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Walking the Thames Path (Oxford to Windsor) Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
United Kingdom
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07TO
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

Walk between Oxford and Windsor along the Thames Path. The walking is exhilarating as it follows a mature river, with colourful river boats, great loops, and numerous locks and weirs. Walk through a mixture of landscapes of quiet countryside, beech woodlands, small hamlets full of historic interest. The Thames has been a constant source of inspiration for artists and authors due to its many outstanding features.

Some of the natural, architectural and engineering highlights include the famous Christchurch Meadows, Goring Gap between the Chiltern Hills and Berkshire Downs, the Sandford Lasher (weir at Sandford lock), Hambledon Weir, Henley Bridge and the beautiful suspension bridge at Marlow, and of course ending at the impressive Royal Palace, Windsor Castle.

Spot water voles, herons and kingfisher as well as numerous ducks, coots, geese and swans. Enjoy wild flower meadows and woody copses.

Accommodation is in a range of friendly B&Bs, inns and hotels, some of which are of historical interest from a 16th Century coaching inn to a house originally the residence for Queen Victoria's minor government officials.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in 3, 4 and 5 star hotels
  • Breakfasts daily
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

Trip Highlights

  • Walk the Thames Path from Oxford, city of dreaming spires to Windsor, with it's royal palace
  • Literary connections: Sonning, described in Three Men in a Boat as 'the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river'; Marlow, where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein; Bourne End, home of Enid Blyton
  • Engineering gems: Hambleden Weir, Marlow suspension bridge; Henley bridge
  • Walk through the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Is This Trip for You?

Walking Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
Average daily distance: 20km
No. of days walking: 8
Terrain and route: Walks on this holiday are through a mixture of landscapes including quiet countryside, beech woodlands and small hamlets.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
12

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Oxford
End City:
Windsor

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Oxford

    Arrive in the city of dreaming spires and discover its wealth of historical highlights.
    Stay overnight at The Oxford Coach and Horses or similar

  • Day 2

    Oxford to Abingdon

    Follow the trail through the Iffley Meadows Nature Reserve to the lock at Sandford, which has the greatest fall of water on the Thames with its weir, known as the Sandford Lasher. Continue to reach Abingdon, one of the most important historic towns on the Thames Path with Iron Age origins.
    Stay overnight at The Coseners House or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 15.5 km / 9.75 miles
  • Day 3

    Abingdon to Wallingford

    Walk through the pretty village of Culham and with a short detour, Dorchester, with its thatched cottages, before reaching Wallingford, home to the remains of a medieval castle.
    There are two impressive abbeys to enjoy on this stretch: the remains of Abingdon Abbey at the start of the day and the great abbey church in Dorchester built around 1140.
    Stay overnight at the Town Arms or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 21 km / 13.5 miles
  • Day 4

    Wallingford to Pangbourne

    Walk through hamlets, water meadows and woodlands between the Chiltern Hills to the east and the Berkshire Downs to the west before crossing the toll bridge leading to Pangbourne. It is thought that the water voles here inspired author Kenneth Grahame's character Ratty in his book The Wind in the Willows.
    Stay overnight at The Elephant or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
  • Day 5

    Pangbourne to Henley

    Follow the trail towards Sonning, described by Jerome K Jerome in Three Men in a Boat as 'the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river'; before reaching Henley-on-Thames, known for its annual rowing regatta. The award-winning River and Rowing Museum is on the banks of the river as you enter the town.
    Stay overnight at The Row Barge or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 25 km / 16 miles
  • Day 6

    Henely to Marlow

    Leave Henley and follow the length of the regatta course to Temple Island, the starting point of the race. Continue along the river to Hambleden Lock with its picturesque view of the lock, a series of weirs across which you can walk and Hambleden Mill. Walk through open meadowland to Marlow with its fine suspension bridge.
    Stay overnight at The Macdonald Compleat Angler or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13.5 km / 8.5 miles
  • Day 7

    Marlow to Windsor

    Walk through one of the most beautiful stretches of the Thames Valley with the wooded slopes of Winter Hill rising on the opposite bank as you leave Marlow. Follow peaceful river paths passing some places of historic significance, Bourne End, where Enid Blyton lived and Cookham, home to the artist Stanley Spencer who lived here for 49 years and where the chapel is now a memorial gallery to his work. The grand finale of the walk is spotting Windsor Castle towering above the water.
    Stay overnight at Langton House or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 23 km / 14.5 miles
  • Day 8

    Leave Windsor

    Depart Windsor after breakfast.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

OXFORD COACH AND HORSES, OXFORD 3 Star
Just a 10-minute walk from Oxford City centre, the Oxford Coach & Horses is built on the site of an old coaching inn dating from the 18th Century, said to be the last in Oxford before the road to London. Rooms are modern and comfortable.

