mostly with Cambridge and to a lesser extent, Oxford, it is possible to take a punting tour on the River Avon in Salisbury.
In Salisbury, it is not possible to rent a punt and do it yourself and everyone must go on a chauffered punting tour. Punting tours are run by Salisbury Punting, which bill themselves as ‘the only punt on the River Avon’ despite punting also being available on the River Avon in both Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon (not to mention on the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand).
With only one punting operator in the city, punting trips in Salisbury are a leisurely affair without the crowds that you find in Cambridge and despite the lack of competition, it is a good value way to spend an hour.
Tours take around 45 minutes (but allow at least an hour) and take you along a tranquil part of the river between the water meadows and the Cathedral Close. Not only can you see the cathedral, the Bishop’s Canonry, Walton Canonry and the King’s House (the Salisbury Museum) from a unique vantage point, you are also able to see local wildlife including ducks, coots, swans and voles.
Traditional tours cost £20 per person but a family can have a punt to themselves (two parents and up to three children) for £50.
Punting in Salisbury is Cambridge-style where the punter stands on the till (the raised deck at one end of the punt) as opposed to the Oxford-style where the punter stands inside the boat.
Punting tours operate between May and September. They depart from either the Rose and Crown Hotel or the Grasmere House Hotel and many people finish their tour with drinks and a bite to eat at the Rose and Crown.