path books and boating
books and maps
on the River Thames
path pubs and London
side pubs, Barrier to Windsor
- north or south bank?
side pubs - Windsor to Source
weeks walking itinerary - Windsor to the source
(thumbnails) Barrier to Houses of Parliament
(thumbnails) Lambeth to the source
(thumbnails) Regents canal
(thumbnails) Lee Navigation
(thumbnails) Kennet and Avon canal
by area, select sets to view
Thame's side inns is one of the best ways to
enjoy the Thames, we try to do it as often as possible along the Thames
easy route both in terms of ground and route finding.
Finding camping sites would be difficult along parts of the route. 180
miles (290k) 12-14 days. (Windsor to source fits into a week). Minimal
ascent, 5m to 110m in 180 miles, with a few minor ups and down along
and like all big cities the usual precautions should be
with wallets etc. I would suggest doing the first section from the
(and the extension - which around Erith has the additional issues of
isolation from view, lack of escape routes and proximity to a
population centre ) early
in the day and in company, taking particular
care in the stretch
just upstream of the "Cutty Sark". I don't want to give the impression
these places are dangerous, but I feel I should warn the unwary who may
not be as streetwise as the average city dweller. (I did the former
after dark and am still here to tell the tale!)
and other crowd pulling events
might like to check if Charlton,
Chelsea, Fulham or Queens Park Rangers are playing at home near a
you aim to use at lunchtime (or an area you wish to park in). One
reports he could only get a cheese roll in the "Anchor and Hope" on a
match day.Note the Fulham ground is on the riverfront and the path goes
round it (there is an alternative path on the south bank).Henley
the Oxford and Cambridge boat race and the Reading Jazz
are other events to note. London from Greenwich to The Houses of
would be almost impossible on London Marathon day (a Sunday in
regatta <website> <womens'
of June into July. Womens' mid June.
week of July on upper Thames
Great River Race <website>
to Greenwich in September
of the river race <website>
to Putney in March
boat race <website>
Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge.
Coat and Badge race and Port of London Challenge Race
Bridge to Chelsea, two dates in mid July
Every year in the
week of July, The Queen's Swan Marker and the swan uppers from the
and Dyers' Livery companies, travel the Thames from Sunbury on Thames
Abingdon in their scarlet uniforms and in traditional Thames rowing
marking and inspecting mute swans.
through a cross section of southern England. It
would not suit anyone looking for a challenging wilderness experience.
An ideal first long distance path or succession of day/weekend walks.
railway services for all of the route) But don't take bites at it at
part of the beauty of the walk is in experiencing the progression of
activities up the river.
buildings along the river are now considered
some of the most desirable in the country and therefore the most
Inevitably this is reflected in the price of accommodation and
meals, especially in central London and the more desirable locations
Small "B&Bs" just away from the river will of course be cheaper
riverfront pub/hotels. The Ramblers Association list "B&B"s, just
the accommodation button on their
page (after bookmarking this one!).
that provides overnight accomodation and carries your luggage!
choice of bank
Thame's milages as Excel spreadsheet
holding down shiftkey while clicking on link
right click the link and choose "save to...")
The best way to tackle the extension is from Slade Green
station. Take Moat Lane on the north side of the station (left of the
exit) and reach The Darent at Crayford Marshes, then follow the river.
This section has good numbers of waders and ducks in winter,
diminishing in numbers as the path approaches London proper. After the
Erith rejuvenated waterfront the path passes along the river isolated
and hidden from view, see security. After the
historic Crossness pumping engines the riverfront is lined with the new
flats that are a feature of much of London's Thames nowadays. If doing
this section separately, it can be finished at Charlton station. There
are no riverfront pubs on this section.
proper - Industrial
jumble of industry, not pretty, but not without
interest and those whose first reaction is to think of skipping the
of the walk should first reflect that the fascination of the walk lies
in the rivers progress through all the uses man has put the river to.
any case, as the years pass plants discharging dubious effluents
are being replaced by affluent housing developments. However if only a
single week is available and/or you would need to pay for London
from Windsor gives good, mainly rural, walking.
views of that monument to political megolomania, (now
finally put to sensible uses)
the millenium dome.
Canary Wharf looms in the distance and of course the barrier,
where the walk starts (note that
early starters will have to miss the first few yards of path through
locked visitor centre). Note that the path round the dome may divert
from the river edge due to the various development works in progress.
