Trails of the Riverbank

Old Father Thames from Oxford to Marlow
From the splendour of Oxford to the serenity of the riverbank, this self-guided walking holiday along the Thames Path is pleasingly varied, with high-quality accommodation throughout. As you walk, you will encounter landscapes immortalised on screen and in print – including by Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
Trails of the Riverbank. 6 nights
Trails of the Riverbank. 6 nights

Holiday information


A walking holiday along the Thames Path

Many a great journey has started beneath Oxford’s aspirational spires. This is another, yet instead of taking place inside the prestigious university buildings, it focuses on the beauty of the city and its bucolic surroundings, following the Thames Path through peaceful water meadows and quintessentially English villages to end in the famous foodie town of Marlow.
You first pick up the scenic, long-distance walking trail in Oxford, where, after exploring the golden-hued colleges and grand historic buildings of the centre, you strike out alongside the river to visit bustling Abingdon. This wonderful contrast between vibrant towns, peaceful villages and tranquil riverbank continues throughout the week, including a day that combines a visit to ancient Wallingford with gentle strolling beside the Thames.

Each day brings plenty of opportunities to see the region’s rich and varied wildlife, not least the large number of red kites that can be seen wheeling overhead. The route also offers many opportunities to delve into the area’s rich literary history – from your second base in the twin villages of Streatley and Goring, you can visit the landscapes which inspired The Wind in the Willows – and the accommodation throughout is of a very high standard, from a boutique bolthole in Oxford to the delightful Hotel du Vin in upmarket Henley-on-Thames.
Images courtesy of Alistair Fear/Abingdon Blog (© AF)

Improved itinerary

We are pleased to now be featuring The Swan in Streatley-on-Thames, which is located on the banks of the river and boasts superb views. Rated by the Sunday Times as one of the 80 best British hotels, it’s a great place to stay. It replaces The Miller of Mansfield.



The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.

Several of the routes we suggest begin or end with a short bus journey; pay locally for these, and for any other journeys or visits you undertake.

We have not provided elevation profiles for any of the routes on this holiday because it is largely on the flat.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 7 7 10 13 16 19 22 21 18 15 10 7
    mm 56 40 52 45 55 55 47 59 55 55 54 64
  • Arrival in Oxford
    Night 1: at Vanbrugh House Hotel (the first of two nights here). Alternatively, upgrade to the Old Bank Hotel.
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of routes from Oxford: 5 or 15km (3 or 9.5 miles)
    Before joining the Thames Path for your first riverside walk of the week, take time to discover Oxford on our short city tour. Or for longer to explore this ancient seat of learning, why not add an extra night?

    Oxford city tour: 5km (3 miles), 2hrs
    The great colleges of Oxford University count many Nobel prize-winners and leading politicians among their alumni, and it is here that such iconic literary figures as Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien and Evelyn Waugh studied. Our self-guided city walking tour introduces you to some of the most famous colleges – Magdalen, Christ Church and Trinity – as well as lesser-known highlights like Worcester College and its gardens. See also the Bodleian Library and the much-photographed Radcliffe Camera: the domed Palladian building that is one of the most beautiful sights in the city.

