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Hike the length of Britain’s most iconic river — Thames Path

John Clift (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Hike the length of Britain’s most iconic river — Thames Path

Hiking Collection by komoot

12-27

days

3-6 h

/ day

199 mi

2,550 ft

2,925 ft

The Thames Path follows Britain’s most iconic river for 184 miles (296 kilometers) from its source in a quiet Cotswold meadow through to the bustling heart of London.

On this epic journey, you will see the River Thames transform from a tiny stream into the silvery lifeline of England as it meanders through Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Henley, Windsor, and past all of the famous sights in the capital city.

From wildflower fields to water meadows, sleepy villages to urban areas, nature reserves to royal palaces, patchwork pastures to Victorian streets; this ever-changing journey always offers something new to pique your interest.

The Thames Path is almost entirely flat, it is well-maintained, and exceptionally easy to navigate, meaning that it is suitable for all ages and abilities. As long as you have an average level of fitness, you will not struggle on any of these routes.

In this Collection we conquer the Thames Path in 15 stages, starting from Thames Head, in Gloucestershire, and finishing at Thames Barrier, in Woolwich. Averaging 12 miles (19 kilometers) per day, you have plenty of time to take in the many sights along the way.

As always, of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation. Public transport links are fantastic along the entire trail so it is easy to tailor the hikes.

If you are using public transport to undertake the routes in this Collection, you will need to catch a train to Kemble Railway Station, which is served by direct trains from London and has connecting services around the country.

From Kemble, it is a three-mile (five kilometer) walk to the source. You can also catch the 882 bus service from Kemble to Coates, the closest settlement to the source. Or, alternatively, you could arrange a taxi, which would not cost much.

If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Kemble and leave your car for the duration.

Alternatively, you could leave your car at a long-stay car park in London and get a train to Kemble. Either way, trains between Kemble and London are fairly frequent and easy to navigate.

For more information about the Thames Path, visit: nationaltrail.co.uk/thames-path.
For the 882 bus service timetable visit: bustimes.org/services/882-gloucester-cirencester-kemble-tetbury.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    05:13
    12.8 mi
    2.5 mph
    75 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The start of the 184 mile (296 kilometer) Thames Path begins at the source of the river, known as Thames Head, in a Cotswold meadow near the village of Kemble. …

  • Intermediate
    04:25
    10.9 mi
    2.5 mph
    75 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage gently meanders through a picturesque patchwork of fields and traditional villages.

    From Circklade, you follow the river to Castle Eaton, at which point the trail diverts from the …

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  • Difficult
    06:29
    16.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    75 ft
    125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stunning views, open skies, and a wonderfully-remote landscape combine to make this an enjoyable stage.

    At 16 miles (26 kilometers), this is the longest stage on the entire trail officially—not …

  • Difficult
    06:05
    15.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    125 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A serene, beautiful, and delightfully-unpopulated landscape characterize this stage, right up until you reach the historic city of Oxford.

    The Thames has grown considerably by the time it reaches Newbridge …

  • Intermediate
    04:33
    11.2 mi
    2.5 mph
    125 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    First-time and regular visitors alike soon become spellbound by the reverent history, beautiful architecture, and quintessential Englishness of Oxford.

    Owing to the draw of Oxford, this stage is intentionally short …

  • Difficult
    06:38
    16.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    350 ft
    375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This scenic stage is alive with a history dating back to the Bronze age.

    From Abingdon, you follow the river south past the village of Culham before making a near …

  • Difficult
    06:07
    14.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    400 ft
    375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This varied stage takes you through serene countryside, small towns and villages, and ends in a major city.

    From Wallingford, you follow the path south through splendid open countryside and …

  • Difficult
    05:44
    14.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Upon leaving Reading, this stage quickly resumes its rural charm; exploring a landscape of wooded hills and open countryside with manor houses nestled in the creases.

    Whilst you might be …

  • Intermediate
    03:39
    8.95 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This short stage allows plenty of time to explore the historic towns of Henley and Marlow—and give your legs a rest if you have been walking for eight days already. …

  • Difficult
    06:06
    15.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    125 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage takes you along one of the most beautiful sections of the Thames Path.

    From Marlow, the trail meanders through serene countryside all the way to Maidenhead. At this …

  • Difficult
    06:53
    16.9 mi
    2.5 mph
    200 ft
    225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The River Thames has reached a respectable size by Windsor, but it has a lot of growing to do before it reaches London.

    As you get closer to the capital, …

  • Intermediate
    04:20
    10.7 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage takes you along the last non-tidal section of the River Thames, exploring an ever-changing landscape of green space and urbanity.

    From Shepperton, the trail winds past Walton-on-Thames and …

  • Difficult
    05:09
    12.6 mi
    2.5 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Thames Path follows both the north and south banks of the river during this stage, so the choice is yours.

    The south bank route is 11.6 miles (18.6 Km) …

  • Difficult
    05:25
    13.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage passes some of the most iconic London landmarks, many of which are recognizable throughout the entire world.

    If you are interested in taking a self-led London walking tour …

  • Intermediate
    04:36
    11.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    225 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage brings the Thames Path national trail to its epic conclusion.

    The Path has followed the river for 184 miles (296 Kilometers) from its source as a tiny spring …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    15
  • Distance
    199 mi
  • Duration
    81:21 h
  • Elevation
    2,550 ft2,925 ft
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Hike the length of Britain’s most iconic river — Thames Path