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Introducing the Trail

Find useful facts and learn more about the Thames Path. Select the blue tabs below for more details.

About the Trail

The Thames Path is a long distance walking trail, following England’s best known river for 185.2miles (298 km) as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds through several rural counties and on into the heart of London. On its way the Trail passes peaceful water meadows rich in wildlife, historic towns and cities and many lovely villages, finishing in Woolwich just a few miles from the sea.

Easy to reach by public transport, the Thames Path is a gentle Trail, able to be walked by people of all ages and abilities. This National Trail can be enjoyed in many ways, whether for an afternoon’s stroll, a weekend’s break or a full scale, but relatively gentle, trek of its whole length. It is very well way-marked so following the route is easy. But it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map, to help you decide, check out the route descriptions

The best months to visit are spring through to the end of autumn. If you’re interested in wildlife there are always a range of birds present on and around the river but they’re at their most active and visible during April and May whilst establishing territories and finding mates. If you’re keen on wildflowers, then April to September is the time to visit, and if insects such as butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies are the things you’d most like to see choose June to September.

There are Route Descriptions in the Further Information section of this website. Check out the Visit Thames website for more inspiration and ideas, things to do and places to stay along the River Thames.

The final section was opened and the Thames Path National Trail inaugurated at the Thames Barrier on 24 July 1996. Read about its history here

On 12th January 2022 the England Coast Path from Grain to Woolwich was officially opened at the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, 1.2 miles east of the Thames Barrier. It connects with the Thames Path National Trail there to create a continuous ‘Source to Sea’ National Trail along the length of the River Thames from the Cotswolds to the North Sea. The entire ‘Source to Sea’ trail is 232 miles (374 km) following the south bank of the River Thames in London. In total the Thames Path National Trail is now 185.2miles (298 km) from the source of the River Thames to Woolwich. For a video overview on The Thames Path and England Coast Path – Source to Sea – visit this link.

If you’d like to become a National Trail Volunteer, just visit our Volunteering webpage and send us an email: NT.volunteers@oxfordshire.gov.uk 

Trail Holidays

Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Thames Path.

Latest News, Newsletter and Trail Manager's blog

Visit our News Page for the latest interesting and exciting news about the Thames Path.

Check out our Trail Manager’s blog here.

Read our latest newsletter here

Events

Take a look at our Events calendar to find details of the enjoyable events that are taking place along the trail. If you want, you can even add your own event.

A History of the Thames Path

The Thames Path National Trail, the 184-mile long-distance footpath from the source of the River Thames in Trewsbury Mead, Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier in Woolwich, London, celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday 24 July 2021.

The Thames Path was named as one of the country’s long distance recreational routes in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949.

From 1973 the Ramblers and the River Thames Society worked together with local campaign groups negotiating with landowners and local authorities, and lobbying politicians to restore the old towing path from the days of barges on the River Thames.

The final section was opened and the Thames Path National Trail inaugurated at the Thames Barrier on 24 July 1996.

Please visit our History page to learn more about ‘How The Trail Became’.

Thames Path

Click the play button to see the highlights of the Thames Path

DIWRNODAU

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PELLTER

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Trail Itineraries

From the source of the Thames in the Cotswolds follow this iconic river through stunning countryside, the city of Oxford, famous Henley, past Windsor Castle and Hampton Court and into the heart of London.
Explore the Thames Path for three days, a week or even longer. Find inspiration for your walking adventure using our suggested itineraries, or select one of our bookable itineraries which are highlighted with a star.

Follow the River Thames through countryside and towns

Explore the river by boat, visit the fabulous stately homes, palaces, gardens and nature reserves along the way. Stop off to enjoy the sights of Oxford and London.

Create your own trip

Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.