Thames Path Short Break: Oxford to Pangbourne5 Days & 4 Nights
- Follow the Thames Path from Oxford to the charming village of Pangbourne
- Walk through the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Abingdon, a pretty and historic town with Iron Age, Roman and Saxon origins
- Begin in the university city of Oxford, admiring its fine architecture
- Enjoy traditional fish and chips and a local brew in the village pub
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Historical Journeys
- National Parks & Trails
Grade & Terrain
Generally this is easy walking as you are, for the most part, walking alongside the Thames and therefore the elevation gains and losses are minimal. However walking the complete Thames Path in one stretch is not easy, as you will be walking fairly long distances everyday, especially on the 17 day tour. Therefore the 17 day complete trip is rated moderate, simply due to the daily walking distances. The 21-day itinerary has at times been split into shorter sections and is therefore graded easy to moderate. These itineraries are most suitable for those walkers with previous long distance experience and an excellent level of physical fitness.
The Thames Path is a walk of contrasting terrain, from countryside trails and small country roads, to towpaths, riverside paths, plus some city streets, the further into London you get.
Please note that depending on where you spend the night, the distances may be at times more or less that listed every day. So please be prepared for longer or shorter walks than listed when necessary. Also the distances listed may not be exactly the same as in the guidebook as different gps units do not measure the distances the same (its not an exact science).
The Thames Path is relatively well waymarked. We provide a Thames Path guidebook to assist you in finding your way and GPX tracks are accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone. We also provide detailed maps.
You will experience a variety of accommodations on this tour from small B&B's and guesthouses, to inns, hotels and comfortable pubs with rooms. Some will be quite simple depending on where they are located and what is available. However, they all offer warm welcomes and traditional hospitality. In the heart of London, we will be using chain-style hotels. If you request a booking when there is an event on in London, or it is particularly busy, you may be asked to pay a supplement.
On the Thames Path, accommodation choices can be limited along the trail, so if we cannot secure a reservation for you in a particular place you may have to spend 2 nights in one place and we will include a transfer to or from the beginning/end of the walk, whatever is appropriate.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. We also welcome solo walkers on the Thames Path, although you should, of course, take extra care in the outdoors when walking alone.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.
If you wish to add additional nights along the trail or at the beginning and end of your itinerary please contact us. You may choose to add some rest days, or extra days where there is plenty of opportunity for sightseeing.
- Overnights in B&B’s, guesthouses, inns, hotels & pubs with rooms
- Luggage transfers
- Detailed Information Pack, Guidebook and maps
- Access to the GPX tracks via the Macs Smartphone App
- 24/7 telephone support from our UK office
- Travel to Oxford
- Travel from Pangbourne
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you wish to skip a stage
- Travel Insurance
- Personal Equipment
- Extra nights
When To Go
You can start your Thames Path Complete walk anytime between the end of April and beginning of October. It is advised not to walk the beginning sections of the Thames Path too early in the year as there is a risk of flooding on some of the paths as they are next to the river.
Please note that if you are doing the complete Thames Path walk it is best to book a long way in advance due to potential availability issues in central London.
Getting to the Start
The closest airport to the start of the walk is any of the London Airports. You can easily make your way from any of the London Airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted) into the centre of London. From London Paddington Station there is a direct train to Oxford which takes approximately 1H. For further information on train travel please visit either the Trainline or National Rail websites.
Getting from the End
From Pangbourne, you can take a train (approx. 1H) to London’s Paddington Station. Depending on which train you choose to catch, you may be required to change trains in Reading, however, there are also direct trains. They run approximately every 30 minutes depending on the time of day. From London Paddington, you can make your onward journeys to any of the London Airports. See the weblinks above to look up schedules and prices.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
These areas are very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as possible.
Generally this is easy walking as you are, for the most part, walking alongside the Thames and therefore the elevation gains and losses are minimal. These itineraries are most suitable for those walkers with previous long distance experience and a good level of physical fitness.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
Spring, summer and autumn/fall are good times to walk this National Trail. However spring and autumn/fall will be less busy that in July and August.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use public transport, bus or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Oxford & overnight
Oxford is easily accessible from central London by direct train (1H) from London Paddington. It is one of the world’s most famous university cities, the oldest colleges dating back to 1300. The university buildings are scattered throughout the city, generally honey-coloured and very elegant. This evening explore its narrow cobbled streets and tranquil courtyards. Restaurants and pubs are plentiful and this evening you can enjoy their ambience.
Located in central Oxford (just a stone’s throw from the City Centre) and with views over Queen’s College playing fields, the Oxford Town House offers B&B in two Victorian town houses, the interior design of the rooms is simple and relaxing, they have chosen different furniture designs for each room, so all rooms have something different to offer. The rooms have all the amenities you require for a lovely overnight stay including air conditioning, WIFI and mini bar.
