Thames Path East

Thames Path East

Trip Highlights

  • Historically and scenically interesting Henley, Marlow, Eton & Windsor and Richmond
  • Visits to Kew Gardens, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, The Tower of London are all possible
  • A tiny ferry trip
  • Victorian parks with beautiful trees, including Wandsworth Park, Battersea and Greenwich
  • The London attractions; Tate Modern and Tate Britain, London Eye, The Shard, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, St. Pauls, HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge
  • Fairly central accommodations to enjoy the nightlife in the towns and London

Trip Summary

At 130km / 81 miles this is the shorter 'Half' of the Thames Path National Trail and the transition between fresh water and tidal sections of the Thames from Teddington Lock. Due to its proximity to the capital some of the urban sections of the path are the busiest walks in Britain, yet in the rural sections you may only see a few walkers, dog handlers and cyclists. There is a huge range of mixed scenery from quiet shady sections of river bank, meadow and park, to highly built up areas of towns and city. There is some roadside walking but this is generally limited until central London, broad gravel or grassy paths being the norm. There is an amazing amount of history; The palaces such as Hampton Court and Syon Park; castles such as Windsor and the Tower of London, multiple bridges each with their own history; wildlife reserves and as the backdrop to it all the life on the river, barges, yachts, powerboats, kayaks and paddle boards. The walking is generally easy and few of the days are too long that you could not pause at an attraction for an hour or two. The walk will help you to understand not only the Thames but also why it is the key to the history of London. So many places of interest cram its banks.

Suitability

This trip is generally easy graded, well waymarked and easy to follow. However there are a couple of sections which are fairly long and the path does not follow the river directly all the time, so you need to know where you are, thus Easy to Moderate grading is more appropriate. There are a few undulations but hardly any hills.

Itinerary

Make your own way to Henley-on-Thames a small attractive town, famous for its annual rowing regatta and other rowing events. There is an attractive main street with small shops and pubs and there is an award winning 'River and Rowing Museum' by the river. The town grew prosperous in the 17th and 18th centuries due to glass and malt production and trade in corn and wool. The town supplied London with timber and grain. Accommodation: An attractive B&B is set in a mature English garden with a large and private sunny patio. There are 4 well furnished rooms, most fully en suite, and a comfortable lounge. Wireless internet is available throughout the house and all rooms have satellite television.

Meals:  Nil

This first day is a very pleasant introduction to the walk, the shortest day of the tour, it gives you plenty of time to explore both Henley and Marlow and lull around the river in between. The walk follows the path of the Henley Regatta to Hambleden Lock and then the last mile or so you are following the route of the Marlow Town Regatta into Marlow. In between are delightful river settings, locks and an extensive deer park with white deer. The last half a mile takes in a famous Victorian view towards Marlow and its suspension bridge, the model for the much bigger one in Budapest. Accommodation: in a suburban guest house about 15 minutes walk from the centre. There are 8 'luxury' guest bedrooms with WiFi and the place is beloved for its breakfasts. You may instead be at a pub B&B in the town centre, which also does some great pub food.

Meals:  B

This is just about the longest stage of the week, leaving Marlow and out into the meadows beside the winding river. You switch to the south bank at Bourne End and along to Cookham, where you will find the gallery museum to famous local painter, Stanley Spencer. The village could make an ideal coffee stop before following the woody river bank along a pleasant shady stretch before the commuter town of Maidenhead where you will find the famous Boulters lock. Here the fashionable Victorians and Edwardians used to parade on the river. After the bridges of the town, including a Brunel masterpiece with the widest brick arches in the World, you follow the meanders of the Thames taking you out into the countryside again passing Monkey Island and Eton’s rowing lake (Dorney Lake) and the beautiful flint stone church of St. Mary Magdalene. Finally you cross the last water-meadows reaching Eton and Windsor. The famous castle holds out to near the end when it suddenly appears across the river. Note that if you have the time an extra day here is advisable giving you to time explore the castle and its grounds. Accommodation: Victorian age family-run bed-and-breakfast, about an 11-minute walk from both Windsor Castle and Windsor and Eton Central train station. The cosy rooms all include private bathrooms, and have flat-screen TVs with DVD players and free WiFi, as well as tea and coffee making facilities. Continental breakfast is served in a wood-furnished dining room, and there's a guest kitchen area. Otherwise a Georgian age pub just across the bridge in Eton maybe used.

