Discover The Thames Path
Why Book your Thames Path Walking Holiday with Macs Adventure?
Macs Adventure has been organising self-guided walking holidays on the Thames Path since 2018 and we have been organising walking holidays in the Cotswolds since 2007. Due to the success and popularity of our tours in the Cotswolds, we decided it was time to offer the fantastic Thames Path to our community; a National Trail joining the Cotswolds with Oxford, Windsor and London City. The Thames Path has proven popular from the outset and it's easy to see why. The Thames is arguably the most iconic river in the UK. It starts out as a mere trickle in the heart of the Cotswolds and following it to London is an immersive journey through the South of England's history, heritage and cuisine.
We offer a flexible, tailor-made Thames Path experience staying in comfortable B&Bs, guesthouses, and inns attached to traditional pubs. We carry your bags to lighten your load so you can concentrate on simply putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying all this delightful corner of England has to offer. You can book with confidence that we have it all covered for you.
We want to showcase our expertise, by giving you all the resources you will ever need. Our Destination Specialists have their own experiences of walking the Thames Path and are waiting to answer your questions. On the route, we use high-quality digital mapping to make sure you find your way, as well as a host of tips, facts and recommendations to enrich your Thames Path experience.
Thames Path Facts
The Thames River
Perhaps surprisingly, the Thames is not the UK's longest river. That accolade goes to The River Severn which is about 8km longer than the Thames at 354 km. Despite this, the Thames is by far the most famous of the UK's rivers due to its illustrious past. Since pre-historic times, the river has been a vital and very busy highway of boats of all kinds of sizes and shapes, moving products and goods of all varieties. The moving of goods and passengers lead to London's prosperity and the international acclaim that it still enjoys to this day. Nowadays the vessels on the Thames are there for recreational purposes, but the traffic is still considerable with barges, canoes, kayaks and small boats all regularly making their way up and down the river.
The town of Oxford is mostly known for its world-renowned university. Founded in 1096, it is the oldest English-language university in the world and the second oldest university in the world after the University of Bologna in Italy. Oxford University is continuously ranked as one of the best universities in the world and its historic campus and buildings are tourist attractions in their own right, being beautifully ornate and steeped in atmosphere and history. Outside of the campus, join Oxonians (the name given to natives of the town) browsing the shelves of Blackwell's Bookshop, a local institution and one of the world's largest bookshops with an incredible 5 km of shelving to explore. The River Thames runs through Oxford, where it is also known by the name Isis, which stems from its ancient Roman name Tamesis. The name Isis is particularly common in the context of university rowing.
The Thames Barrier
The Thames Path finishes at the Thames Barrier in London, near Woolwich. The Barrier is a flood defence system that was completed in 1982 and has been operational ever since. Its purpose is to protect London from rising tides and surges from the North Sea and a potentially devastating flood. It is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world and is made up of 10 steel gates which stand as high as a 5 story building when raised. There is a small exhibition in the information centre of the barrier for those who would like to learn more about this engineering marvel.
Thames Path FAQs
Q. When is the best time of year to walk the Thames Path?
A. The Thames path can be enjoyed any time between the end of April and the beginning of October. Any time before April may be affected by early spring flooding which can disrupt some trails. From the start of May until mid-end June, the countryside, especially around the Cotswolds is covered in wildflowers. Spring also tends to be quieter, as well as Autumn (September/beginning October). The popular tourist months of July and August be busy on the trails, but on the other hand, the towns can be vibrant and atmospheric.
Q. What is 'Cream Tea' and where can I get it?
A. 'Cream Tea' is a light afternoon meal consisting of a pot of lovingly brewed tea accompanied by freshly backed scones, Cornish clotted cream and jam. The concept originates from Cornwall but is now popular in many parts of England, particularly in the Cotswolds which is covered by our West and Complete Thames Paths itineraries. How far back cream teas date is open to debate, however their popularity is linked to the tourism boom of the Victorian period, when newly built railway infrastructure opened up holiday destinations like Devon, Cornwall and the Cotswolds to those lucky enough to afford such luxuries. Many cafés and pubs along the Thames Path will be serving Cream Tea, particularly on the sections in the countryside. Some places may require advance booking, so it is worth looking into in advance if you want to experience some of the best Cream Teas the area has to offer. Otherwise, just walk up and try your luck! The big question is, which do you put on first, the clotted cream or jam??
Q. Will I need a map and compass?
A. The Thames Path is a national trail and therefore relatively well signposted. In addition to this, we provide you with high-quality digital mapping and GPS tracks to help you find your way. You may wish to bring your own supplementary map if you are so inclined, but it is definitely not required. This trip is low-level with easy-going flat terrain and signposting, so a compass is not required.