Tower House is a beautifully decorated 17th century guest house located in the heart of Oxford. Their eight uniquely decorated rooms will provide a relaxing haven in the bustling city centre. Their profits go to Oxford Hub a charity organisation that supports university students engaging in social action in both their local community and beyond.
Situated besides the river the well named Head of the River matches its food, drink and accommodation to the beauty of its surroundings. The Head of The River has 20 beautiful individually designed rooms, providing wonderful waterside accommodation in Oxford. The stylish bedrooms are comfortable, elegantly designed and appointed with a host of modern luxuries.
Leaving Oxford behind, embark on today's walk which will provide you with a sense of solitude. Pass the Iffley Meadows Nature Reserve, Sandford-on-Thames and the famous “Lasher” weir. This section of the river has fast and deadly undercurrents. Ironically one of the Lasher’s victims was the adopted son of JM Barrie and the inspiration for Peter Pan. Pass a couple more locks before arriving in Abingdon, a pretty and historic town with Iron Age, Roman and Saxon origins.
With a history dating back to 1605, The Crown & Thistle on Bridge Street re-opened its doors in 2013, following a restoration. This Grade II listed coaching inn comprises three individual buildings clustered around a cobbled courtyard, framed by 200-year-old wisteria. Having been sympathetically designed, many of the buildings’ original features, such as timber beams, open brickwork, and window frames that aren’t square, remain throughout the restaurant, extensive bar area, elegant function rooms and 18 boutique-style bedrooms.
Comfortable, attractive central Abingdon bed and breakfast accommodation in an historic house in East St Helen Street, described in Pevsner's Architectural Guide as one of the most interesting streets in England. The house and bedrooms have character and charm and the atmosphere is informal and friendly.
Hosted by Theresa and James, this boutique B&B boasts 4 cozy bedrooms, a great room with wood-burning fireplace, expansive outdoor patio, spectacular views, and western country design. Fuel up on a hearty, healthy two-course breakfast before you head out for the day.
The next section to Wallingford passes some smaller settlements of interest including Dorchester-on-Thames and Benson. From Dorchester you can see the Sinodun Hills across the river and next to Benson peaceful meadows. Until 1652 this was the site of Wallngford Castle, one of the most intimidating fortifications in pre-Civil War England.
Wallingford is a Saxon fortified town and one of the finest examples in England. If you want to explore here there is a museum. William the Conqueror lead his victorious army over the river at this very spot.
This unique building, one of the oldest in town, has been a pub for nearly two centuries. Today, it has 3 ensuite bedrooms which are all simply furnished but have all the amenities you require for a lovely overnight stay. The pub serves real ales, lagers, ciders and wine and you can enjoy a rest in their beer garden on a nice evening.
You are assured the warmest of welcomes at the George Hotel, a splendid historic accommodation in the heart of Wallingford town. All bedrooms are en suite, and offer complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, TVs with Sky and radio channels, free broadband internet and WiFi, and hair dryers. The George has many stories to tell. Dick Turpin, the famous highwayman, is believed to have escaped the law on many occasions from his room above the courtyard.
The Royal Standard is located in the beautiful and historic market town of Wallingford, in the most southernmost tip of South Oxfordshire. This is a traditional pub with lovely accommodation, serving great food.
Today's walk to Pangbourne takes you through the Goring Gap, between the Chiltern Hills and the Berkshire Downs. In the Ice Age the river’s way was blocked by glaciers but it found a weak spot in the chalk, permanently changing the river’s course. Also passing through Streatley (twinned with Goring) is an area of importance to early Britons; these towns are certainly worth a stop.
Pangbourne is next, famous as the place where Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows lived during his formative years. Jimmy Page, guitarist for Led Zeppelin also lived in the village. This is the final destionation for today's walk.
The Elephant Hotel in the bustling village of Pangbourne offers a return to the opulence of the Empire. Beautiful handcrafted Indian furniture, delicate fabrics and bedrooms individual in style but identical in attention to detail. Each and every one has all the mod-cons you have come to expect, WiFi, flat-screen TV with over 50 channels, DVD player with a selection of movies available, and not to mention the specialty tea and coffee or the bespoke soaps and bubble bath.
In picturesque Pangbourne, a short walk from the scenic River Thames, The George Hotel is a traditional hotel offering superior quality, boutique style accommodation. Set in a 17th-century traditional coaching inn, the cosy rooms at The George each have en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TV with cable channels, tea and coffee making facilities and hairdryers. The Village Bar offers real ales, fine wines and light snacks and is the perfect place to relax in.
After breakfast your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
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