Do you tip punters?

Tipping norms in the UK hospitality sector mean that it’s never expected, but always appreciated! Let’s dive into more around tipping culture in the UK, in the punting industry specifically, and other ways to show your gratitude.

Notes of money being handed to a punting chauffeur by the River Cam in Cambridge with him smiling and accepting the money

british tipping culture

If you are a visitor from another country – first of all, greetings! We are happy to have you. You may be unsure about how to show your respect and thanks to the service staff you’ll come across in the UK. Don’t worry. There are no rules to abide by. If you would like to show appreciation through a monetary gift, it’s certainly welcomed, but not expected. Read more on British tipping culture here.

Whereas in the US where service staff make a living solely through tips, those working within hospitality in the UK are on a wage and do not rely on the generosity of their customers to make a living (although it doesn’t hurt either!). Within a number of cultures, tipping is unheard of and taken with confusion; here, you have the best of both worlds where it is never expected but always warmly appreciated.

punting boat on the River Cam by St Johns College with customers on board taking photographs

How much is a good tip?

Any punting chauffeur will be appreciative of a tip that you are generous enough to give. But as a rule of thumb, a tip of £5 minimum is fair. This might be – more than anything – because loose change is prone to fall into the river! A £5 note would certainly be welcomed as a tip to your punting guide.

From time to time, there will be a lovely customer who tips punters very generously. We are talking big bucks. A very pleased punting chauffeur will then have an extra spring in their step throughout the day. They certainly deserve it. 

two punting chauffeurs looking at a tip being handed to them excitedly with the River Cam in the back

other ways to show thanks:

By leaving a positive review, and specifically mentioning their name, our company will reward your chauffeur with £5. Therefore, you can leave the tipping to us! We understand that not everyone has the extra cash to show their appreciation monetarily – we are more than happy to tip the chauffeur on your behalf. 

Each chauffeur will sieve through the reviews every so often to have a look for any customers who enjoyed their tour. They aim to continually improve their tour and are eager to see what customers do and don’t enjoy. Chauffeurs also check their reviews because, during their fifty-minute tour, they build a great rapport with customers. It’s nice for them to remember the guests who they had a connection with and see if they had anything to say.

Don’t want to tip punters? A few words of appreciation in person is always a great shout. Either during the punting tour or as you disembark from the boat, words can go a long way. During quieter hours, especially evening tours, there should be a calm moment to talk with our staff to let us know your thoughts.


For alternative ways to tip punters, don’t forget, a kind word, a positive review, and recommendations to others are also excellent ways to show your appreciation. Happy punting!

If after more information like: what if it rains; is it safe for children; what if we are running late – read up on our FAQs.

Boat of young adults enjoying a punting tour with their punting chauffeur on the River Cam with St Johns College Cambridge behind them