Tour Notes: Start & finish: Starts Saturdays from Oxford. Finishes Henley (5 night tour) or Windsor (8 night tour). Starts Saturdays from Windsor. Finishes London (5 night tour)
Accommodation: All accommodation is land based. 5 star hotels in Oxford and London, three 3 star hotels and the rest 4 star hotels. River boat tour with optional walking mileage: 4,6 or 7 days of optional walking.1 - 8 miles (8 - 13 km) per day are included in the tour.
Boats: 4 river boat cruises of 1 - 4 hours per day (5 night tour); 6 river boat cruises of 1. - 4 hours per day.(8 night tour). You will join scheduled day trips operated by long established passenger boat companies. Walking terrain: Essentially flat but with some gentle hills.
Day 1: Arrive Oxford, optional guided walk of Oxford.Arrive in Oxford on Saturday and check into your hotel located in the heart of the city. Enjoy a guided walk in the afternoon through the treasures of this historic gem taking in some of the lovely colleges of the University with their magnificent architecture, the museums, galleries and famous libraries. Discover too fine restaurants, unique shops and river backwaters dotted with punts and rowing eights. Click on the image to view your hotel.
Day 2: Oxford to Abingdon, optional 5 miles (8 km), boat ride 2 hours
Your boat ride to Abingdon, leaves after lunch so have a final stroll around Oxford or take our walk and discover how rural Oxford slides right into the heart of the city. The Thames Path and the canal offer wide meadows, big skies with views of those famous spires and abundant wildlife. No surprises that this particular landscape inspired the writing of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Back to earth, you board your boat from the city center and float downstream in time for tea in Abingdon. Stay overnight here on an island adjacent to where you landed. Your luggage will be awaiting you!
Day 3: Abingdon to Wallingford, optional 7 miles (11 km), boat ride 3 hours. Unravel the history of ancient Abingdon this morning and watch the world go by. Those who like "doing" can take our circular walk along the Thames Path to pretty Sutton Courtenay with backwaters, islands and gentle hills enroute back. Enjoy a riverside lunch in Abingdon and hop aboard afterwards for the picturesque cruise. The Thames on this stretch is unassuming with a serene charm, beautiful bridges and a few remote locks. Arrive in Wallingford late afternoon with time to enjoy this characterful town.
Day 4: Wallingford to Sonning, optional 3 or 9 miles (5 or 14 km), boat ride 3 hours
Don't miss the boat - it leaves after breakfast! Today's ride is all drama as the river cuts through the stunning woods of the Chiltern Hills. Disembark in time for lunch when you can ponder your next step. For those who want nothing to do with walking we will transfer you to the Tudor village of Sonning - perhaps the prettiest of all Thames villages. You can also arrive here by taking a short walk along the Thames Path and if you're still feeling energetic you can carry on with a walk into the hills. Whatever the choice, your overnight stay sits on the river bank in Sonning.
Day 5: Sonning to Henley, optional 5 miles (8 km), boat ride 1 hour. Take time to explore Sonning before today's short but beautiful boat ride drops you in Henley for lunch. Famed for its annual rowing regatta, this elegant town offers much for you to discover. The river too boasts some wonderful sites with pretty weirs, an old mill and magical islands. Explore these on foot if you wish today or tomorrow. Your overnight stay is in the heart of Henley.
Day 6: Henley to Marlow, boat ride 2 hours. A very relaxing day! Soak up the atmosphere of Henley and enjoy to pay a visit to The River and Rowing Museum. Your boat departs at tea time and takes you through some of the river's most magical settings enroute to affluent Marlow - a wow of a town. Dock beside the weir and suspension bridge and find your hotel close by.
Day 7: Marlow to Windsor, optional 3 miles (5 km), boat ride 4 hours. On this morning's boat trip you float through an idyllic stretch of the Thames also famed for political scandal, royalty, literary and artistic connections. As Windsor Castle comes into view it's lunch time with an array of riverside locations to choose from. There's lots to explore here including Eton over the bridge and a relaxed walk taking in all these sites if you wish. Stay for two nights in the heart of this historic royal town.
Day 8: Enjoy Windsor, optional 5 miles (8 km) or Day 1 arrive Windsor (5 night tour). Saturday: enjoy Windsor today whether this is your first or last day here.and take time to visit the castle where the Queen still lives.You should catch the changing of the guard or you might want to take a tour of Eton College but you should if you possibly can head into wonderful Windsor Great Park. Our route gives fabulous views of London and a stroll up the soaring Long Walk back to the castle. In the evening you might treat yourself to a performance at Windsor's theatre .
Day 9: Depart (8 night tour) or Day 2 Windsor to Runnymede (5 night tour), optional 1 mile (1.5 km), boat ride 1 hour. For those continuing to London there's time for a little more exploration in Windsor before heading off downstream to Runnymede. Here you can enjoy tea and walk through the meadows where King John famously signed the Magna Carta. Your next hotel lies a mile downstream along the Thames Path through the meadows. None walkers will be transferred there by car.
Day 3: Runnymede to Hampton Court, optional 5 miles (8 km), boat ride 4 hours. Still staggeringly rural, the river ride this morning passes through timeless English riverscape and drops you at the front door of regal Hampton Court Palace. Here 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. Our walk takes you through the hunting grounds of Henry VIII and the palace's extensive grounds. Your overnight stay is adjacent to the palace.
Day 4: Hampton Court to Richmond, optional 5 miles (8 km), boat ride 1.5 hours. It's your choice when you move on today, but you won't be short of things to see as this 'Arcadian' stretch of the Thames plays host to a wealth of royal and historic treasures. Richmond is brim full of character and our walk leads you by the river to Ham House and into expansive Richmond Park. Your hotel overlooks the river.
Day 5 Richmond to London, optional 3 miles (5 km), boat ride 3 hours. A short stoll along the Thames from Richmond lie the world famous Botanic Gardens at Kew - an absolute must for those interested in things horticultural. You can board your final boat to London from here or Richmond and float serenely into the very heart of London. Wow - what a way to arrive in the capital! Disembark by The Houses of Parliament and across the river from The London Eye where you will stay the night.
Day 6: Enjoy London and depart, optional 8 miles (13 km). We have an eye watering final walk for you through the capital taking in Tower Bridge and many of the famous landmarks along the river. The Thames after all is London's history and the liquid history of England which you have now so fully imbibed.
Price: £1050 per person:5 nights from Oxford / £1250 per person 5 nights from Windsor / £1495 per person 7 nights from Oxford based on two people sharing a room.
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