Route GuidesRoutes City GuidesCities Map My
  of  
1

Putney to Staines

Getting out of London by bike is rarely easy, but this route manages it with aplomb – by the simple tactic of staying next to the river. You’ll see all the best of the Thames: lithe rowers, glorious houseboats, grand mansions, and the locks, weirs and bridges that keep the river in order. It’s an enormously enjoyable route, and a great afternoon ride in its own right.

But just one mile upstream of Putney Bridge, you’ll find yourself heading away from the river and towards Barnes. What gives? Well, although you can follow the Thames to Teddington if you like, the signposted route takes you through Richmond Park – one of London’s cycling meccas. The broad tarmac paths across this green expanse are a joy to cycle. But don’t get carried away: this is one of few places in Britain with a formal cycle speed limit, 20mph.

The route rejoins the Thames at Teddington Lock, the tidal limit of the river, a scene of great boating interest, and the location for Monty Python’s Fish Slapping Dance. From here, it follows the river for more or less the next 16 miles, flitting from one bank to the other. The magnificent Hampton Court Palace is the first landmark, and you cycle right past on the historic Barge Walk.

The path has a firm surface throughout, though it’s unsurprisingly busy with pedestrians, so don’t expect to make fast progress. At times the path is shielded from the river by trees, colonised by parakeets – yes, really. Thousands of the bright green birds have settled along the river, particularly between Kingston and Walton. The Weir pub, by Sunbury Lock, is popular with cyclists.

The route crosses onto the north bank at Weybridge. You can follow a shared-use pavement route if you like, but it’s much more enjoyable to cross on the little Shepperton Ferry, which operates until 5.30pm every day and welcomes cyclists. It runs every quarter-hour, costs just £3, and you summon it with a bell. From here, a short road section takes you back to the river for the run into Staines.

Bike shops

Acton

Addlestone

Ashford

Battersea

Brentford

Chelsea

Chertsey

Chiswick

Earlsfield

East Sheen

Feltham

Fulham

Hampton

Hampton Hill

Hanworth

Isleworth

Kensington

Kingston

Kingston upon Thames

London

Mortlake

New Malden

Notting Hill

Putney

Shop, HirePutney Cycles

Raynes Park

Richmond

Richmond upon Thames

Shephards Bush

Shepherds Bush

Shepperton

Slough

Shop, HireStows Cycles

Southfields

Staines

Surbiton

Teddington

Twickenham

Walton on Thames

Walton-on-Thames

Wandsworth

West Molesey

Weybridge

Whitton

Wimbledon

Windsor

Shop700.0

Campsites

Chertsey

Hersham

Laleham

Old Winsor

Walton on Thames

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
Campsite app · Help archies