    Oxford to Abingdon: 15km (9.5 miles), 5hrs; ascent/descent 35m
    Leaving central Oxford behind, you pick up the Thames Path and follow the river south. Your route winds along tree-lined riverbanks and across tranquil water meadows, and you pass the aptly named Boathouse Island with its neat row of college boathouses, as well as Iffley Meadows – in full bloom in spring. Your destination is Abingdon, which has a strong claim to be England’s oldest continuously inhabited town. It takes its name from its 7th-century Benedictine abbey, the site of which you may like to visit before returning to Oxford by bus or seasonal boat.
    Oxford city tour
    Abingdon's Benedictine abbey
  • Oxford to Streatley: 14km (9 miles), 5hrs; ascent/descent 60m
    After travelling by bus to Benson Lock, you follow the Thames Path to Wallingford, the historic market town which still maintains its Anglo-Saxon ramparts. Crime novelist Agatha Christie lived here for many years, and the town appears regularly in the long-running TV series, Midsomer Murders. From Wallingford, you continue through meadows and the Cholsey Nature Reserve, passing through the well-heeled village of Moulsford to reach the Beetle and Wedge Boathouse – a restaurant famed for its setting on a stretch of river featured in The Wind in the Willows and Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat. The final, extremely peaceful leg of your walk offers glimpses towards the Chilterns before arriving in the twin cross-river villages of Streatley-on-Thames and Goring. You spend two nights in the former, at The Swan.
    Benson lock, en route to Streatley
  • Choice of routes from Streatley: 5.5-16km (4-10 miles)
    Today, you have two main choices: a short walk from the door into the flower-strewn chalk hills above Streatley for great views of the river and village; or a relatively short walk to Pangbourne, from where we recommend an additional loop that offers you a glimpse of Mapledurham House, often cited as being the inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows. At the end of the day, return to Streatley by train.

    Streatley to Pangbourne: 8km (5 miles), 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 50m
    Starting out through the Goring Gap, this leisurely route explores some gloriously rural scenery, first unspoiled water meadows then quiet rolling woodland, on your way to the old toll bridge in Whitchurch. Across the river in Pangbourne, there are several refreshment options – the village is home to an excellent cheese shop and bakery, and to the delightfully situated riverside Swan pub, one of the inns visited by the Three Men in a Boat.

    Pangbourne loop: 16km (10 miles), 5.5hrs
    This scenic extension follows the river on a wide loop through the National Trust-owned Pangbourne Meadows, offering views not only to Hardwick House, a Tudor-style mansion, but also to Mapledurham House; both claim to be the ‘real’ Toad Hall. Return to Pangbourne on a quiet path away from the river via the village of Purley.

    Into the Chalk Hills: 5.5km (3.5 miles); 2hrs; ascent/descent 150m
    From Streatley, enjoy a walk up onto Lardon Chase, the Holies and Lough Down, three adjacent areas managed by the National Trust overlooking the Goring Gap. Lardon Chase and Holies Down are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and all three now form one of the largest remaining areas of chalk grassland in the county, supporting a wide range of wildflowers and rare and endangered butterflies.
    Pangbourne Meadows
  • Streatley to Henley-on-Thames: 11-17km (7-10.5 miles), 5.5hrs; ascent 30m/descent 45m
    Your next route begins in Reading, reached by a short train ride from Streatley, from where you re-join the riverside path as it meanders to Sonning, regularly voted the prettiest village in the region. Continue north through light woodland to pass through Shiplake and then on to Henley-on-Thames, entering the town via the popular promenade of Mill Meadows. Your two nights in Henley are spent close to the riverside at the Hotel du Vin. 

    It is possible to shorten the route by taking a taxi (pay locally) from Reading station to Sonning to pick up the onward route.
    Today's walk passes through pretty Sonning
  • Henley-on-Thames to Marlow: 14.5km (9 miles), 5hrs; ascent/descent 50m
    Henley is a town defined by the water: it is home to one of the world’s oldest rowing clubs, the Leander Club, and its annual Royal Rowing Regatta is a five-day spectacular, attracting many of the sport’s finest athletes. It is fitting, therefore, that your final route explores this heritage by following the famous Regatta route downstream, to the race start line at Temple Island. From here, you round a sharp bend in the river to reach Hurley Lock, an excellent people-watching spot about which Jerome K Jerome commented, “I often thought I could stay a month without having sufficient time to drink in all the beauty of the scene.” Heading away from the river briefly, you wander through the landscaped deer park of Culham Court to reach the river once more, passing Temple Lock and Bisham Abbey en route to Marlow, one of the loveliest locations on the Thames, and home to two of Tom Kerridge’s Michelin-starred restaurants: The Hand & Flowers and The Coach (advance booking required). When the time comes to return to Henley, make use of the regular local bus service.
    Culham Court


This holiday features high-quality hotels, some converted from wonderfully historic buildings to high modern standards.

