Walk London: The Thames Path

By M@ Last edited 92 months ago
Walk London: The Thames Path

This post is produced in partnership with Walk London.

This week's walk needs little introduction. Most Londoners and visitors will have walked at least part of the Thames Path. The trail stretches some 180 miles from source to sea, and is thought to be the longest riverside walk in Europe.

A 40-mile stretch winds through Greater London, taking in verdant countryside, wildlife hotspots, important dockland heritage and, in central London, some of the most famous landmarks in the world. We guarantee, once you've completed one stretch you'll want to tackle the whole thing.

But where to begin? If the weather holds for the weekend, we'd suggest journeying out of the centre to Hampton Court, then heading downriver along the south bank. After eyeing up Henry VIII's famous Palace, you'll soon come to the bustle of Kingston — a good place to stop for a drink and admire the omnipresent swans. From here, the trail becomes much quieter, passing along shady banks. The water can be crystal clear and, in fine weather and flip-flops, a paddle is almost mandatory.

The scene changes again as you reach Teddington. Famous for its studios, this small town also marks the point where the river ceases to be tidal and you'll see plenty of small boats, weirs and locks.

A lengthy but pleasant stretch next takes you through Twickenham and Richmond, before skirting the edge of Kew Gardens. Look out for the magnificent Syon House on the opposite bank and, a little further on, Kew Palace on the south bank.

Those with more energy can then continue on through Mortlake, Barnes and Putney (marking the 12-mile point). The riverbanks between these centres retain a rural character despite the nearby hustle and bustle of the London suburbs.

When you've walked your comfortable limit, train services back to central London are available from any of the towns mentioned above. The walk can also be taken on the north bank, where inland diversions take you on a slightly longer route.

Map available here.

Last Updated 06 May 2011