Hotels

South Kensington

from £12Acacia Hostel

Acton

Addlestone

Ascot

Battersea

from £227Thames View

Brentford

Chertsey

from £69Crown Hotel

Chertsey

from £59Crown Hotel
from £64Hamilton's
from £2000Hamiltons

Chessington

Chessington, Surrey

Chiswick

Clapham

Claygate

from £92The Foley

Claygate

from £78The Foley

Cobham

from £74Hilton Cobham

Colnbrook

Earl's Court, London

Earls Court

East Molesey

from £110Mitre Hotel

East Molesey Surrey

Egham

Egham

from £132Great Fosters

Englefield Green

from £70The Sun Inn

Esher

Eton

from £230Gilbey's
from £2000The George Inn

Feltham

Feltham, Heathrow

from £28Revive Lodge

Fulham

from £90Barons Court
from £35Chelsea Rooms
from £150Putney East 1

Fulham, London

Greater London England

Hammersmith & Fulham

Hammersmith

from £65Hotel Sergul

Hampton Court

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow

Hillingdon, London

Hounslow

Isleworth

from £2000The Milford Arms
from £2000The Swan Inn

Kensington & Chelsea

Kensington

Kensington And Chelsea

Kew Gardens

from £2000Layton Place

Kew

Kingston upon Thames

from £90Hotel Bosco
from £109Warren House
from £79Camletts

London

from £4023
from £1315 Landor Walk
from £11856 Gooch House
from £17463 Askew Rd
from £12678 Coninham Rd
from £11278 First Av
from £14788 Studios
from £6388 Studios
from £30A To Z Hotel
from £55Abbey Hotel
from £11Acacia Hostel
from £63Adria Hotel
from £65Adria Hotel
from £18Anwar House
from £27Anwar House
from £111Ashburn Hotel
from £159Ashburn Hotel
from £61Aviva Studios
from £2000Balfern BnB
from £210Barons Court
from £35Beaver Hotel
from £175Bentley London
from £240Blakes Hotel
from £240Blakes Hotel
from £28Bloem Rooms
from £59Boka Hotel
from £70Boka Hotel
from £15Bowden Court
from £9Bowden Court
from £80Brewers Inn
from £120Brook Hotel
from £90Brook Hotel
from £150Broughton Road
from £0Bruce House
from £158Cheyne Row
from £72Church Path
from £43Comfotel BLU
from £2000Comfotel Blu
from £36Comfotel GRN
from £2000Comfotel Grn
from £35Comfotel Prpl
from £125Cranley London
from £39Dawson Place
from £89Dog and Fox
from £0Dwyer House
from £0Edge Street
from £35Euro Hotel
from £125Fox and Grapes
from £120Fox and Grapes
from £130Fulham Rooms
from £84Garrick Close
from £45Grantly Hotel
from £209Grenville Place
from £112Greyhound Flats
from £12Halpin House
from £100Hammersmith One
from £195Hand & Flower
from £75Hand & Flower
from £2000Hill Hotel
from £107Holly Lodge
from £446Homestead Road
from £50Hotel 261
from £48Hotel 65
from £42Hotel Balkan
from £47Hotel Lily
from £75Hotel Lily
from £50Hotel Oliver
from £75Hotel Oliver
from £2000Hotel Olympia
from £34Hotel Olympia
from £110Hotel Orlando
from £45Hotel Sergul
from £50Hotel261
from £293Hyde Park
from £0Iverna Court
from £120Kensington One
from £300Kensington W8
from £158King St
from £340King's road II
from £160Lambton Place
from £250London House
from £1200Luxury Apartment
from £135Malt House
from £230Manor Gardens
from £50Manor Hotel
from £213Manson Place
from £156Marzell House
from £174Number Sixteen
from £55Oakley Hotel
from £200Oakley Studio
from £107Omega Building
from £37Oxford Hotel
from £314Park Close 25
from £99Penthouse
from £147PineHurst
from £2000Plaza Hotel
from £45Plaza Hotel
from £99Pointwest 642
from £115Portobello One
from £0Putney
from £263Putney 2 Bed
from £0Queen's Gate
from £37Ravna Gora
from £2000Ravna Gora
from £19Revive Lodge
from £80SO Sienna
from £42Sara Hotel
from £30Sara Hotel
from £18Sara Hotel
from £142St Mark Hotel
from £49St Mark Hotel
from £108St Paul Hotel
from £100St Paul's Hotel
from £41St Simeon
from £2000St Simeon
from £286Sydney Street
from £140Templeton Place
from £0The Bolton
from £150The Glasshouse
from £114The Harrington
from £138The Jade
from £54The Jade
from £152The Laslett
from £161The Laslett
from £112The Lodge Hotel
from £135The Malt House
from £77The Rockwell
from £95The Rockwell
from £22The Swan Inn
from £395The Vale
from £86The Victoria
from £56The W14 Hotel
from £20The Windmill
from £70W12 Rooms
from £52W12 Rooms
from £25W6 Rooms
from £228West Kensington

Ladbroke Grove

from £160Portobello Two

London

Lower Sunbury

from £2000The Flower Pot

Middlesex

Molesey

New Malden

Old Windsor

from £2000The Union Inn

Old Windsor, Berkshire

Putney

Richmond

from £2000Cedar Terrace
from £2000Kew Rooms
from £2000Riverside House

Richmond upon Thames

from £40Quinns Hotel
from £106Orange Tree
from £90Rose of York

Richmond-upon-Thames

from £92The Bingham

Shepherds Bush

Shepperton

from £46Warren Lodge

Slough

from £70Ascots House
from £100Astoria Heights
from £48Skyways Hotel
from £55Skyways Hotel
from £95Stoke Place
from £80The Junction

