The River Thames is easy to get to. It flows through some of
Major roads across the south-east will take you to the riverside towns.
See a map of the River Thames to explore some of the best accommodation and attractions available along its path.
Towns and Villages
Find out about the towns and villages along the River Thames. Key starting points for accessing the River Thames are Windsor, Henley, Marlow, Oxford and Reading.
Travel information to key locations:
- Windsor: The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is just 30 miles west of London with Heathrow Airport just 12 miles away and Luton and Gatwick Airports within an hour's drive. The whole of the Royal Borough is easily accessible via the major motorway networks of the M3, M4, M25 and M40 and is well served by public transport. http://www.windsor.gov.uk/visitor-info/getting-here.
- Henley: The town is only 30 miles from central London and a short drive from Windsor, Reading and Oxford. It is easily accessible from the M4, M40, A4130 and A4155. http://www.visit-henley.com/travel-parking.
- Marlow: The A4155 runs through Marlow town centre, and Marlow is close to the A404, M4 and M40. Travel by train to Marlow with First Great Western. The train service is known as the Marlow Donkey, which was the nickname given to the steam locomotives that once operated on the line.~
- Oxford: The M40 and M4 + A34 provide easy access by car from London, leaving the M40 at Junction 8. The M40 links Birmingham to Oxford from the north, leaving at Junction 9. Parking in Oxford is limited so most day visitors take advantage of the Park and Ride system which was pioneered in Oxford. All five Park and Ride sites are clearly signposted from the Oxford Ring Road. They operate 7 days per week (excluding Sunday at Water Eaton). A frequent direct train service operates from London Paddington and Oxford (approx. every 30 minutes) and between Birmingham New Street. London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports: the Oxford Bus Company's Airline service operates 24/7. London Stansted and Luton airports are linked by the National Express 737 bus service. Car Hire firms and chauffeur services also provide a bespoke airport transfer service. Birmingham airport is within one and a half hour transfer by car and offers European, International and local routes.
- Reading: Reading is one of the busiest interchanges on the national rail network and has direct routes to almost every part of the UK. Heathrow is just 25 minutes west on the M4 at off-peak times. There is a recommended Heathrow/Reading coach link which departs approx every 20 minutes from Reading Station. Services to Heathrow drop off at all terminals, but return journeys are from the central coach station. Find out more here: RailAir. Gatwick Airport is about an hour and a half by road (M4/M25) or use the regular stopping train service (departing every half hour at peak times). Southampton (Eastleigh) airport is about 1 hour (A33/M3).
General travel enquiries:
- Traveline - Anywhere in Britain. The journey planner can plan door-to-door journeys across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales thanks to data imported from other traveline regions.
National Rail Enquiries: The gateway to Britain's National Rail network. A portal into UK rail travel including train company information and promotions; train times; fares enquiries; tickets.
Transport for London (TFL): Information on all forms of public transport in London, routes, maps, journey planner and online tickets sales. Includes guide to what to see and do and realtime.
National Express: Buy National Express coach & bus tickets for travel to over 900 destinations throughout the UK including London airports Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.
- Megabus operates coach services to many destinations across the UK and Europe. Services operate from London Victoria Coach Station. For information on timetables and fares, or to make a booking, visit www.megabus.com.
- Eurostar: You can travel from The Netherlands, Germany or any Belgian station by connecting with a Thalys or Deutsche Bahn ICE train to Brussels Midi/Zuid. Once you’re in London you can connect to other mainline stations to reach River Thames destinations http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en//travel-info/your-trip/onward-travel/connecting-in-london
Regional Rail operators to River Thames destinations
- Chiltern Railways 08456 005165
- First Great Western operates services between London Paddington, Reading and Oxford, Cookham, Bourne End and Marlow as well as destinations across South Wales and the West of England 08457 000125
- Cross Country Trains 0870 010 0084
- South West Trains operates direct services from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside, Wraysbury, Sunnymeads, Ascot, Sunningdale and Datchet 0345 6000 650
Regional Bus services to River Thames destinations
- Green Line: Green Line coaches are a distinctive sight across the northern and western Home Counties; at London Heathrow and Luton Airports; on the A1(M), M1 and M4 motorways and in Central London - See more at: www.greenline.co.uk/.
- Heathrow Airport Bus Services: Provide services to local destinations such as Windsor and to key railway stations. http://www.heathrowairport.com/transport-and-directions/buses-and-coaches.
- Oxford Tube: Service between London and Oxford http://www.oxfordtube.com/.
- Oxford Bus Company: Services the width and breadth of Oxfordshire and to London, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. http://www.oxfordbus.co.uk/.
- Thames Travel: covering South Oxfordshire and part of West Berkshire http://www.thames-travel.co.uk/.
- Arriva: covers Reading, Oxford, Henley, Marlow and Maidenhead http://www.arrivabus.co.uk/south-east/discover/places/.
- Heathrow Airport www.heathrowairport.com.
- Gatwick Airport www.gatwickairport.com.
- Stansted Airport www.stanstedairport.com.
- London Luton Airport www.london-luton.com.
- London City Airport: www.londoncityairport.com.
Most of the River Thames is easily accessible via the major motorway networks of the M3, M4, M25 and M40 and other roads A34, A404, A4130 and A4155 and is well served by public transport
Use AA Route Planner for planning your journey by road.
Distances vary from the different ports to the different destinations but are generally between an hour and two and ½ hours.
- Sail to France from £39 each way
- 23 sailings a day
- 90 minute crossing
- Flexible tickets available
- Superior onboard experience
- No credit card fee
Harwich International Port - Esbjerg, Hoek van Holland
Timetable of crossings for Harwich International Port
Port of Dover - Boulogne, Calais, Dieppe, Dunkerque
Timetable of crossings for Port of Dover
Newhaven Ferry Port – Dieppe
Timetable of crossings for Newhaven Ferry Port
Portsmouth Ferry Port - Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, St Malo, Bilbao
Timetable of crossings for Portsmouth Ferry Port
Explore the beautiful, relaxing and inspiring
There really is so much to do on the river and nearby, that a day is not long enough. There are plenty of family-friendly places to stay nearby or on the river. Make your base at one of our family friendly hotels and you can discover history or enjoy a spot of camping...
Fun on the River Thames doesn't always have to cost you. There are plenty of free ways to have a cheap day out with the kids on the River Thames. Take a stroll, get on your bike, catch a fish or play Pooh Sticks...
Don’t forget there are endless ideas for adventure on the river. Check out our ideas for Great Family Days Out. The simplest way to explore the river is a rowing boat For a rainy day visit one of the Thames Valley Museums.