Feb 2005 I was diverted away from river for a couple of hundred yards
near the entrance to the northbound Blackwall tunnel to get round
when away from the river in this area it can be less than scenic!).
and the north bank is lined with the overpriced
flats of the overpaid city market traders and thier towering offices at
originally planed as a low rise development! Some interesting parts of
the old east end remain including "The Prospect
and "The Mayflower" where
the ship of that name (also built in Whitby) was reputedly berthed,
and crewed before its historic voyage from Plymouth to America,
the pub has only had that name since 1960, formerly being the "Spread
which was largely destroyed by a V1 rocket in WW2.
with two interesting ships "The
"Gypsy Moth IV"
(currently (2005) being refitted for another voyage) alongside The Royal
National Maritime Museum and above and behind the Royal
the Greenwich meridian. Further on, the reconstructed Globe
makes a strong contrast to the brutalist concrete of the South
The Millenium Eye is everything the dome
to be, next to County Hall and the Houses of
and its clock tower containing "Big Ben" across
Cutty Sark is currently under restoration (2007) and after a major fire
in need of funds. <website>
with the London
move towards the
suburbs at Putney,
Hammersmith, Kew and Richmond with its deer park edging the south bank
and Richmond with the first lock, although the river is tidal to Teddington.
is now the order and will remain so for many miles. Eel Pie island was
originally a day trip destination for Victorians, later a haunt of
and then blues/rock groups like the Rolling Stones, it is now left to
London is loosing its grip on the river and narrow boats start to make
an appearance alongside the large sightseeing cruisers. Many of these
be travelling on the Thames and the Oxford canal, their narrow beam
them ideal for the smaller locks upstream. Often now one bank of the
will be lined with, sometimes expensive houses, although
it is rare for walkers to be excluded from both banks, although
there is a feeling that owners do not really want a right of way
thier front gardens, in one a brass plaque reads "Right of way - No
boathouses the river moves into a private
soon the locks are manually operated (from Kings
near the "Trout Inn" which is well worth a visit as is the thatched
800 years old and reputedly named "The Parrot" for the first hundred
the inevitable sad event took place, well thats what I heard...).
inevitably accompanied by an Inn, in the case of Newbridge
by two, the Rose Revived, run by a major chain "Green King" thankfully
with accomodation and the other "The Maybush" on the other bank,
with good homecooked food.
at the next bridge "Tadpole Bridge" with
its "Trout Inn".
We overheard a telephone conversation with the landlord "Yes sir, this
is the Trout Inn, are you sure you have the correct one........Yes, we
are by the Thames as are the other two......yes, and all three are by
limit of navigation for all but small boats. There
are two bridges here, St Johns with its accompanying "Trout
and Ha'penny bridge with its tollbooth.
Square at the "New Inn".
A coaching inn with its stables converted into extra rooms.
on the river, on our first visit we failed to engage
Cricklade, it seemed all pool tables and "Swindon troublemakers not
here". But second time around we struck lucky with "The
a locals pub with a room above the bar and three converted stables at
back, breakfast is at a communal farmhouse type table and although
is no food on Sunday (this is a proper drinking pub, not a semi
a decent Indian restaurant across the street will feed you.
to become elusive, without river traffic the
need for a footpath has become less and our route, although usually
to water, is not always next to the river, which at times is now almost
fading away, especially in summer.
is across meadows with the unmistakable dry bed on our right, only full
under very wet conditions.
As of 2001 an extension downstream from the barrier, waymarked with a
barge logo, connects with "The London Loop" at Erith.The
beyond the extension
abbreviated from "Themesis" (possibly
- "wide" and 'Isis' - "water"). Although it has been suggested that up
river it was called "Thames" and downriver "Plowonida" (which also
wide river from pre celtic "plew" and nejd") and that "Londinium"
on your walk you will pass 45 locks, 58 islands
called "ait" or eyot") plus the Isle of Dogs, (not really an island)
103 bridges of all ages, from the Millennium
to Abingdon Bridge (1416) and New Bridge
In London there are also 16 tunnels, usually for the London
one of which, Marc Brunel's Thames Tunnel,
Only one is a foot tunnel, at Greenwich,
been the same, half a million years ago it flowed
from Wales to Clacton and onward to become a tributary of the Rhine,
the North Sea existed. But the southward march of glaciers blocked its
path and diverted it southwards to its present position where it stayed
when the glaciers retreated.
Thames formed a major highway between London and
Westminster, Hampton Court and Oxford, The Guild of Watermen being the
"black cabs" of their day. Today we are again starting to see our river
as an underused resource and river buses now operate to relieve
choked roads. Later, during the days of the British Empire the Thames
at its centre with goods flowing in and out of the city docks, but post
the two great wars, business has moved downstream to deep water
and the old docks, heavily bombed during the second world war have now
almost entirely been regenerated as a second business district and
for those that work in it. Freed of much of its industry, the (now
GLC and TWA have cleaned up the river so it is now one of the cleanest,
if not the cleanest, to flow through a major city. When out taking
in the early morning I have seen fisherman, with angler's rod or
in the shadow of Canada Tower.
thumbnails by location:-
so it might be worth making a cup of tea while
load, note that these links are not all to the top of pages, so it may
appear that nothing is loading at first)
Barrier to Greenwich
to Tower Bridge (from north bank)
to Tower Bridge (from south bank)
Bridge to the Houses of Parliament (from north bank)
Bridge to the Houses of Parliament (from south bank)
to Hampton Court
to Goring and Streatley
and Streatley to Oxford
of the photographs can be found down the left
edge of the pages.
selection starting from here.
(Just click on the image for the next one). To view all the
sequentially click here