South Kensington

Southfields

Staines

from £65Albany House
from £0Colne Lodge

Staines upon Thames

Staines, Middlesex

Stanwell (Heathrow)

Stanwell

from £45The Swan Inn

Stoke Poges

from £180Stoke Park

Sunbury Cross, London

Surbiton

from £80Hotel Bosco
from £155Villiers Lodge
from £65Warwick Lodge
from £57Warwick Lodge

Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames

Surrey

Teddington

from £120Lensbury Resort

Thorpe

from £65Angsana House

Tolworth

Twickenham

from £110Garden Flat

Twickenham, London

Virginia Water

Walton upon Thames

from £79No 33

Walton-on-Thames

from £2000The Weir Hotel

West Brompton

Weybridge

Wimbledon

Wimbledon Village

Windsor

from £2000Charles House
from £60Charles House
from £125Garfield Place
from £69Langton House
from £116Langton House
from £107Lawrence Court
from £0Pixie Place
from £99The Courtyard
from £115Wessex Court 1

Woking

from £115The Ellis

Wraysbury

from £95The Pool Barn

Hammersmith London

2

Staines to Reading

That’s it for the Thames, pretty much. You’ll meet the river again before Oxford, but there are few long riverside paths of the sort enjoyed downstream of Staines: it’s definitely the Thames Valley route from here, not the Thames Path. That means occasional hills, true, but also a more varied cycling experience.

Staines is soon dispensed with via some forgettable roadside paths, before the sharp climb up Cooper’s Hill on an unsurfaced lane. There’s a reason for the off-road diversion: this is Runnymede, where Magna Carta was sealed, where memorials commemorate the Commonwealth air forces and John F Kennedy, and where, in 1852, the last duel in England took place.

Enjoyable quiet lanes take you through Windsor Great Park, passing the quaint gatehouses and post office. A gravelled path runs alongside the cavalry exercise ground, leading into the thoroughly touristy town of Windsor. It’s not always tasteful – some rather cruelly characterise it as Skegness-on-Thames. But lift your eyes above the crowds and you’ll see much to admire: the mighty riverside castle, the Georgian frontages, and the fine road and rail bridges.

Still, it’s no offence to say that the best thing about Windsor is the road out. This is a particularly lovely stretch of route, running across meadows to little Boveney and its 12th century church. Eton College’s colossal rowing lake leads to the frightfully well-to-do Bray, location of Heston Blumenthal’s famous Fat Duck restaurant.

The winding route through Maidenhead is less distinguished, but after three miles you’re back out in open countryside. From here, the route gently ambles to the Thameside village of Wargrave along country lanes, cycleways and unsurfaced paths. It has a surprisingly remote, agricultural air for the heart of prosperous Berkshire.

A utilitarian roadside cycleway runs for four miles to the edge of Reading where, finally, we rejoin the Thames. The confluence with the Kennet, underneath the clatter of the railway bridge, is a landmark on the National Cycle Network. Turn left for Bristol, Cardiff and St David’s, or straight on for Birmingham, Chester, Holyhead… and, first of all, Oxford.

Bike shops

Addlestone

Ashford

Caversham

Chertsey

Henley-on-Thames

Maidenhead

Purley on Thames

Reading

ShopScukco

Shepperton

Slough

Shop, HireStows Cycles

Staines

Sunningdale

Walton-on-Thames

Weybridge

Windsor

Shop700.0

Campsites

Chertsey

Dorney Reach

Early

Hawthorn Hill

Hurley on Thames

Laleham

Old Winsor

Water Oakley

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
Campsite app · Help archies

