Hike from the Source of the Thames in the Cotswolds to Central London
Double / Single
£2062 / £3674
How does this work?
Providing no further outbreaks of Coronavirus, I will be offering this tour to book from January 2022.
Description of Twin/Double
- Most accommodation in Britain is charged on a Per Person basis (rather than per room basis). The price you see here for this tour is the Price per Person.
- If you request a Twin Room there are two single beds (usually 3 feet wide) in the room.
- If you request a Double Room there is one bed in which two people usually sleep (usually 4 feet 6inches wide).
- Both the Double and the the Twin room are sometimes available for Single Occupancy (one person in the room), usually with a supplement to compensate the provider who would normally have received payment from two people.
- If the accommodation offers Single rooms (one bed of 3 feet wide), this will normally be priced higher than half of a double or twin room. Unless space is limited in the village or accommodation we usually avoid these as the rooms tend to be older and less space to move about.
A sixteen centre inn-to-inn, self-guided hiking tour along the River Thames Path from its source in the Cotswolds through Oxford and Windsor to Tower Bridge in Central London, England. 16 nights bed and breakfast in hotel and inn accommodation, 15 days hiking (with no rest days), luggage transfer, guide book and maps.
This 16 night walking tour starts at the source of the River Thames, deep in the countryside of the cotswolds in Gloucestershire from a pool inhabited by kingfishers and ducks to where it meets the sea at Greenwich east of central London. You follow the river Thames path for 173 miles (281 km) as it meanders through the countryside. We arrange your hotel accommodation and transport your luggage between the hotels. We will provide the trail guide, maps and notes on how to find the accommodation. You stop for sixteen nights in hotels and inns, where accommodation is available in twin, double or single rooms with en-suite facilities. Evening meals are served in the hotel restaurant or at nearby pubs or inns (not included). Lunch along the trail can usually be found in a convenient riverside pub or from a village shop.
We can arrange extra nights for a break along the route or at the end. Suitable places are Oxford, Windsor and of course London where you could relax and see the Theatre or Show or some of the famous city landmarks.
The national Thames Path follows the river throughout its length. It begins at the Thames River source near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England. Along its way it passes through water meadows, historic towns and villages and finishes at the heart of London by the Thames Barrier. The Countryside Commissions acorn signposts lead the walker through tranquil water meadows, past the dreaming spires of Oxford, quaint thatched roof villages and the pageantry of the Henley Regatta, Windsor and Hampton Court, through the heart of the capital past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
START: Stroud is about 10 miles east of the source of the River Thames, near Cirencester.
FINISH: London is on the east side of England.
DAY ONE: Arrival at Stroud. This is the nearest rail town to the start of the River Thames. You may arrive at the guesthouse anytime after 3pm. Dinner can be taken at the hotel (not included in tour price). Overnight at Stroud, Gloucestershire, England.
DAY TWO: Walk from Thames Head to Cricklade 12.3 miles (19.7km). We will arrange a taxi to take you to the start of the walk (included in tour price). Your route following the infant river wanders through fields and through or near to several small Cotswold villages characterized by creamy stonework buildings with stone slate roofs. These are ideal places to enjoy a refreshment stop. Before you reach the small, originally Saxon, town of Cricklade where the right of upstream navigation ends, you'll pass through the middle of the Cotswold Water Park and its blue landscape of gravel extracted lagoons. Just outside Cricklade the Trail skirts around the edge of North Meadow where, usually towards the end of April, the rare snakes-head fritillary flowers in vast numbers. At Inglesham the flow of the Thames is increased by the water of the River Coln which joins it. The church and Round House here are worth seeing. Dinner can be taken at the hotel or one of the nearby pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight at Cricklade, Wiltshire, England.
DAY THREE: Walk from Cricklade to Lechlade 11 miles (17.7km). Leaving the bustle of Cricklade you walk along one of the quietest sections of the river, but still with a welcome riverside pub to visit. At Inglesham the flow of the Thames is increased by the water of the River Coln which joins it. Dinner can be taken at one of the local pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight at Lechlade, Wiltshire, England.
