The lower Thames from Henley to central London and Greenwich embraces many landscapes from rural meadows with kissing gates to royal palaces and castles, from tiny hamlets to the historic towns and cities of Windsor and London and from backwaters and weirs to old dockyards. With our knowledge of the Thames we have created an itinerary designed to give you time to enjoy all the delights this great river has to offer.

Threading its course through history and royalty, the Thames provides such a great way to discover the sights, sounds and smells of quintessential England . Take in Windsor Castle and the palaces at Hampton Court and Kew, the unsung but very English details that line the river banks, the charming towns of Henley and Marlow and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Walk through the heart of London and sleepy rural villages, enjoy the wildlife and discover an England most tourists rarely see but we can unlock for you.



Holiday details

Price

Classic

from £1,350 per person

Luxury

from £2,215 per person

Based on two people sharing a room

What’s included?

There are no extras, however you’ll love what’s included as standard

Duration

7 nights or 13 if combined with our Thames Path source to Henley trip

Start & Finish

Starts Mondays from Henley. Finishes London. Henley is 1 hour from London by train

Hotels

Classic

Centrally located hand picked hotels and inns with one b&b

Luxury

A 5 star central London hotel, four 4 star hotels and two 3 star hotels all in the heart of each location

Holiday type

Self-guided

This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own.  If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide

Activity level

Not so gentle walking. More info...

Mileage

5 days of walking 7 - 14 miles (11 - 22 km) per day with 2 days of optional walking

Terrain

More or less flat

Options

  • Additional nights in Windsor or London
  • Follow the entire river to London by adding our Walk the Lower Thames trip. 13 nights in total, costing:
  • £1,695 per person for the classic trip
  • £2,390 per person for the luxury trip




Itinerary day-by-day


Classic

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive Henley

    Arrive in Henley on Monday and check into your hotel located in the heart of the town. Enjoy a stroll around this elegant town, take in its River & Rowing museum, boats, and waterside cafes. Your host will meet you in the evening to run through the tour itinerary and to give you some local tips.

  2. 2. Day two

    Henley to Marlow

    The shortish walk today allows you time to explore both Henley and your destination town of Marlow. Both are bursting with character and history. The Thames Path takes you beside the course of the Henley rowing regatta, past the old mill and weir at Hambledon to the charms of Hurley village. With great views of the Chiltern hills and plenty of wildlife to enjoy, your hotel in Marlow adjacent to the old suspension bridge and weir will all too soon come into view.

    8 miles (13 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Marlow to Windsor

    What a day! Willow trees are dotted about meadows with boat houses, mini islands rise out of the water and grand houses loom into view. Discover the quirky village of Cookham and marvel at the majestic Windsor Castle in the distance. Visit the gallery in Cookham which celebrates Stanley Spencer's life; relive Edwardian history at Boulter's Lock at Maidenhead; delight at the stunning views at Cliveden House with its (in)famous political past. Approaching Windsor from the meadows of Eton, you cross the river here and stay overnight in the heart of this royal town.

    14 miles (23 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Windsor to Staines

    Today's shorter walk has been designed to give you a full morning in which to enjoy Windsor. Still inhabited by the Queen, Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. You also are lucky enough to walk through the royal estate following the Thames river path. And not far beyond lies Runnymede and its old meadows. This is where the historic charter was signed by King John. Your hotel, a mile beyond, is a 16th Century Inn that lies adjacent to the river.

    9 miles (14 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    Staines to Hampton Court

    Still very rural, the Thames runs through meadows with kissing gates, past holiday cottages and cosy inns and down a river abundant with wildlife. You will cross the river on the only ferry crossing of the tour and continue on to Hampton Court where you will stay adjacent to the vast palace attributed to Henry VIII.

    11 miles (20 km)

  6. 6. Day six

    Hampton Court to Richmond

    At Hampton Court Palace there is 500 years of stunning royal history for you to discover from the Tudor kitchens to the maze, and the astronomical clock to the state apartments of William III. The itinerary offers you time to enjoy the palace and have a gentle stroll along the historic stretch of the river to Richmond where royalty built their houses and gardens over the centuries. Stay in this charming riverside village with a green overnight at our hand-picked boutique hotel.

    7 miles (12 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Richmond to Central London

    Just 3 miles downstream from Richmond lie the world renowned Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and wonderful Kew Palace. Continue along the Thames Path to encounter ancient wharves, historic pubs, and renowned bridges. This really is hidden gem walking, with a new surprise around every corner and views of London most tourists rarely see. You have an enviable choice of how to spend the day, for you can walk all the way, or take the river boat from Richmond all the way or walk to Kew and take the afternoon boat into London. You will spend the night at a hotel in the heart of London, a short walk from the river path and from the boat pier at Westminster.