We offer an upgrade option in Oxford. Whichever hotel you choose, we recommend an extra night for longer to explore the city.
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 6 nights: 01 March 2023 - 31 October 2023

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 31 Mar 2023 £1040 £725
    1 - 30 Apr 2023 £1105 £745
    1 May - 30 Sep 2023 £1195 £795
    1 - 10 Oct 2023 £1105 £745
    11 - 25 Oct 2023 £1040 £725
    3rd & 4th person discount -£40
    Single traveller supplement £40
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • 6 nights, staying at The Old Bank Hotel: 01 March 2024 - 31 October 2024 & 01 March 2025 - 31 October 2025

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 31 Mar 2024 £1460 £970
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £1580 £1075
    1 May - 31 Jul 2024 £1640 £1135
    1 - 31 Aug 2024 £1605 £1095
    1 - 30 Sep 2024 £1640 £1135
    1 - 25 Oct 2024 £1580 £1075
    1 - 31 Mar 2025 £1520 £1010
    1 - 30 Apr 2025 £1645 £1120
    1 May - 31 Jul 2025 £1710 £1185
    1 - 31 Aug 2025 £1670 £1140
    1 - 30 Sep 2025 £1710 £1185
    1 - 25 Oct 2025 £1645 £1120
    3rd & 4th person discount -£44 to -£46
    Single traveller supplement £44 to £46
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Vanbrugh House Hotel, Oxford
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £14
    The Swan at Streatley, Streatley-on-Thames
    Biggy double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £16
    Biggy with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £32
    Comfy double with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £16
    River suite with balcony and river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £54
    Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2023 £12

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Vanbrugh House Hotel, Oxford (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 30 Mar 2023 £72 £130
    01 Apr - 31 Oct 2023 £88 £164
  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Old Bank Hotel, Oxford
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £59
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £61
    Superior Deluxe': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £77
    Superior Deluxe': 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £80
    The Swan at Streatley, Streatley-on-Thames
    Biggy double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £18
    Biggy double: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £19
    Biggy with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £35
    Biggy with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £36
    Comfy double with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £18
    Comfy double with river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £19
    River suite with balcony and river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £59
    River suite with balcony and river view: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £61
    Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2024 £13
    Deluxe: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2025 £14

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Old Bank Hotel, Oxford (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2024 £235 £415
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2024 £265 £480
    01 May - 31 May 2024 £270 £490
    01 Jun - 31 Jul 2024 £275 £500
    01 Aug - 31 Aug 2024 £260 £470
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2024 £270 £490
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2024 £265 £480
    01 Mar - 31 Mar 2025 £245 £435
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2025 £280 £505
    01 May - 31 May 2025 £285 £515
    01 Jun - 31 Jul 2025 £290 £525
    01 Aug - 31 Aug 2025 £275 £495
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2025 £285 £515
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2025 £280 £505
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - via Henley on Thames

    Outward route
    not recommended in this direction
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest
    departure time
    walk hotel to Henley-on-Thames station (0h10) n/a flexible

    Connecting travel options - via Oxford

    Outward route Price per person Latest
    arrival time
    walk Oxford station to hotel (0h10) n/a flexible
    Homeward route
    not recommended in this direction
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 3 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >



If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from A to B, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel’ section for the options available.

    For practical information about travelling to the UK, see the 'what do I need to know about travelling to England, Scotland and Wales?' question.
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
  • As a minimum, you will need a passport to enter the UK; requirements vary according to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. You’ll need to check requirements on the website of your own country’s government or that of the British government. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
    English is the most widely spoken of several official languages; in Wales, for example, Welsh has equal status. The currency is the British pound (Scotland issues its own bank notes, but Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and vice versa). The UK follows Greenwich Mean Time during autumn and winter, but switches to British Summer Time (GMT + 1) from late March until late October.
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