DAY FOUR: Walk from Lechlade to Newbridge 16.7 miles (26.8km). Once you leave Lechlade behind, and have paid your respects to Old Father Thames at St John's lock, you'll be hard-pressed to find many farmsteads or villages close to the Trail until you reach the outskirts of Oxford. Luckily, however, your walk will be interspersed with the occasional road crossing with a welcoming pub on the river bank, and at one crossing a choice of pubs, one on each bank. Dinner can be taken at your accommodation on the riverside (not included in tour price). Overnight at Newbridge, Oxfordshire, England.
DAY FIVE: Walk from Newbridge to Oxford 14 miles (22.5km). Mixed farming and lots of sky dominate the landscape here. You'll walk through meadows grazed by sheep or cattle, or with crops, many with hedges abundant with blackberries as long as you're there at the right time of year. The river grows broader all the time, its course frequently marked by tall willows or the shorter alders, both liking to have their roots in water. Dinner can be taken at any of the many pubs or restaurants in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight at Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.
DAY SIX: Walk from Oxford to Abingdon. 9.7 miles (15.6km). You have time to take a quick look around Oxford centre before you follow this easy section past riverside pubs. The overnight stay is a short distance from the town centre. Dinner can be taken at one of the many pubs or hotels in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England.
DAY SEVEN: Walk from Abingdon to Shillingford. 11.4 miles (18.3km). The final short day passes through water meadows and along great curves of the ever widening River. Dinner can be taken at the inn (not included in tour price). Overnight at Shillingford, Oxfordshire, England.
DAY EIGHT: Walk from Shillingford to Reading 13.6 miles (21.8km). The river turns eastwards towards the sea at last. The Thames makes for a gap in the chalk hills of the Chilterns to arrive at Goring-on-Thames for a lunch time pint. The final stretch today squeezes its way through housing estates and the river before arriving at Reading. Dinner can be taken at the accommodation or nearby local pubs (not included in tour price). Overnight at Reading, Berkshire, England.
DAY NINE: Walk from Reading to Henley-on-Thames 14.8 miles (23.8km). A shorter day today after yesterdays marathon. From Reading to Sonning cyclists can share the Trail, but from Sonning, with its lovely 18th century hump-backed bridge, the Thames Path narrows and is for walkers only. As you walk towards Henley-on-Thames, famous for its Royal Regatta, you'll enjoy a landscape of gentle wooded hills, fine houses, and, of course, the ever widening Thames. Dinner can be taken at one of the restaurants (you generally need to book) or pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight Henley, Buckinghamshire, England.
DAY TEN: Walk from Henley to Marlow. 8.5 miles (13.7km). A short day today as you wander along the long straight stretch used for the Henley Regatta. Small compact villages, all with a pub, are met at Aston and Hurley before arriving at Marlow. Dinner can be taken at one of the restaurants (you generally need to book) or pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England.
DAY ELEVEN: Walk from Marlow to Windsor. 14.4 miles (23.1km). Onto Cookham and beyond to a reach of the river set between towering trees, magnificent during autumn, above which you'll catch a glimpse of Cliveden House. This gained a colourful reputation for political intrigue both in the 1930s and later in the 1960s when the Profumo affair hit the headlines as a result of 'activities' in one of the riverside cottages you'll see on the far bank. Maidenhead is prettily suburban, having developed during the Edwardian era when the river here, and town, was packed with day trippers from London. From here the river becomes more commercial, the population pressure increases and the banks become lined with houses, many of them grand. Views of Windsor Castle are visible for many miles high on the last chalky outcrop of the Chilterns. Dinner can be taken at one of the restaurants (you generally need to book) or pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight Windsor, Buckinghamshire, England.
DAY TWELVE: Walk from Windsor to Shepperton. 13.9 miles (22.4km). The famous landmark of Windsor Castle above the Thames is the dramatic start of this section, and from Windsor to another royal town, Kingston, water abounds in all directions. On both sides you'll see gravel-extracted lagoons or the embanked reservoirs holding London's water supply, most bearing royal names. Dinner can be taken at one of the restaurants (you generally need to book) or pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight Shepperton, Surrey, England.
