Thames Path Guided Trail

Bourton - Oxford.jpg
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Guided Trails
Walking Grade: 2
from £999pp £979pp

The Thames Path National Trail follows the course of the River Thames from the Thames Barrier below London to its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire, a distance of some 180 miles. Our holiday covers the stretch from Oxford with its dreaming spires to its source in the Cotswolds. There is rich historical interest and peaceful riverside paths, teaming with birds and wildlife interspersed with pretty honey coloured Cotswold villages on the way.

Holiday Highlights

  • Walk the beautiful upper reaches of the River Thames
  • From Oxford’s dreaming spires to Cotswold villages
  • Stay at Harrington House in Bourton-on-the-Water

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • The services of an HF Holidays' walks leader
  • All transport on walking days

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

54 miles with 10-13 miles and up to 390 feet of ascent in a day.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


We quickly lose sight of the dreaming spires and suburbs of Oxford and enter lush water meadows. We will see Port Meadow, ancient common grazing land presented to the Burgesses of Oxford by William the Conqueror and the remains of the Benedictine nunnery at Godstow; founded in 1139. We continue to Swinford Bridge, one of the two remaining toll bridges across the Thames. At Pinkhill Lock the path leaves the river and crosses fields to reach Bablock Hythe.

12 miles (19km) with 250 feet (75m) of ascent.


We follow the river to the remote lock at Northmoor. We look at one of the weirs which retain the paddle construction of earlier times and continue to Newbridge, the second oldest of the Thames bridges. A remote meandering section of our walk follows with few signs of habitation. We see an isolated chapel in fields at Shifford, once an important town where a thousand years ago King Alfred held a meeting of the English Parliament. We follow Shifford Lock Cut, before rejoining the river to Tadpole Bridge, which was built to carry the turnpike road to Bampton.

9½ miles (16km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent.


A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently.


We follow a towpath all the way to Lechlade. At Rushey Lock we shall see another paddleweir and, over a side channel at Radcot, the oldest bridge on the Thames. We pass close to Kelmscott Manor; a house lived in by William Morris and his family for 25 years, before coming to Buscot Lock, where the National Trust has restored the lock-keeper’s cottage. After St John’s Lock, we continue to Lechlade.

10½ miles (17km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent.


Leaving Lechlade at Halfpenny Bridge, we follow the towpath to Inglesham Round House, the point where the Thames and Severn Canal once joined the river, and cross fields to visit the 13th century church at Inglesham. Inspired by William Morris, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings carefully restored the church in the 1880s. There is a section of minor road walking. We rejoin the river for the final section into Cricklade.

11 miles (17.5km) with 230 feet (70m) of ascent.


We cross the River Churn and enter the North Meadow Nature Reserve. After passing the Latton Aqueduct, a relic of the North Wiltshire Canal, we follow paths through the Cotswold Water Park, created by the flooding of old gravel pits. Frequent glimpses of the Thames headwaters lead us on to Ashton Keynes where the path will bring us to the last bridge where water can sometimes be seen. Near Upper Mill Farm, once a water mill, a windpump marks a spot where water used to rise vigorously but thereafter it is only just possible to discern the line of the river. We continue across open fields to reach the simple marble slab in Trewsbury Mead that marks the official source of the river and the end of our journey.

12½ miles (20.5km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Harrington House

In one of the prettiest spots in the Cotswolds, Harrington House provides a stylish escape in the form of a traditional country retreat, with the trimmings and flourishes you’d expect. All set in a stately Georgian house that mirrors the mellow architectural styles of the Cotswolds and retains many of its original features; the most breathtaking is the sunny walled garden, surrounded by attractive landscaped gardens. As well as 29 bedrooms, two lounges, a cosy bar and pleasant dining room, there are further feathers in this handsome house’s hat. Quintessential English countryside, described by JB Priestly as, ‘the most English and least spoiled of all our countryside’, is just a short stroll away with pretty villages such as Chipping Campden and the Slaughters, rolling landscapes and classic trails from the Cotswold Way to the Gloucestershire Way and Monarch Way waiting for you to discover them.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s beautifully presented rooms or in the adjacent cottages. With 26 bright and airy bedrooms, Harrington House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: for a stylish stay opt for rooms 1 or 2, both large master bedrooms located on the first floor that come complete with some of the original Palladian features dating back to 1730, pretty feature wallpaper and views out of the front of the building of classic Cotswolds scenery. Alternatively, for a romantic hideaway, plump for Room 23 in the Windrush Cottage and toast your good taste in the private garden that adjoins this large twin room.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day ambling through the Cotswolds, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the gardens or having a game of croquet on the lawn. Retire to either of the two lounges or climb the sweeping stately staircase to the very top of the house where there’s an observatory looking out across the rooftops of the village. Then pop in to the snug bar for a pint of local ale and a chin wag with fellow guests about their discoveries.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Harrington House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to Cotswold leg of lamb, Bibury rainbow trout and a selection of Gloucestershire cheeses, accompanied with Harrington House homemade chutneys.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10537_0039 - Harrington exterior

Getting to Harrington House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
14 May - 21 May
7 Guided Trail £999 Available Trip Notes Book Now
06 Aug - 13 Aug
7 Guided Trail £999 £979 Save £20 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
08 Oct - 15 Oct
7 Guided Trail £999 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Guided Trails
Walking Grade:
2

7 nights from £999pp £979pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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