The Thames Path
Follow England's most famous river from its source to its most famous sights
Also in Bexley, United Kingdom • Brent, United Kingdom • Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom • Camden, United Kingdom • City, United Kingdom • Ealing, United Kingdom • Greenwich, United Kingdom • Havering, United Kingdom • Hillingdon, United Kingdom • Newham, United Kingdom • Oxfordshire, United Kingdom • Swindon, United Kingdom • Tower Hamlets, United Kingdom • Westminster, United Kingdom • Wiltshire, United Kingdom
- 316 km
- 283 m
- 388 m
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 0 m
- High Point
- 109 m
Taking in everything from peaceful canal locks to wide open farmland and one of the World's most famous urban skylines, this is one of the best and most varied hikes in Britain. With almost the entire trail being clear, flat paths and navigation rarely being an issue, it's also one of the easiest long hikes you'll find anywhere. In addition, logistics for the trail are remarkably straightforward because the whole route goes through densely populated parts of the UK, and you'll never be more than a few hours away from a comfy bed and a warm meal.
The trail begins just south-west of Cirencester at the official sources of the Thames, and the river gradually widens as it winds its way to Oxford - the first major settlement on the trail and one of England's most fascinating towns. The buildings which make up Oxford's world-famous university are stunning, so taking a rest day from the trail and wandering the legendary streets of the town is highly recommended.
From Oxford the Thames path continues through Abingdon, Wallingford, Tilehurst and Reading before reaching Henley - another famous town centred around this most famous of rivers. Home to the world's best known rowing regatta and some beautiful architecture, Henley is another good spot for a rest day.
By the time you leave Henley you're close to London but it's quite remarkable how peaceful the trail remains as it winds through the city's south-western commuter towns. The capital's busy motorways and airports are close at hand, but you'll avoid much of it as you pass through some typically bucolic English countryside.
Eventually you can avoid the city no longer, but it's no chore to travel through the landmarks of London on foot. Whether you're interested in sports stadiums, government buildings or unique features like Battersea Power Station, you'll see them on the journey though central London. All too soon the Thames path leads you to Crayford Nest, and journey's end.
For those who wish to extend the Thames path, the route can be linked with the England Coast Path National Trail to take you all the way to Grain, Kent, where the Thames finally completes its journey and empties into the English Channel.
Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.
Best time to visit
- Dog friendly
- Wild flowers
- Water features
- Family friendly