komoot
  • Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features
Discover

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

timo_w2s (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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

Hiking Collection by Kit P

12-26

days

3-6 h

/ day

196 mi

2,625 ft

3,000 ft

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

On this epic journey, you watch 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.

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's well-maintained and exceptionally easy to navigate, meaning that it's suitable for all ages and abilities. As long as you have an average level of fitness, you won't struggle on any of these routes although many stages are long days.

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 km) 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're 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's easy to tailor the hikes.

If you're using public transport to undertake the routes in this Collection, you 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's a 3-mile (5 km) walk to the source. You can also catch the 882 bus service from Kemble to Coates, the closest settlement to the source. Alternatively, you could arrange a taxi, which wouldn't cost much. You could also 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.

You can hike this route throughout the year and every season brings a new personality to the path. To make the most of daylight hours though, I recommend walking between mid-spring and early autumn. You'll find the most vibrancy between this time.

On The Map

loading
loading

Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Thames Path

183 mi

1,950 ft

2,300 ft

Last updated: November 24, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

Learn More
komoot premium logo

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: the Thames source to Cricklade — Thames Path

    Difficult
    05:11
    12.8 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

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

    

    As the spring is dry for most of the year, you'll most likely not see any evidence of the river. Fear not, though, you soon become fully acquainted

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:26
    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 Cricklade, follow the river to the pretty Castle Eaton, at which point the trail diverts from the water’s edge until Upper Inglesham.

    

    You return to the riverside at this point after negotiations with

    by Kit P

    View
  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • 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 wonderfully remote landscapes combine to make this a fantastic stage.

    

    At 16 miles (26 km), this is the longest stage on the entire trail officially—not including detours on later routes along the path—and follows the widening river through the Thames Valley floodplain

    by Kit P

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

    Serene, beautiful, and sparsely populated landscapes characterise this stage, right up until you reach the historic city of Oxford.

    

    The Thames has grown considerably by the time it reaches Newbridge and you'll notice that many different boats are using the waterway.

    

    At Bablock Hythe, the path veers away

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:40
    11.4 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 to allow you plenty of time to explore the historic university city.

    

    I've included some

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:23
    15.5 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 90 degree to turn east at Culham Cut.

    

    After crossing the river at Days Lock, it's worth crossing back via the bridge a few meters downstream

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:13
    14.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    425 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 near a major city.

    

    From Wallingford, follow the path south through splendid open countryside and pass through Cholsey Marsh Nature Reserve.

    

    You cross the river at Goring on Thames and follow the river bank until

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    05:06
    12.5 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    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 expecting city crowds at Reading, the path takes the less populated north side of the river, giving a surprising sense

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    03:30
    8.58 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 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've been walking for eight days already.

    

    From Henley, you follow a section of river which is used for the Henley Royal Regatta, hailed as the the most famous regatta in the world.

    

    Temple

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:10
    15.2 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 point, it may feel a little busier as more people flock to admire this enviably affluent and picturesque part of the country.

    

    Along

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    07:06
    17.4 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, you'll notice that the path feels busier and there are, inevitably, more built-up areas. However, there's still plenty of picturesque walking on offer

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:21
    10.7 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    125 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 past a series of enormous reservoirs; all providing vital water supplies for the capital city.

    

    As you

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:45
    11.6 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. 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) in total and the north bank route is 14.1 miles (22.6 km).

    

    There are eight bridges crossing the river along this stage though, so if there's anything

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:58
    12.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. 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 recognisable throughout the entire world.

    

    If you're interested in taking a self-led London walking tour, then this is the stage to do it. On this route, I've suggested a short detour at Westminster Bridge so you can explore

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:37
    11.2 mi
    2.4 mph
    225 ft
    275 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 km) from its source as a tiny spring in the Cotswold Hills, all the way to the enormous river flowing through the heart of London.

    

    On this stage, you can follow either side of the

    by Kit P

    View

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    15
  • Distance
    196 mi
  • Duration
    80:01 h
  • Elevation
    2,625 ft3,000 ft

You Might Also Like

Following Roman roads across England — hiking the Greater Ridgeway

Hiking Collection by Kit P

Gravel adventures in Austria’s SalzburgerLand

Road Cycling Collection by SalzburgerLand Tourismus

Hiking in Northwest Scotland — exploring the magical Scottish Wilds

Hiking Collection by komoot