The River Thames, England's longest and most iconic river, has played an important role in history for centuries. Today, you can discover colourful life and fascinating tales of bygone days as you cycle along the mighty river.
This Collection guides you along the Thames Valley Cycle Route from London to Oxford in seven stages, covering 117 miles (189 km) in total. Ranging in length from 10.5 miles (17 km) to 22 miles (35.5 km), the stages can easily be bundled together to complete the adventure in fewer days.
The Thames Valley is a wonderful area to explore by bike. You will follow the river as it winds through the bustling heart of England’s capital and across the south, leaving the water regularly to discover the region’s varied attractions, gentle hills, peaceful countryside and historic towns and villages.
You will follow a mixture of riverside paths, bridleways, cycleways, and countryside lanes, many of which are traffic-free. Nonetheless, as the route starts in the capital, you should be comfortable riding in busy areas. However, once you leave the bustle of the city, you can relax into rural bliss.
Beginning in London, the route leads to some of the UK’s most iconic sites such as the London Eye, before exploring historical sites on the edges of the city. Watch deer roam vast fields in Richmond Park, wander the colourful gardens at Hampton Court Palace, and learn more about the city’s diverse past.
As well as fascinating history, the Thames Valley is known for its beautiful nature and varied wildlife. Watch red kites circle above the patchwork hills of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, enjoy wild flowers swaying in the breeze on the slopes of the Wittenham Clumps, and ride through fragrant mossy woodland.
Aside from a short section through the Chiltern hills, the route is almost entirely flat, making it an ideal choice for novice bike tourers and all family members.
You will also never be far from a shop or a riverside pub where you can fill up on delicious grub to keep you going. Thriving villages and towns dotted along the river such as Reading, Abingdon, and Windsor provide comfortable accommodation en route, such as hotels, camp sites, and self-catering cottages.
You will also find train stations in most of the end stages, making the separate routes in this Collection perfect for day trips or weekend escapes.
You can ride the route in either direction. Both the start line in London and finish in Oxford are easy to reach by train, just don’t forget to reserve a space for your bike, too.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: December 22, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
From the fast-paced heart of London to its quiet suburbs, stage 1 takes you on a lovely bike ride to some fascinating historical sites.
Today you will clock up 22 miles (35.5 km) as you ride from central London to Hampton.
Riding in London can be a stressful experience, even for seasoned city bikers…
With the River Thames constantly by your side, you will discover peaceful islands, winding waterways and colourful marinas on stage 2 of your adventure.
With just 131 feet (40 m) of climbing, today is flat almost all the way as you ride 17.4 miles (28 km) from Hampton to Egham.
From Hampton, skirt around…
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Firmly out of the bustling capital, stage 3 is a wonderful ride through fragrant gardens and historic parklands to the iconic Windsor Castle. With just 10.5 miles (17 km) of pedalling, you will have plenty of time to explore the sites en route.
From Egham, a small climb up to 328 feet (100 m) brings…
From quiet lakes featured in the 2012 Olympic games to archaic colleges, stage 4 is a varied ride through Berkshire.
After visiting one of the most famous schools in the UK, if not the world, Eton College, join a cycle path on the edge of Eton town through Dorney Common.
This stretch takes you through…
Ride through ancient woodland to grey-stone churches and sleepy villages and follow the mighty Thames River into the buzzing city of Reading – stage 5 is a great day of cycling.
From Sonning, join quiet back roads through suburban areas before joining a cycle path as it skirts around Redgrave Pinsent…
Stage 6 takes you further into the heart of rural Britain, passing picturesque villages and plenty of beer gardens on the way.
Today you can enjoy a relaxed 17.3 miles (27.9 km) with 525 feet (160 m) of climbing and 918 feet (280 m) of downhill.
Your day begins along tree-lined lanes through open fields…
Your final day adventuring along the Thames Valley takes you to pretty riverside towns and along tranquil canal paths to the magnificent city of Oxford.
Today you will cover 15.9 miles (25.7 km) which, with only 229.6 feet (70 m) of elevation gain, are almost entirely flat.
On Didcot’s suburbs, the…
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