Meals:  B

From the crowds at Windsor, stroll through Home Park with more views of Windsor Castle. Then reach the meadows of Runnymede. You will need a long zoom to see the Magna Carta temple on the other side of the river donated by the American Bar Association in 1957. Somewhere hereabouts it is traditionally believed that King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, an important stage in the centuries-long process of the move to constitutional law, and which influenced the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. The path crosses the river at Egham and Staines with some attractive walking before reaching Chertsey Bridge via Laleham. Accommodation: A modern pub hotel which overlooks the river here. Many rooms have views over the river and the beautiful bridge. Perhaps the closest accommodation we use to the Thames Path.

Meals:  B

This is one of those days where it feels as if you are walking for the most part through a big park! There are beautiful tranquil sections of the river on shady riverside paths and also through meadows passing houseboats, islands largely built on with little chalets, boat yards, and of course pubs and cafes. There is a tiny ferry to take early in the day which is the only one on the tour. There is plenty of time for you to visit perhaps the historical highlight of the day: Hampton Court – Cardinal Wolsleys famous palace from 1515. Although this can be very busy, it is an amazing place and you will have time for 2 hours or more there if your legs can stand it! Then there are just 5km left to Kingston a busy modern and yet historical town. It was at Kingston that 7 Saxon Kings were coronated, underlying the historical importance of the place. Accommodation: a pub hotel and a small hotel, both in historical buildings may be used on either side of the river, but still very convenient for the walking route.

Meals:  B

A fairly long stage takes you through the attractive towns of Richmond and Kew where a diversion may be contemplated to visit Kew Gardens which is just by the Thames. We recommend, that you stick to the south side of the river. You will however have to watch out for cyclists who also share much of the route today. However the track is on the whole quite wide. When you reach Barnes Bridge you will realize that central London is quite near and soon after a final breathing space provided by the presence of the London Wetland Centre nearby, ‘The City’ in the form of Hammersmith and Putney soon engulfs you. Accommodation: you will be staying in a chain type hotel either side of the river in Putney or Fulham just across the bridge. Clean reasonably sized standard rooms.

Meals:  B

Today’s walk is a busy hike along the central London sections of the Thames Path. You could once again follow either north or south sides of the river, but we would recommend the south side route, because you spend less time by busy roads and get very good perspectives on the central London / Westminster area. You can always use one of the numerous bridges to cross The Thames to visit any of the attractions on the North bank such as Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey, St.Pauls and The Tower of London. There are a whole host of tourist sites and also, there will be sections such as around Tate Modern and the London Eye where there will be hundreds of tourists, there is no point rushing, but you will probably feel quite tired by the end of the day. Accommodation: Standard chain hotels are used either on the north or south bank in the Tower bridge area, very close to the Thames Path.

Meals:  B

Following the huge loops of The Thames you pass old wharves, several famous buildings including the (London millennium, O2) Dome and ends at the Thames Barrier. Some of what can be seen on this section of The Thames Path is changing all the time - the first part from Tower Bridge goes past lots of refurbished warehouses (now turned into what are probably excessively overpriced apartments), quite a few wharves which involve slight diversions - then comes out on the approaches to the Dome. This is not the prettiest part of London but the real gem of the day is a possible visit to the wonderful Greenwich Park and the sight of the 'Cutty Sark' Victorian tea and wool clipper. Accommodation: A 10-minute walk from Greenwich train station, our relaxed hotel is also a 6-minute walk from the National Maritime Museum and a 12-minute walk from the Royal Observatory.

Meals:  B

Depart Greenwich for your Onward Journey

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 8 Breakfasts
  • 8 nights twin share accommodation in 2-3 star hotels, B&Bs and Inns with ensuite or private bathrooms where available
  • Luggage transfers between accommodations
  • Information pack including route notes, book & map
  • GPX Files

What's Not Included

  • Dinners, lunch & beverages
  • Entrance fees to visitor attractions
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:9 Days
Countries:England
Starting Point:Henley on Thames
Finishing Point:Greenwich
Activities:Self-guided walking
Trip Code:WRT
Prices From:GBP£1010 Per Person
single supplement:GBP£510  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.