Formally opened in 1996, the Thames Path is the most riparian of Britain’s National Tails. It’s a walk of 185 miles (297.7 kilometres), from the river’s source in a quiet Cotswolds meadow to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, closely following England’s longest river for most of the way.
Are you planning a trip along the Thames Path? Here are five beautiful locations that you can visit along the way!
1. Hampton Court Palace
Now in the care of Historic Royal Palaces, the building of Hampton Court Palace was begun in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the chief minister of King Henry VIII. Upon falling from political favour, the king acquired the palace from Wolsey and it became Henry VIII’s best-loved residence.
2. Kew Gardens
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew hold the single largest and most botanically diverse plant collection in the world. Its gardens and greenhouses extend across 330 acres adjacent to the Thames. This stunning site was founded in 1840 and developed from an eighteenth-century exotic garden.
3. North Meadow National Nature Reserve
Located just north-west of Cricklade and occupying land between the rivers Thames and Churn, North Meadow is a supreme and very rare example of a lowland hay meadow – one of the best in Europe, fully justifying its national nature reserve status. The meadow supports Britain’s largest single-site flowering of the delightful snake’s head fritillary, a must-see sight in late spring
4. Windsor Castle
The path’s approach downriver to Eton has a particularly memorable view of Windsor Castle rising majestically above the opposite bank of the Thames. The home of 40 monarchs in its near 1,000 years of royal history, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world
5. Tower Bridge
One of London’s most recognisable landmarks and probably the best-known bridge on the Thames, Tower Bridge is a triumph of Victorian architecture and engineering. Built 1886-94, the elevated walkway between the twin towers affords panoramic views across the capital from 138 feet (42 metres) above the river. A glass floor in the walkway enables visitors to stare down at traffic passing below
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Plan your adventure along the Thames Path National Trail with our bespoke map! It includes a clear route plotted across the map, a suggested walking itinerary and more than 20 places of interest with full-colour photographs. Explore our National Trail Maps collection.