    Up to 15 miles (24 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Central London to Greenwich and the Thames Barrier and back. Depart

    On the final day of your tour before you depart, you have the choice of a further walk downstream to Greenwich if you wish. En route you will get up close with Tower Bridge, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the former warehouses and dockyards of east London now converted into flats, marinas and the new banking zone of Canary Wharf. Once you reach Greenwich, take your time to absorb its maritime history and make the most of a photo opportunity astride the meridian line! And now is your chance to reward yourself with a final boat hop back to central London, taking in the Thames Barrier if you wish. And your adventure draws to an end!

    Optional 11 miles (17 km)

Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive Henley

    Your trip begins in Henley. Arrive on Monday and make your way to your hotel here, the Hotel du Vin, situated right in the middle of town. Wander around this quintessentially English town with its museum, waterside cafes, weirs and boats galore. Your Carter Company host will meet you at your hotel in the evening, take you through the itinerary, answer any questions you may have and offer some insider tips on our favourite things to see and do in the area!

  2. 2. Day two

    Henley to Marlow

    Today comprises of a relatively short walk, which leaves you plenty of time to explore Henley, as well as Marlow, where you will stay overnight. Both towns are just packed full of history and have bucketloads of charm. Follow the Thames Path and trace the course of the Henley rowing regatta, past several islands and the ancient mill and weir at Hambledon and into the little village of Hurley. Your hotel in Marlow is The Compleat Angler, which affords some great views of the Chiltern Hills. If you're lucky, you'll spot red kites circling in the skies here. The area is teeming with stunning flora and fauna.

    8 miles (13 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Marlow to Windsor

    This day is a Carter Company team favourite! From willow-lined meadows with boat houses and endless islands to grand houses, the joys of Cookham village and the intriging backdrop of the royal castle at Windsor, your route is packed with interest. Cookham has an art gallery with a focus on Stanley Spencer; Boulter's Lock at Maidenhead is a reminder of Edwardian pastimes on the river and there are stunning views at Cliveden of the Thames and its grand past. Take our special route through the meadows of Eton to reach Windsor, where you cross the river and find your hotel, The MacDonald Windsor.

    14 miles (23 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    Windsor to Runnymede

    Today features a gentle walk, giving you the whole morning to take in Windsor. This is where the Queen still spends half the week and it is her residence of preference over Buckingham Palace. This makes Windsor Castle the biggest and oldest occupied castle in the world. You can also stroll through the royal estate following the Thames downstream. You'll soon reach the historic meadows of Runnymede, where the 13th Century charter was signed by King John. The Runnymede Hotel is your accommodation for the night.

    8 miles (14 km)

  5. 5. Day five

    Runnymede to Hampton Court

    Your route today continues along the Thames path. This is a really lovely rural section which winds through meadows with kissing gates, past pretty cottages and cosy pubs, and descends locks and weirs abundant with wildlife. Today features the only ferry crossing of the trip. Disembark and continue on to Hampton Court, historic home of Henry VIII. Tonight you stay at The Carlton Mitre.

    12 miles (19km)

  6. 6. Day six

    Hampton Court to Richmond

    The itinerary affords you plenty of time to explore Hampton Court Palace today. This incredible building boasts 500 years of royal history. Check out the Tudor kitchens, get lost in the maze (it's a lot of fun!), marvel at the astronomical clock, wander through the state apartments of William III. When you've had your fill of history, continue your journey along the historic stretch of the river to Richmond. There are numerous royal houses and gardens here to take in. Your hotel for the night is The Petersham.

    7 miles (12 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Richmond to Central London

    The incredible, not-to-be-missed Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and Kew Palace lie just 3 miles downstream from Richmond. And beyond, the fascinating tidal riverscape is dotted with old wharves, historic pubs, and numerous famous bridges for you to walk under. There are surprises and intrigues around almost every turn of the river, and some stunning views of London that most tourists never lay their eyes on. Choose how you want to do the day - you can walk the entire way, take a boat the entire way way, or walk to Kew and hop on the afternoon boat into London. Whatever your choice, you will spend the night adjacent to the river path near the London Eye at The Royal Horseguards hotel. This is just across the Thames from Westminster - quintessential London awaits!

    Up to 15 miles (24 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Central London to Greenwich and the Thames Barrier and back. Depart

    This is the last day of your trip, but before you depart you can take one last stroll downstream to Greenwich - if you wish! This is a truly fascinating route taking in Tower Bridge, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and East London's former warehouses and dockyards, which have been developed into trendy appartments, and the new financial district of Canary Wharf. Arriving in Greenwich, there is much to explore with the meridian line and its naval tradition. Once you've had your fill, hop on a boat and float back into central London taking in the Thames Barrier if you wish. What an adventure!

    Optional 11 miles (17 km)