Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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The river near Iffley lock
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Highlights

  • 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

Take a short break walking England’s Thames Path, a National Trail, from the university city of Oxford to the captivating village of Pangbourne.

Oxford is one of the world’s most famous university cities, the oldest college buildings dating back to 1300, generally honey-coloured and very elegant. Also walk through smaller settlements of interest, such as Dorchester-on-Thames and Wallingford, a Saxon fortified town.

Pause in the local pub for a local brew and perhaps a Ploughman’s Lunch with hearty bread, cheeses, pickled onions and cold meats.

Day 1: Arrive Oxford

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.


Overnight: Oxford


Day 2: Oxford to Abingdon

Leaving Oxford behind, embark on your next section which does preserve its sense of solitude as in the previous stages. 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.


Overnight: Abingdon


Walk: 16km/10m


Day 3: Abingdon to Wallingford

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.


Overnight: Wallingford/Benson


Walk: 19-22km/12-13 m


Day 4: Wallingford to Pangbourne

On the next stage to Pangbourne you will walk 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.


Overnight: Pangbourne


Walk: 18-21 km/11-13m


Day 5: Onward Travel

You can take a train from Pangbourne to London’s Paddington Station. The journey takes approximately 1H. From here you can make your way to other stations or airport.


Accommodation

You will experience a variety of accommodations on this tour from small B&B's and guesthouses, to inn's, hotels and 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. 


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.


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.


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 welcome solo walkers on the Thames Path, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking alone.


Meals

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.



 

 

 




The Oxford Townhouse

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.


 

 

 


 

 

 



The Crown & Thistle

With a history dating back to 1605, The Crown & Thistle is a Grade II listed coaching inn The design retains many of the buildings’ original features and there are 18 boutique-style bedrooms.



 

 

 



The Elephant

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.

Availability

You can start your Thames Path Short Break: Oxford to Pangbourne anytime between April and 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.


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 on this short break you will be required 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 good 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 in Oxford.  


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 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 its not an exact science.


Navigation

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.


Baggage 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.  


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. 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.

Getting to Oxford

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 Pangbourne

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.


Included

  • 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

Excluded

  • 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.

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Solo Walker Supplement
  • Extra nights

How far in advance do I need to book?

These areas are very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as possible.

How fit do I need to be?

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.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

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.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport, bus or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

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