Being one of the most well-known rivers in the UK, the Thames Path is a spectacular choice for any walking holiday! The banks are bustling with people and the water itself busy with boats and kayaks. There is quite a buzz in and around the Thames and which has shaped the 184 miles stretch as we know it today. Having never walked the south shores, I took on this excellent opportunity to experience and learn more about the Thames and this National Trail. Not only to see the Thames River itself but to explore some of the histories and get a real feel for the area. This is the great thing about our self-guided walking trips in that you can take the walk at your own pace and make your own self-discoveries! I certainly did on the Thames Path and was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered on my self-guided walk from Henley-on-Thames to Windsor. I would highly recommend walking this beautiful part of the trail and please find some of my personal highlights and discoveries on the way:
English tea has a huge presence in the south of England and I passed many cafes and eating establishments on my walk with signs for English tea or cream tea! The Thames area is definitely one of the best places to sample some traditional English tea with clotted cream scones, and some of the best I have sampled. Not only that, but each of my lovely accommodations offered tea on my arrival with facilities in my room also! You cannot travel to the Thames without sampling some of the exquisite tea selections!
Beginning my walk from Henley-on-Thames, I got to learn a lot about the lovely market town of Henley and the famous regatta. The regatta itself dates back to 1839 and takes place on the first weekend of every July! It has grown over the years into a prestigious event and which attracts visitors from all over the world. The event itself usually lasts over 5 days and showcases some of the country’s most exciting boat and rowing boat races. Although I didn’t walk around the time of the regatta, I did walk in July and there were still some remnants of the festival in the area. This was inspiring and I was delighted to still find the festival tents and the seats for spectators!
There seemed to be a great theme for Anchors on the Thames Path and during July I was in awe of the hustle and bustle on the water with the constant flow of boats! Along the path, I also found many anchored boathouses on the way and it was so nice to see as this is something that we don’t have in Glasgow! When I arrived in each town/village after the end of my day’s walk there were also a number of pubs and restaurants using the themed name of Anchor and I had a great meal at the Anchor Pub and Restaurant in Henley-on-Thames.
I was very taken by the lovely market town of Marlow and it’s beautiful 19th Century bridge with the historic All Saints Church in the backdrop – what a beautiful place! I was also interested to learn about the local history of writers and where Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein. I additionally came across a very old church building on the path – the All Saints Church – which has a real historic look. Marlow itself offers a lot in terms of local dining options and bars and there was a great lively atmosphere in the town. A real delight and highlight to the end of a day’s walk!
Growing up as a child, I was always engrossed in Enid Blyton’s stories and I was pleased to learn that I would pass by the village where she grew up! As you walk out from Marlow, you pass the village of Bourne End which is fairly large in size. The marina/harbour area was very impressive with many boats on display and quaint houses overlooking the bay. As you walk out from Bourne End, the scenery became more quintessential England with the traditional country landscapes. I can now understand why this area was so inspiring for writers!
One of the best parts of the Thames Path has to be arriving into Windsor! This was my first time visit and I was so pleased to finally set foot in this iconic town. After a lovely walk from Marlow to Windsor, I took the time to explore the centre and castle. There is a real charm to Windsor and I loved the contrast of the new and old parts of the town. The most impressive part for me was visiting Windsor Castle and the St George’s Chapel as both are so historic and dating back to 11th and 12th centuries!