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Thames Path Central - Oxford to Windsor (8 Days & 7 Nights)

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 31 reviews
  • Follow the Thames Path from Oxford to Windsor, home to the royal palace
  • Pass through the eye-catching and typically English village of Sonning
  • Reach Marlow, the town where Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein
  • Wander through the university city of Oxford, admiring its fine architecture
  • Walk through the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Follow riverside trails on England’s Thames Path, a National Trail, from the university city of Oxford to Windsor. As John Elliott Burns (1858-1943) said, “The Thames is liquid history”. It has inspired authors, poets and painters alike and you can contemplate life and relax whilst walking through serene countryside and to areas of great historic significance, including the city of Oxford and the royal palace of Windsor, the official residence of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Wander through idyllic English villages, such as Sonning, Bourne End and Goring. Pause in the local pub for a local brew and perhaps a Ploughman’s Lunch with hearty bread, cheeses, pickled onions, and cold meats.
This section of the Thames Path, a National Trail, from Oxford to Windsor can be walked over 8 or 11 days and is rated between easy and moderate, depending on the itinerary you choose. Stroll by the Thames, England’s iconic river, contemplating life and viewing some of this country’s rich historic treasures.

Tour Type:

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.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Long-Distance 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 Thames Path Central in 8 days will require you to walk fairly long distances for a couple of the days. Therefore this itinerary is most suitable for those walkers with previous long distance experience and an excellent level of physical fitness. The longer itinerary of 11 days will be easier as the walks are split up into more manageable lengths.

The Thames Path is a walk of contrasting terrain, from countryside trails and small country roads, to towpaths, riverside paths, plus some city streets in Oxford and Windsor.

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 at times.  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 and therefore it's 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 and have a problem-free day.

Experience & Fitness

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 Thames Path Central in 8 days will require you to walk fairly long distances for a couple of days. Therefore, this itinerary is most suitable for those walkers with previous long-distance experience and an excellent level of physical fitness. The longer itinerary of 11 days will be easier as the walks are split up into more manageable lengths.


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.

Additional Nights

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
  • Breakfasts
  • 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 Windsor
  • 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 Central walk anytime between mid-April and the beginning of October. You cannot walk the Thames Path too early in the year as there is always a risk of flooding on some of the paths as they are next to the river. 

Weather and Climate

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  (the UK’s official source for weather warnings). Do not attempt to walk any sections if any serious weather warnings are in place.

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 Windsor you can take a train (1H) into the London’s centre and specifically London Waterloo Station. From here you can make your onward journeys to any of the London Airports. See the weblinks above to look up schedules and prices.

Luggage Transfer

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.

General Information

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:


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.

Travel Insurance

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.

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Day 1 Arrive Oxford & overnight Day 2 Oxford to Abingdon 9 miles / 14 km Day 3 Abingdon to Wallingford/Benson 14 miles / 22 km Day 4 Wallingford/Benson to Pangbourne 11 miles / 18 km Day 5 Pangbourne to Henley-on-Thames 16 miles / 26 km Day 6 Henley-on-Thames to Marlow 9 miles / 14 km Day 7 Marlow to Windsor 14 miles / 23 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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