Riverside and Rolling Hills — Thames Valley Cycle Route


Riverside and Rolling Hills — Thames Valley Cycle Route

Road Cycling Collection by Mount_Magdalena



3-4 h

/ day

97.9 mi

2,700 ft

2,500 ft

Escape the city on this enchanting ride along the Thames Valley Cycle Route – from London to Oxford – where history, culture and, in parts, surprisingly rural natural beauty meet.

As the name suggests, the Thames takes centre stage on this route. On the first and last part you follow the river directly along the popular Thames Path, where you can soak up the quaint riverside flair. In between, the more varied, undulating part of the ride leads you into the Chiltern Hills, before rejoining the river where historic market towns and villages have formed.

It’s amazing how almost half of this 98 mile (158 km) journey offers a traffic-free cycling experience while still passing through well-known towns such as Windsor, Eton, Maidenhead and Reading, and of course connecting two major cities: London and Oxford.

Richmond Park, Hampton Court and Great Windsor Park are also all located directly on the route for you to enjoy grand architecture, elegant gardens and wide open green spaces.

With varied terrain and a combination of bike paths, tow paths, roads and cycle lanes comes the question of bike choice: There’s nothing a road bike can’t handle on this route, but you will likely be more comfortable on a bike that is set up with slightly wider tyres.

As for food, there isn’t just charming little cafes, pubs and plenty of supermarkets en route for you to refuel, you could even choose to dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant with Heston Blumenthal’s fancy “Fat Duck” being located on the route in Bray. It’s probably best to make a booking though.

The same goes for accommodation, where you’ll find countless options for all budgets along the journey.

Discover Oxford, home to the world’s oldest university – and a thriving cycling culture – as your final destination.

When it comes to your return leg, public transport links between Oxford and London are very good. Train journey times into London Paddington or Marylebone are around an hour. However, try to avoid commuting hours as bicycle transport may be restricted to just folding bikes during peak time. Find out more at

Fancy tackling the route in reverse? There’s absolutely no reason not to. Just remember the official route starts in Putney, located to the southwest of London’s city centre. You can, of course, easily change your end point to match your itinerary.

Let the Thames Valley Cycle Route lure you out of the city. Whether you want to tackle the route over three days to allow plenty of time for off-the-bike comforts and discoveries, or adapt the ride to suit your own pace, adventure awaits on the capital’s doorstep!

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    26.2 mi
    9.8 mph
    375 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Historic bridges, locks, houseboats, rowing clubs, cafes and modern mansions, immerse yourself in the best the Thames and its banks have to offer as you follow the river out of London and for the most part of day 1. It may be the shortest and flattest part of the trip, but with endless opportunities to get off the bike and …

  • Intermediate
    32.9 mi
    9.5 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Having left the banks of the Thames behind, (bar a few river crossings), day 2 starts with a bit of a climb up Cooper’s Hill before the terrain generally becomes more varied.

    However, this next section still makes for rather gentle pedalling: Less than five miles (eight kilometres) into the ride you will pass through yet another beautiful royal park …

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  • Intermediate
    38.8 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Day 3 is the most testing part of the route both in terms of ascent and distance, but you probably won’t mind the extra elevation being surrounded by the beautiful, tranquil landscape of the Chilterns.

    By the time you reach Wallingford and the ruins of its famous medieval castle, most of the climbing will be done and dusted for the …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    97.9 mi
  • Duration
    09:56 h
  • Elevation
    2,700 ft2,500 ft

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Riverside and Rolling Hills — Thames Valley Cycle Route