THE COSENERS HOUSE, ABINGDON 5 Star
The Cosener’s House is in the grounds of the Abbey in a picturesque Thames-side position. The name comes from the Cuisinier (the official responsible for providing food for the Abbey). The oldest part of the present building is the central portion which dates from the mid-eighteenth century. Rooms are modern and spacious and there is a bar and restaurant available as well as a terrace and large garden. ​

THE TOWN ARMS, WALLINGFORD 4 Star
The Town Arms is located in the historic market town of Wallingford beside the river Thames. There is a bar and restaurant which serve local ales and home-cooked food.

THE ELEPHANT, PANGBOURNE 3 Star
The Elephant Hotel, beside the River Thames, is a boutique hotel with beautiful, hand-crafted Indian furniture, rich rugs and delicate fabrics. A restaurant, The Herd, is available as well as a bar - Babar.

THE ROW BARGE, HENLEY-ON-THAMES 3 Star
The Row Barge is one of Henley's oldest coaching inns, dating to the 16th Century. It is close to the centre of town and offers a beautiful beer garden, great home-cooked food and a warm welcome. ​

MACDONALD COMPLEATE ANGLER, MARLOW 4 Star
The Compleat Angler is a 400 year old country house overlooking Marlow Weir and the River Thames. The elegant rooms have classic décor and are named after fly fishing lures. There are two restaurants and a cocktail bar.

LANGTON HOUSE, WINDSOR 4 Star
Langton House is a Victorian town house set in a quiet leafy tree lined road in the heart of Windsor. Built in around 1890 it was a residence for Queen Victoria’s minor government officials.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £392.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Enjoy the local cuisine in quintessentially British pubs, cafes and delicatessens - local delicacies include Cerney Ash or Stinking Bishop cheeses, Crackleberry Farm eggs, Cotswold Cream liqueur and the local ales - try the Yubby beer from the Yubberton Brewery Co. There's also the archetypal English Cream Teas that go down a treat with a nice hot cup of tea!

Transportation

Access is possible by train to Oxford station and hotels are a short (15 minute) taxi ride from there (payable locally).

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

This trip is possible year round, however due to the English weather, it is recommended to go between April and October. The Cotswolds can get very busy in the main summer tourist season of mid-July through to the end of August.

Weather Information

The Cotswolds has a temperate maritime climate with warm, rather than hot, summers and cool to cold winters. The hottest month, on average, is July and the coldest is January with rain falling fairly evenly throughout the year. The weather is unpredictable as with the rest of the UK and it is possible to see elements of all four seasons in one day. It is advisable for visitors to check the weather forecast before they arrive in the Cotswolds to get a better idea of the sort of clothing they will need during their trip. Bringing hooded waterproof coats and hats will ensure visitors are prepared for any spells of wind and rain the region may experience.
Spring: The climate is milder in spring making it a good time to visit the Cotswolds. There can be some great sunny days mixed with cooler and wet weather. From March to May the average daytime temperatures are between 9°C and 17°C.
Summer: Most days in summer range from mild to warm with the possibility of some infrequent hotter days, the days are at their longest in the summer. There may be overcast and humid conditions in the summer. From June to August the average daytime temperatures are between 19°C and 22°C.
Autumn: The climate can vary from some pleasantly mild days particularly at the start of September to cooler and colder days in October and November. Autumn is a good time to visit the Cotswolds as it avoids the peak summer season whilst enjoying milder temperatures and longer hours of daylight particularly at the start of September. Visitors can see some wonderful autumn colours. From September to November the average daytime temperatures are between 9°C and 19°C.

Joining Instructions

This holiday does not include any flights or rail.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Oxford
Location end:
Windsor

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots
Water bottle
Daypack
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper
Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

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Practical Information

Visa

United Kingdom

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

United Kingdom

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

United Kingdom's Timezone:
Europe/London GMT (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

United Kingdom's Electricity:

220-240V. 50Hz. You will need a 3 pinned type G plug.

Money

ATM Availability

There are ATM's in most of the main towns along the route, but not all. Most businesses in the area will take payments in cash or by card.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All breakfasts are included, so you will need spending money for any picnics, lunches, evening meals and drinks. There is a good choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants on the routes as well as in the overnight towns and villages. Prices range from approximately £5-10 for lunch and you could pay between £15-30 for dinner, depending on where you decide to eat.

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Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.