Good transport links along this route give you the option to spend your overnight stay(s) in one location travelling out by public transport and walking back or vice versa.
Day 1 - Henley-on-Thames to Marlow
This short section starts and ends in charming riverside towns, it’s a relatively short section so you should have enough time to explore them both.
Leaving Henley you follow the length of the regatta course along a very straight stretch of the river to Temple Island, the starting point for the races. The small temple is in fact a fishing lodge built as a landscape feature to enhance the view from nearby Fawley Court.
The views across the river near Hambleden Lock are picturesque. Hambleden Mill, a big white weather boarded mill, only ceased working as a mill driven by a water turbine in 1955. Hurley, a few miles further downstream, is just a small village but has a tremendous history and many fine buildings to see.
Your approach to Marlow starts with a lovely view of Bisham Church on the opposite bank; on a still, bright day its pale tower is beautifully reflected in the waters of the River Thames. A little further on you enter Marlow’s Higginson Park just before the fine bridge. The people of Marlow really enjoy their river, and unless the weather is poor, the park will be full of people promenading, picnicking, feeding the ducks, or just sitting and enjoying the view.
8.7 miles / 14 Km
Day 2 - Marlow to Windsor
Marlow is arguably set in the most beautiful stretch of the Thames Valley with the wooded slopes of Winter Hill rising on the opposite bank as you leave the town. Beyond Maidenhead the river becomes busier and in places there are views of grand homes finishing with the grandest of them all, Windsor Castle, towering above the water.
From Bourne End your route to Cookham goes through Cock Marsh, now managed by the National Trust but grazed as common land since 1272. Cookham is famous as the home of artist Stanley Spencer who lived here for 49 years and where the chapel is now a memorial gallery to his work.
Between Cookham and Boulter’s Lock the beech woods rise steeply on the opposite bank. This is the Cliveden Estate, which can be magnificent in November when the autumn colours are at their best, and notorious for the 1960s Profumo scandal. The National Trust now manages the gardens and woodland and the house is an exclusive hotel.
Your walk ends in Windsor, a town famous for its royal connections. Enjoy this lively town in a glorious riverside location with great shopping, restaurants and Windsor Castle – one of the Queen’s official royal residences and the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world.
14.3 miles/23 Km
There’s a wide choice of accommodation along this popular section of the Thames Path.
Rail and Bus
Henley-on-Thames, Marlow and Windsor all have rail stations with good links to London stations.
For train timetables and journey planning visit the National Rail website or for bus and rail use the Traveline website.
The closest airports for this trip are the London airports.
From the airports there are good public transport links into central London where you can catch a train to Henley, Marlow or Windsor.
This route offers gentle walking with no major hills to climb. The walk can be done all year, although winter and early spring are best avoided due to the risk of the path being flooded after winter storms.
Food & Drink
You’ll be spoiled for choice with so much great local food and drink on offer. You will pass through many small villages and ancient towns with good pubs and cafes and many small bistros and sandwich shops.
Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.