Hotels

Addlestone

Ascot

from £2000Highclere Hotel
from £119Royal Berkshire

Berkshire

Burnham

Caversham

Chertsey

from £69Crown Hotel

Chertsey

from £59Crown Hotel
from £64Hamilton's
from £2000Hamiltons

Cobham

from £74Hilton Cobham

Colnbrook

Cookham

Earley

Egham

Egham

from £132Great Fosters

Englefield Green

from £70The Sun Inn

Eton

from £230Gilbey's
from £2000The George Inn

Heathrow

Henley on Thames

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Henley-on-Thames

from £137Leander Club

Hillingdon, London

Hurley

London

from £22The Swan Inn

Lower Shiplake

from £2000The Baskerville

Maidenhead

from £120ESA Park View
from £115River Arts Club
from £60The New Inn

Maidenhead Berkshire

Maidenhead, Berkshire

Marlow

from £62Bisham Abbey

Marlow-on-Thames

Nr Maidenhead

from £50The Olde Bell

Old Windsor

from £2000The Union Inn

Old Windsor, Berkshire

Reading

from £90Bull Inn
from £219City Tower
from £194Garrard House
from £120Hewitt Suite
from £96Ibex House
from £2000La Baguette
from £150Malthouse Court
from £135Simmonds Street
from £140Skylark House
from £135The French Horn
from £45Wee Waif
from £55Wee Waif

Reading Berkshire

Reading, Berkshire

Rotherfield Greys Henley-on-Thames

Shepperton

from £46Warren Lodge

Slough

from £70Ascots House
from £100Astoria Heights
from £2000Furnival Lodge
from £55Skyways Hotel
from £48Skyways Hotel
from £95Stoke Place
from £80The Junction

Staines

from £65Albany House
from £0Colne Lodge

Staines upon Thames

Staines, Middlesex

Stanwell (Heathrow)

Stanwell

from £45The Swan Inn

Stoke Poges

from £180Stoke Park

Sunbury Cross, London

Surrey

Taplow

from £350Cliveden House

Thorpe

from £65Angsana House

Virginia Water

Walton upon Thames

from £79No 33

Weybridge

Windsor

from £2000Bluebell House
from £60Charles House
from £2000Charles House
from £125Garfield Place
from £116Langton House
from £69Langton House
from £107Lawrence Court
from £49New Oscar
from £89Park Farm
from £85Park Farm
from £115Pavilions
from £0Pixie Place
from £80Sunny Cottage
from £99The Courtyard
from £225Trevelyan Court
from £115Wessex Court 1

Winnersh, Wokingham

from £95Tudor Place

Woking

from £115The Ellis

Wokingham

from £90Tudor Place

Wraysbury

from £95The Pool Barn
3

Reading to Wallingford

Reading’s riverside doesn’t have the big-money allure of Walton or Shepperton, but Caversham Lock and the buzz of boats back and forth provide a pleasant way to get reacquainted with the Thames. Briefly, that is – you won’t see the river for another 14 miles.

From Reading to Wallingford, the route goes over the Chiltern Hills on country lanes. All winding single-track roads with trees encroaching on either side, this is great cycling country. As well as NCN 5 taking a slightly indirect course, there’s a signposted Chiltern Cycleway, plus designated ‘Quiet Lanes’ where cyclists and walkers have priority.

The route climbs from 50m at Reading to 200m near Checkendon, then back down again to the Thames at Wallingford. You’ll work up a thirst on the ascent, but happily, this is an exemplary route for pub-goers: the Reformation at Gallowstree Common, the Cherry Tree at Stoke Row, and the Black Tree at Checkendon, run by the same family for 110 years. Just off the route is the secluded King William IV at Ipsden – reason enough to limit your mileage this day!

Bike shops

Caversham

Henley-on-Thames

Purley on Thames

Reading

ShopScukco

Wallingford

Campsites

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
Campsite app · Help archies

Hotels

Abingdon

from £2000The Red Barn

Benson

from £68The Crown Inn

Caversham

Clifton Hampden, Abingdon

Dorchester on Thames

Dorchester

Dorchester-on-Thames

Earley

Ewelme

Henley on Thames

Henley-on-Thames

from £2000The White Hart
from £137Leander Club

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Ipsden

from £0The Old Barn

Lower Shiplake

from £2000The Baskerville

Oxford

Oxfordshire

Reading

from £90Bull Inn
from £219City Tower
from £194Garrard House
from £120Hewitt Suite
from £96Ibex House
from £2000La Baguette
from £150Malthouse Court
from £135Simmonds Street
from £140Skylark House
from £135The French Horn
from £45Wee Waif
from £55Wee Waif