DAY THIRTEEN: Walk from Shepperton to Teddington. 10.9 miles (17.6km). After a few miles the splendours of Hampton Court are reached. Pause before you get to the Palace to look at the bridge which appears to be old and constructed of brick and stone. This was however designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in 1933 of camouflaged concrete. It's just a short distance from Hampton Court Park to Teddington Lock, beyond which the Thames is now tidal, and then you are into London. Your accommodation is on the northern edge of the Royal Park. Dinner can be taken at one of the restaurants (you generally need to book) or pubs in the town (not included in tour price). Overnight Teddington, Surrey, England.
DAY FOURTEEN: Walk from Teddington to Putney Bridge. 14.2 miles (22.7km). Best views of the looping river can be seen from Richmond Hill and you'll be in good company if you make the detour since many famous poets, writers and artists have been inspired from this spot for centuries. The first few miles of this section are remarkably rural as you pass through Ham Lands, Petersham Meadows, Richmond's Old Deer Park and Kew Gardens on the south and through Marble Hill Park and Syon Park on the north. Dinner can be taken at the hotel or nearby pubs along the banks of the River Thames (not included in tour price). Overnight Putney, London, England.
DAY FIFTEEN: Walk from Putney Bridge to Tower Bridge. 9.8 miles (15.6km). So many well known sites today, it will be difficult to put the camera away as you approach Westminster Abbey and central London. Dinner can be taken at the hotel or nearby pubs along the banks of the River Thames (not included in tour price). Overnight Central London, England.
DAY SIXTEEN: Enjor Central London or Walk from Tower Bridge to Greenwich 5.8 miles (9.4km). This is a day to relax and enjoy the sounds and sights of this ancient city. You could continue walking alongside the mature River Thames to pass Tower Bridge on your way to Greenwich, the end of your walking trip. You can continue onto the Thames Barrier which is another 4.4 miles (7km). Get the river boat back to Central London and enjoy a different view of your walk. Dinner can be taken at the hotel or nearby pubs along the banks of the River Thames (not included in tour price). Overnight Central London, England.
DAY SEVENTEEN: Departure from Central London. The tour finishes after breakfast.
RAIL TRAVEL from HEATHROW AIRPORT or LONDON to STROUD (NOT included in tour price): Stroud is the nearest rail station. There is a regular service from Heathrow airport via London (Paddington). Presently the 10:57 from Heathrow arrives in Stroud at 13:07 (change at London Paddington).
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to HEATHROW AIRPORT (NOT included in tour price): There is a regular train service from London (Paddington) to Heathrow. Presently the 08:55 arrives 09:30.
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Discount rail tickets to Stroud. Extra nights in Oxford, Windsor and Central London.
GRADE C+: Between 9 - 14 miles (14 - 22kms) a day (the occasional day may be shorter or longer than these depending on location of suitable accommodation). Strong waterproof walking boots are desirable. A strong waterproof Jacket and overtrousers are recommended to protect you from rain and cold winds. This tour goes through some areas of remote habitation, and high mountains. You will do up to 3500 feet of ascent and/or descent a day. You will be walking through Farms and walking on Trackless Moorland. You will start walking about 9:30am and finish at approx. 6pm.
You MUST be very fit to achieve your goal to go Coast to Coast. You MUST also have good map reading skills because the route is not waymarked or, at times, very visible on the ground. The mountains can be shrouded in mist or rain, and you MUST be prepared for this.
For safety reasons, you must be extremely proficient if you intend to walk alone. We strongly suggest against this. Ask yourself can you walk for hours, in driving rain and low visibility, confident in your map reading skills and morale boosting abilities? A friend in need is almost essential.
These grades are for guidance only. For any grade, depending on weather conditions, it may at times be damp underfoot, so waterproof boots are preferable.