Thames Path West - The Cotswolds (8 Days & 7 Nights)
- 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
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Cirencester & overnight
The attractive market town of Cirencester is about 4 miles from the source of the River Thames and has plenty of facilities, so is the best place to have your first overnight stay. There is no train station in Cirencester so we recommend taking a taxi from nearby Kemble (10min) which is easily accessible and only a 1h 15min train ride from central London. The following morning you will be taken by taxi to the start of the walk at the source of the Thames. Take a wander round the "capital of the Cotswolds" when you arrive before enjoying dinner in one of the many local restaurants.
Built in 1870, The Ivy House is a warm and welcoming bed and breakfast located in the centre of Cirencester. You will be sure of a warm welcome from Paul and Sue.
The Cotswold Hare, formerly The Old Bungalow Guest House, offers bed and breakfast accommodation in Cirencester, situated just a few minutes walk from the centre of this historic market town. Kathleen offers a warm welcome, relaxing atmosphere and comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation in our 7 en-suite rooms (3 of which are located on the ground floor).
The Old Brewhouse in Cirencester is a delightful 17th Century town house bed and breakfast full of charm and character, sympathetically restored and refurbished offering high quality bed and breakfast accommodation.
Walk in the serene Cotswolds as you pass through the small 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. Keep following the trail till you arrive in Ashton Keynes.
This B&B accommodation is set in a distinctive Grade 2 listed house dating back to the 17th century. Ideally situated on the Thames Path in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ashton Keynes. The 4 guests bedrooms have complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.
Wheatley’s Farm B&B is located on the edge of Ashton Keynes Village, one of the first on the Thames Path. Guests are welcome to use the garden to enjoy afternoon tea, relax with a favourite book, or watch the sun set with a drink in the evening. There are two spacious and comfortable rooms.
Today the trail wanders through meadows passing from the county of Gloucestershire into Wiltshire. Crickdale is your destination where 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.
During this section of the Thames Path the river widens and becomes a lot bigger, but it 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.
Steeped in history yet with a thoroughly contemporary twist, The Trout Inn is a 17th century pub that provides a truly special setting to stay, dine and drink. With its stylish interiors, distinctive features, and links to literacy and historic greats such as Lewis Carroll, Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, Rosamund the Fair, and King Henry II, this inn will open your eyes to a world of fascinating history and culture. Eat in their lovely restaurant this evening. Free Wifi and full breakfast.
Today you get back on the trail and pass through Shifford Loch before reaching Newbridge. This town has the second oldest bridge, which was originally built by monks to carry Cotswolds wool over the river, and is your overnight stop for the day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Royal Oxford Hotel is less than 0.5 miles from Oxford’s historic centre, and within a 10-minute walk of many of Oxford University’s Colleges. Riverside pubs and restaurants and within walking distance to the train and the bus stations. The rooms have their own individual style and charm and all are en suite, with toiletries and fluffy towels. There is a flat-screen TV in every room as well as complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, bottled water, fresh fruit, chocolates and biscuits.
After breakfast your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
Other InformationIs it for me?
The Thames Path West, the first section of this National Trail, takes you through pastoral landscapes of the Cotswolds and into the elegant university city of Oxford. If you would like to walk the first part of this easy to moderately rated trail (perhaps walking the other sections another time) then you should definitely book this tour!
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
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. Due to the flat nature of the area, it sometimes can be prone to waterlogged and boggy paths after any prolonged rainfall.
Please note that depending on where you spend the night, the distances may be at times more or less than 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).
Graded Easy to Moderate, the tour for the most part is easy-going walking alongside the Thames river with little to no elevation gains.
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.
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 and have a problem-free day.
- 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
You can start the Thames Path West tour anytime between late April and the 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.
By nature, the South East of England is prone to varying types of weather throughout the year. Always be prepared for changeable conditions when walking in England. Waterproofs are essential all year round. In the summer months, be prepared for hot weather also - with a lack of shade on the paths (ensure you have sunscreen) and in the shoulder seasons of March or October expect colder temperatures (it’s not a bad idea to pack some gloves or a woolly hat).
Before you set off each day, it is also important that you pay attention to any weather warnings in place. We recommend visiting https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ (the UK’s official source for weather warnings). Do not attempt to walk any sections if any serious weather warnings are in place.
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.
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.
At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person. It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.
Flooding and Diversions on the Thames path
The Thames Path is set in a relatively flat location of South east England therefore can be prone to flooding in early spring, during prolonged rainfall or bad weather – this may mean sections of the Thames path (in particular the west section) can become waterlogged or boggy, making progress significantly slower – in extreme cases it may make the path’s impassable. If any section is particularly bad over time, the local authorities will close it off and create a diversion. No matter what year you are due to walk the Thames Path you are likely to find some minor diversions in place (normally this will be a logical path that skirts around the effected section). If there are any major diversions in place, the Macs Adventure team will reach out to you to let you know.
We recommend checking the interactive map on the official trail website that shows the up-to-date trail diversions: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/thames-path/trail-information/
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.
10 Days 9 Nights0 ReviewsWalk the Southern Cotswolds, spending time in the two iconic cities of Bath and Oxford.Highlights
- Rural landscapes and chocolate-box villages
- Visit Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Churchill
- Bath, a UNESCO listed city, rich in roman heritage
10 Days 9 NightsWalk The Ridgeway at a more relaxed pace, giving you plenty of time to explore sights along the wayHighlights
- The Ridgeway at a relaxed pace
- Historic remains of Barbury and Uffington Castle
- The mysterious White Horse Hill
5 Days 4 NightsWalk the Thames Path from historic Oxford, through the Chiltern Hills to the village of PangbourneHighlights
- Chiltern Hills, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Abingdon with Iron Age, Roman and Saxon origins
- The university city of Oxford