Reading Berkshire

Reading, Berkshire

Rotherfield Greys Henley-on-Thames

Wallingford

from £135George Hotel
from £60Little Gables

Warborough

from £165Coldicott Hall

Warborough Nr Wallingford

Winnersh, Wokingham

from £95Tudor Place

Wokingham

from £90Tudor Place
4

Wallingford to Oxford

Wallingford is a charming and prosperous Thames town, well-heeled enough to have its own Waitrose, but still supporting independent shops on the High Street along which you’ll ride. The old Great Western branch line to the town is now a preserved steam railway, though if you do need to get to nearby Cholsey station you’ll find it easier to cycle the three miles.

There are precious few quiet lanes in this stretch of the Thames Valley, and the route is chosen to make best use of them – even if that does mean climbing the marvellously named Wittenham Clumps, landmark chalk hills with fine views of the Thames and the abbey town of Dorchester. Poor old Didcot, four miles on, can’t match these scenic heights, but you can shortcut the two-mile route via Didcot Parkway station by crossing the railway footbridge just after the road underpass.

From here to the outskirts of Oxford, the route is a clever patchwork of cycleways, unpaved paths and residential roads. The surface is passable on a road bike, but more comfortable on a hybrid or similar. The first bumpy path delivers you past Didcot power station, where just three of the six cooling towers are left standing following detonation in 2014.

Abingdon is a likeable market town, formerly the capital of Berkshire until this part of the county was annexed by Oxfordshire. You’ll pass the Thames on a bridge marked ‘Wilts & Berks Canal’, remembering the old canal that once ran to Swindon and on towards Bath. The town centre is a little traffic-clogged, but Abbey Close and the riverside park are the ideal place for a coffee and cake stop.

A winding path through a riverside nature reserve leads you out of the town. At Kennington, three miles on, a volunteer-constructed path by the mainline railway brings you to the edge of Oxford safe from the over-busy roads above.

There are two routes into Oxford. The official route follows tidy residential streets through the south of the city, but if you’re not in a hurry, follow the riverside path for the best views of the dreaming spires. The Iffley Farmhouse, by Iffley Lock, is a splendidly dishevelled pub from which to watch river life. After Folly Bridge (the old one with the island), cross on the narrow footbridge to rejoin the main route which takes you into the city centre.

Oxford is one of Britain’s cycling cities, with cyclists everywhere, plentiful bike parking, cycle cafés, and bike lanes of admittedly variable quality. Our detailed guide has more info on the best routes through town.

Hotels

Abingdon

from £2000Abbey Guest House
from £70Kingfisher Barn
from £35Milton Hill
from £2000The Red Barn

Benson

from £68The Crown Inn

Boars Hill

from £0Redesdale

Carlyon Bay

Clifton Hampden, Abingdon

Culham

from £60Railway Inn

Culham, Abingdon

Didcot

Dorchester on Thames

Dorchester

Dorchester-on-Thames

Ewelme

Ipsden

from £0The Old Barn

Near Abingdon

from £120Kingswell Hotel

Oxford

from £64Abodes B&B
from £150Beech Lodge
from £70Browns
from £2000Browns
from £250Castle Mews
from £2000Cotswold House
from £67Diana's B&B
from £94Ethos Hotel
from £98Ethos Hotel
from £2000Five Mile Oxford
from £130Harcourt Place
from £112Henry's
from £2000Hill Farm
from £175Jericho Street
from £109Newton House
from £70Noa Residence
from £84Parklands
from £79Parklands
from £2000The Cherry Tree
from £82The Galaxie
from £169The Old Bank
from £70The Terrace
from £2000Tower House
from £63Tree Hotel
from £0Victor House
from £16YHA Oxford
from £18YHA Oxford

Oxford, Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire

Steventon, Abingdon

Upton Didcot

from £0The Bothy

Wallingford

from £135George Hotel
from £60Little Gables

Warborough

from £165Coldicott Hall

Warborough Nr Wallingford