Great pubs to stay at whilst exploring the Thames Path

12 April 2019

Whether you are considering a two-week walking holiday or just a weekend out on the footpaths, have you thought about walking some or all of the Thames Path?  The Thames Path follows England’s best known river for 184 miles from its source in a meadow in the Cotswolds hills (aptly known as Thames Head), all the way to the Thames Barrier in Woolwich just a few miles from the sea.

 The journey takes you through peaceful water meadows, unspoilt rural villages, historical towns such as Marlow and Henley-on-Thames and the cities of Oxford and London.  Whether you choose to walk from West to East or East to West, there are a myriad of famous sites along the way – the walks are well documented and can be walked in easy sections, so take time to explore the wonderful surroundings and then rest and refuel at one of the excellent pubs with rooms along the route.   For details on the exact walking routes, visit the National Trail website.

Where to stay along the Thames Path, West to East

The Masons Arms – Meysey Hampton, Gloucestershire

Just a few miles from the source of the River Thames situated by the green in pretty Meysey Hampton, you will find the thriving community hub of the Masons Arms.  Expect a simple, stylish interior, cool contemporary rooms, good modern pub food, and a big genuine welcome – an ideal base for walking the upper reaches of the Thames Path.

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The Plough Inn – Kelmscott, Oxfordshire

Plough Inn, Kelmscott, Oxfordshire - a pub with ensuite accommodation
A long time favourite among Thames Path walkers and the boating fraternity, is the picture-perfect 17th-century Plough Inn, just minutes from the Thames and also Kelmscott Manor (the home of William Morris).  Furnished in a cool, rustic style with cosy rooms and inventive modern British food, don’t miss their fantastic Dinner Bed & Breakfast offer of just £129 per couple per night available until 31st May 2019.

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The Head of the River – Oxford, Oxfordshire

There can be no better way to enter the City of Dreaming Spires than on the Thames Path and although there are a myriad of choices as to where to stay, The Head of the River must surely boast the best location in Oxford with its stunning Thames-side frontage, the views of Folly Bridge, the fabulous alfresco dining area, and its beautifully refurbished rooms.

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The Miller of  Mansfield – Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire

In the pretty riverside village of Goring-on-Thames, just an amble from the Thames Path, you will find the Miller of Mansfield – expect sublime cooking and funky rooms with a wow factor at Nick and Mary Galer’s (former team members of Heston Blumenthal’s exceptional Fat Duck Group) informal modern-day inn.  Also a great base to explore The Ridgeway.

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Bel & the Dragon – Reading, Berkshire

The route of the Thames Path through Reading is surprisingly peaceful and this cool urban bolthole set in a converted canal-side factory in the heart of Reading is much the same. Having undergone a fabulous renovation, it now offers country-chic rooms, modern menus, a terrific terrace and a trendy bar so tarry a while and add on a visit to the interesting small Riverside Museum (10am – 6pm April – September).

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The Bull Inn – Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire

Tucked down a dead-end lane in an idyllic Thames-side village, just a stroll from the Thames Path, the Bull Inn, having been beautifully refurbished by Fullers, is a fine example of a quintessential 16th-century English pub.  Referred to by Jerome K Jerome in his novel Three Men in a Boat, you won’t be disappointed – contemporary rooms await upstairs.

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The Chequers Inn – Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Marlow is a fabulous town to visit and not just for its large array of independent shops – it is arguably set in the most beautiful stretch of the Thames Valley with the wooded slopes of Winter Hill rising on the opposite bank as you leave the town. Rest and refuel at the Chequers Inn, a vibrant town centre pub with contemporary-smart rooms and a steak-focused menu.

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Bel & the Dragon – Cookham, Berkshire

This is the original Bel & the Dragon and as one of the oldest coaching inns in England successfully combines 600 years of history with modern pub food and stylish contemporary rooms.  It has a fabulous secret terrace and the River Thames is just around the corner, where Cookham resident Kenneth Grahame was inspired to write the Wind in the Willows.

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The Swan Hotel – Staines, Middlesex

Nestled right by the river in Staines, you can’t get much closer to the Thames Path than this spruced up 16th century Thames-side gem; hunker down by fires in winter, spill out onto glorious riverside terraces in the summer and don’t miss the Swan Upping in July, when the cygnets are counted in spectacular style along the Thames.

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The Pilot Inn – Greenwich, London

Close to the end of the Thames Path, this historic gem in the shadow of the O2 is a true reminder of Greenwich’s amazing seafaring history.  Offering great beers, delicious pub food, a super summer terrace and fabulous rooms that promise dreams of the high seas, you’ll be glad you washed up here!

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Thank you for visiting our blog – this is where we have the latest on what our pub industry expert David Hancock has been up to including his discoveries when searching for Britain’s best pubs with rooms. We’ve also got insider tips and extra updates to share about what makes our handpicked inns such wonderful – and individual/unique places – to help you find anything from the cosiest corner, to a special room with a view or even the heartiest breakfast.