Thames Path West - The Cotswolds (6 Days & 5 Nights)6 Days & 5 Nights 4.4 Read 11 reviews
- Walk the Thames Path West through the Cotswolds into the city of Oxford
- Tranquil landscapes of meadows, fields, woodlands and river banks
- Follow the Thames as it turns from a stream to a wide river
- Finish your walk in Oxford, one of the world’s most famous university cities
- Walk through the Cotswolds an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
Ideal if you have an interest in:
Historical Journeys, National Parks & Trails
Activity Level & 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 Kemble
- Travel from Oxford
- 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
You can fly into any of the London Airports. and easily make your way from any of them (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted) into the centre of London. From London Paddington Station there is a direct train to Kemble which takes approximately 1H15. For further information on train travel please visit either the Trainline or National Rail websites.
Getting from the End
From Oxford it is only a 1H train ride direct to London Paddington. From here 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.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Kemble & overnight
The village of Kemble is about 2.5 km from the start of the Thames River source, so is the best place to begin your walk. It is easily accessible and only a 1h 15min train ride from central London. Kemble’s Norman church is its main attraction and dates from 1250.
The Thames Head Inn is a unique Gloucestershire pub with rooms, serving excellent food in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The rooms are set in a converted barn providing four bed and breakfast en-suite guest bedrooms. They serve food every day.
Well Cottage is a 200 year old Cotswold cottage which has been extended to provide comfortable Bed and Breakfast accommodation with all the latest facilities including en suite shower rooms with power showers and LCD televisions. If you need to stay in contact with the internet, they provide free superfast Wi-Fi coashaccess.
The Barrel Store is a stylish boutique hostel style property in the centre of Cirencester. Part of Cirencester's former brewery, the 19TH Century Cotswold stone Barrel Store has been beautifully and creatively transformed into up to date accommodation; it is light and in deference to its owner, New Brewery Arts next door, has crafted touches throughout. Though simple, this accommodation has style and flair and has been built to meet Passivhaus standards.You are assured the warmest of welcomes at this walker friendly accommodation and while essentially a hostel, the rooms are en suite and come complete with bedding, towels, shampoo, and shower gel. There are no TVs, but there is free WiFi throughout. Located in the centre of Cirencester, The Barrel Store is close to all the shopping, eating and heritage amenities offered by this beautiful and historic market town.
Walk through the serene Cotswolds as you pass through the hamlet of Ewen. At first there is no water to be seen but you soon pass the Lyd Well, the spring from where the Thames first shows itself. Ashton Keynes offers a good spot for lunch, before the trail wanders through more meadows until reaching Cricklade, passing from Gloucestershire into Wiltshire. Cricklade is the first town you reach on the Thames Path and a great place to break up the first section. Here Alfred the Great fortified the town against the Danes.
The Red Lion Inn is situated just off the Thames path as it passes through historic Cricklade. The pub dates back to the early 1600s and has 5 newly decorated en-suite bedrooms. You can eat dinner here or in the town where there is plenty of options.
The White Hart is located in the centre of Crickdale and offers 14 newly refurbished en-suite rooms, along with home-cooked food in their warm and friendly bar.
The Old Bear Inn is a traditional country inn located in the centre of Cricklade. The accommodation is located in a converted barn and has all the amenities you require for a comfortable overnight stay. For breakfast, you can have a traditional English, continental or vegetarian breakfast upon request. All breakfasts come with handcrafted artisan bread. There is a courtyard where you will be able sit and enjoy the weather during the summer months.
This stage strays away from the river but you will still be walking through meadows and along country lanes. Arriving into Lechlade, an overnight stop, you will see many boats on the river as it used to be a bustling port, Nowadays it is a pretty market town with lots of facilities.
The Swan Inn is a family run, traditional 16th Century pub with rooms in Lechlade. Debbie, Stuart and all the team offer a very warm welcome to all who visit this area with all its country charm and atmosphere. Located above the pub, the rooms at The Swan Inn have all the facilities required for a relaxing stay. Each room is en-suite with a shower and comes complete with a TV and tea and coffee making facilities. The local shops, pubs and restaurants of Lechlade are within a 5 minute walk. Food is served every day. The menu is varied with all dishes home made on the premises with locally sourced ingredients where available. As the food is freshly made then any changes or allergies can be accommodated where possible.
The New Inn Hotel is ideally situated on the banks of the River Thames in the market town of Lechlade-on-Thames. It has a traditional bar where you can relax by the log fire. The hotel also boasts an A la Carte restaurant which serves a wide variety of sumptuous dishes. Each of their thirty bedrooms are furnished with Sky TV, wireless internet, tea and coffee making facilities, access to an ironing board and en-suite bath or shower room.
Situated in Burford, Gateway to the Cotswolds, the Highway is steeped in history and offers the warm welcome of a traditional English pub with today’s comfortable modern touches. This 15th century coaching Inn is run by a team who are passionate about good food and good service and it is open every day for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Drinks. The bedrooms are individually decorated in a modern English country house style with a mixture of designer fabrics and traditional wallpapers.
A pleasant walk from Lechlade to Newbridge along the most isolated and serene part of the path. On the first stage of this section of the Thames Path the river widens and becomes a lot bigger but is also the most isolated part of the trail. Your only companions here are the swans on the river which makes for very tranquil walking. From Lechlade the river becomes navigable so you will see quite a number of locks en route. Pass through the charming village of Buscot and at Radcot see the oldest bridge on the Thames with its Gothic arches. Go through Tadpole Bridge and Shifford Loch before reaching Newbridge which has the second oldest bridge and originally built by monks to carry Cotswolds wool over the river.
Located right next to the river, this accommodation has nicely decorated and comfortable rooms. There are 7 rooms, free Wifi and a cooked breakfast. 2 of the rooms have a river view. You will be warmly welcomed.
The Ferryman Inn has 6 bedrooms to offer, all with access to a large balcony area with seating overlooking the river Thames. All the bedrooms have been recently refurbished and each room has an en suite shower, tea/coffee facilities and TV as well as free Wi-fi.
Dating from the early 1700’s, The Cottage is a pretty detached Cotswold stone cottage. You’ll enjoy a home-from-home four-star Cotswold bed & breakfast which offers sumptuously furnished bedrooms, en-suite and private bathrooms, a cosy guest lounge with a wood-burning fireplace.
Leaving Newbridge the path continues to follow the river closely. At Bablock Hythe (once an important crossing point between Oxford and the West Country), the path now diverts away from the river next to Wytham Woods. Pass nearby Godstow Abbey, built in 1133, the outer walls and the remains of the abbess’s chapel are the only parts still standing. Pass a few more locks with magnificent city of Oxford now in the distance.
Oxford 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.
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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