What can I do on the River Thames?

The 165th Boat Race in April 2019 was another fantastic display of sheer grit and determination as the Oxford and Cambridge crews gave their all in this annual battle on the Thames. The Cambridge men and women were victorious in their respective races and the exhaustion and delight were there in equal measure.

The River Thames is England’s greatest river, flowing from the Jurassic limestone of the Cotswolds to the clay of the London estuary. The Romans not only gave the river its name, they were also the first to develop its potential as a major trade route, thus establishing the foundations of London’s importance.

The Thames became an increasingly important navigational route and in the late eighteenth century canals were built, linking London by water to the Severn and south coast, the Midlands and Bristol, making it the primary artery at the heart of a vital network.

The Thames has so many personalities from a country stream to a powerful waterway; to many London residents it plays a big part in their lives, and they may not be aware of its importance many miles away. Not only does it play host to the most famous rowing regatta in the world in Henley, it also forms the heart of the leisure and tourism industry further downstream in beautiful riverside locations such as Goring and Pangbourne.

HMS Belfast, moored in the heart of London and The Cutty Sark, whose home is in Greenwich are two of the fabulous highlights on the imposing River Thames in London and, as you follow the course of the river to the west, you will see the magnificent Hampton Court Palace as just part of the stunning London skyline. A river cruise in the heart of London gives a wonderfully different perspective of the city, and you have a great choice of public or private charters.

The style of the river changes as you move further west - the pace is slower, the river launches are smaller and you start to experience how the river became so critical to communication and trade in days gone by.

Today, the Thames is a vibrant source of leisure, relaxation and beauty. From the punts and skiffs so often seen in Oxford to the stunning slipper launches cruising through Henley and Windsor, the Thames offers even more reason to visit the Chilterns and Cotswolds. You have the choice to explore the changing scenery for a few days, or relax for an afternoon while cruising through Henley and Windsor, enjoying a delicious afternoon tea.