Kindly guest written for TEP by Anna Křížová, Camino Adventures.
One of the National Trails of England and Wales, the Thames Path follows one of the UK’s most eminent rivers from its source, across the serene countryside, all the way through the heart of London. The Thames Path passes many lovely villages, historic towns, and water meadows rich in wildlife, finishing at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich.
This year, The Thames Path is celebrating its 25-year anniversary! You can follow the celebrations on Twitter, using #ThamesPath25 and you can learn about the history of the path here.
Have you ever walked along the path? Find below information and recommendations for a great walk!
● Length: 184 miles
● Start: Thames Head, source of the river west of Cricklade
● End: Thames Barrier, Royal Borough of Greenwich
● Time required: 10 to 16 days
● When to walk: May to October
● Direction: West to east
● Difficulty: Easy to moderate
How long does it take to complete the Thames Path?
Officially, the trail is comprised of 15 stages. That said, you can divide the stages however you like. If you walk 15 miles a day on average and add a couple of rest days to your itinerary, you will complete the trail in 14 days. But there is no pressure to do it quickly. Walk at the pace that suits you; don’t hesitate to take frequent breaks, relax, and enjoy the scenery along the trails.
● 1st Stage: Thames Head to Cricklade – 12.3 miles
● 2nd Stage: Cricklade to Lechlade – 11 miles
● 3rd Stage: Lechlade to Newbridge – 16.4 miles
● 4th Stage: Newbridge to Oxford – 14 miles
● 5th Stage: Oxford to Abingdon-on-Thames – 10 miles
● 6th Stage: Abingdon-on-Thames to Wallingford – 13.5 miles
● 7th Stage: Wallingford to Tilehurst – 14.8 miles
● 8th Stage: Tilehurst to Henley-on-Thames – 12.3 miles
● 9th Stage: Henley-on-Thames to Marlow – 8.7 miles
● 10th Stage: Marlow to Windsor – 14.3 miles
● 11th Stage: Windsor to Shepperton – 13.7 miles
● 12th Stage: Shepperton to Teddington – 10.9 miles
● 13th Stage: Teddington to Putney – 14 miles
● 14th Stage: Putney to Tower Bridge – 10.3 miles
● 15th Stage: Tower Bridge to Thames Barrier – 10 miles
The walk is gentle for the most part, with just a few natural slopes, with an elevation change of 360 feet. Graded as easy, the Thames Path is suitable for adventurers of all ages and abilities. But if you choose to cover greater daily distances, the Thames Path will allow you to test your stamina.
Highlights of the Thames Path
● Windsor Castle
● New Brewery Arts Centre
● Hampton Court
● Kew Garden
● North Meadow National Nature Reserve
● Kelmscott Manor
● Penton Hook Island
● Putney Bridge
● Wonderful wildlife
Getting There and Getting Around
Overall, the trail is well served by the National Rail network. Most of the railway stations along the route have regular services to London. You can find train connections and times on the National Rail website.
The Thames Path is also extremely well covered by public transportation in the Greater London section of the trail. You can rely on London’s extensive bus network, London Underground, or the National Rail. Visit the Transport for London website to plan journeys in London. The journey planner on the Traveline website is also very useful if you need up-to-date public transport information.
The closest airport to the western end of the Thames Path is Bristol Airport. You can easily reach the eastern end of the Thames Path from London’s Airports.
You can also easily reach the Thames Path from the motorway network (the M40 passes close to Oxford and the M4 motorway links London to Bristol).
About the Author:
Anna loves getting out hiking during the weekends and has completed a few long multi-day hikes including twice on the Camino de Santiago for 4 weeks and then a Camino route in France for 2 weeks. She has also had the pleasure of hiking up Ben Nevis, hiking all over Ireland, and her favorite: 3 weeks in the Canadian Rockies. She started the Camino Adventures website to write about all things hiking, find them on Facebook here. Read Anna's own Thames Path blog post here.