United Kingdom

Walking the Thames Path Through London

Walking The Thames Path Through London

When Lexie’s school started back at the end of August, I began looking for things to do to stay busy and finally meet other people living in London. I joined the PTA (which is something I said I’d never do), started taking Spanish classes at night, and I joined a walking club.

I’ve never really been much of a walker. I can cover a lot more ground a whole lot faster if I run, so I prefer to get my exercise that way. But I didn’t join this club for the exercise. (Believe me, I do plenty of walking just going to Lexie’s school and back every day!) I joined it for the companionship, and the opportunity to see parts of London that I wouldn’t otherwise have made it a point to see.

Walking The Thames Path Through London

This particular walking club meets every Thursday morning to walk the Thames Path through London, a 40-mile stretch of the river from Richmond to the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. Each time we meet, we walk around five miles of the route, and then the next time pick up where we left off. So far we’ve made it from Richmond to Chelsea and it’s been an easy, scenic walk. The hardest part for me has been getting to our meeting points since many portions of the Thames run through the more remote areas of London. It’s forced me to learn to navigate through the city on my own using a combination of buses, tubes, and railways – something I’ve needed to learn since we got here.

Walking The Thames Path Through London

Our first two walks along the Thames Path took us through the more residential areas of London. The paths there were leafy and green, and the surrounding area was so quiet that it was easy for us to forget we were walking in London. Only a few houseboats lined the riverbanks on either side, but other than that, the river was just as quiet as the towns we were walking through.

Walking The Thames Path Through London

The pictures in this post all come from our third walk on the Thames Path which took us through Battersea Park and into Chelsea. We are just beginning to make our way into the heart of the city! On this portion of the walk, I was able to catch a glimpse of the Battersea Power Station. If you’re a Beatles or Pink Floyd fan, you’ll recognize it – it was featured in a shot from the movie Help! and on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals. It’s currently under construction. The long-abandoned building is being converted into residential flats. (Although you’d likely have to sell your first-born to be able to afford it – a studio flat is priced at £345,000 and the penthouse is selling for £6 million!)

The Albert Bridge is another sight to see along this portion of the Thames Path. Although it’s hard to tell in these photos, the bridge is actually painted with pink, blue, and green accents, making it one of the most feminine bridges I’ve ever seen. (And the most beautiful if Cinderella is your thing!) At night, Albert Bridge undergoes a complete transformation when 4,000 bulbs light it up like a Christmas tree, adding it to the list of things in London that look even prettier at night than they do in the light of day.

Walking The Thames Path Through London

Battersea Park is also where you’ll find the Peace Pagoda. It was added to the park in 1985 by a team of monks and volunteers in charge of building these pagodas throughout the world to inspire world peace. Today, it’s a place for those of the Buddhist faith to come and pray, or for anyone to come and find spiritual peace. (At the very least, it’s worth a stop to admire the beautiful design.)

We still have quite a bit of the Thames Path to go, but we are hoping to have it completed by the end of December. There will definitely be many photo opportunities on the next five miles of our walk as we head towards Tower Bridge and the other famous tourist spots, but I’m most excited to see everything once we’re past the center of London. The east side of the city has remained a mystery to me since we got here, since I haven’t yet had a reason to venture that far. If it’s anything like what we’ve seen so far, it’ll be worth the walk. (And the maze of public transportation to get to it!)

For more information about walking the Thames Path in London (maps included), check out the TFL website!

Did you enjoy this article or find it helpful? Save it for later on Pinterest!

Walking The Thames Path Through London

Share this post:

  • Diana Bockus
    November 8, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    The last shot of the bridge is my favorite! Beautiful!

  • Emmymom
    November 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    You are finding some great things to do! Beautiful pictures

  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    November 1, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Way to get yourself out there! I love the idea of a walking club! And the PTA!!! hehe…good for you. :) And on a blogging note, I see you switched to Disqus? Is that new or have I not been paying attention? Curious how you feel about it.

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      Can’t say I’m super involved in the PTA, but I’ll bake some cookies for a bake sale! ;o)

      I switched about a month or so ago and I LOVE it! I’ll never go back to the Blogger system. I like that my responses are emailed to each commenter and can be seen here instead of only emailed. With Blogger, it looked like I never responded to anyone!

      • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
        November 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Thank you for sharing! I am just now digging into my Disquis profile and found all these responses to my comments! Changing my settings so I will be notified! lol! Will be looking more into this. :)

  • kayleigh maryon
    October 31, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    This sounds like a great idea. You get to discover new places where you are living and meet new people.

  • Melanie Fontaine
    October 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    It’s such a nice idea to join a Walking Club! I must confess, I had no idea that there were walking paths like this in London! I live in a hiking paradise in Norway, though the possibilities are often restricted by the weather, and I’m sure I would love the Thames Path as well. By the way, I’m going to attend Selena’s Blogger Meet Up next week as well – I’m excited to get to meet you there! :)

  • topchelseagirl
    October 28, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Joining the walking club is a great idea. Glad you’re exploring lots of London, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the docklands area when you go east.

  • Tammy Chrzan
    October 27, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    I am now officially and completely JEALOUS! Walking the Thames?!?!
    You know…. I know the Queen will one day give me Tower Bridge…
    I mean, I’m technically an honorary member of London.
    Right?
    Hello?
    Right?
    (No, I am not high… Yes I am sober! Haha!)
    You joined the PTA? You go girl! I’ve never joined, probably for the same reasons as you, but… I think it’s awesome the women that really go out there for our schools!
    I admire how you just got out there Sarah, you didn’t let not knowing anyone keep you from meeting others and making that city your own!
    Smooch!
    Tammy

  • Jo
    October 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    How cool you get to see part of London you wouldn’t normally see while walking 5 miles

  • Katrin
    October 26, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    That is such a great idea! I would love to join! I love all your fabulous pictures! Thanks so much for sharing and making me want to travel to London so badly!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    October 26, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    This is such a great way to explore London! Love it!

  • elizabeth
    October 26, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Hi Sarah,
    I’ve just found your lovely blog. I too am a wanderer – if only I had more time. I will enjoy reading more of your blog and following you.

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 28, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Hi Elizabeth! Nice to meet you! I’m so glad you found me! In my opinion there could never be enough time to travel. Even if it’s all you ever did, you’d still never get to see it all!

      • elizabeth
        October 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        I know I’ll have a huge regret one day that I didn’t find more time to travel but when you have a reluctant husband it’s just too bad.

  • Quyen Nguyen
    October 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    The Albert Bridge is spectacular! I love the beautiful lines.

  • Postcards from Rachel
    October 25, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    These photos are beautiful! So awesome you started taking Spanish lessons. I should have done something similar while living abroad.. since I had all the time in the world. :)

    We had a walking/hiking club in Scotland and I joined a few times. Just getting out and enjoying the scenery makes life more enjoyable.

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 28, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      I have really loved my Spanish classes! I’ve met some really fun people there that have become friends outside of the class. I just wish I hadn’t let all those years of Spanish in high school and college go to waste. I feel like I’m starting from scratch now!

  • Nicole
    October 25, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    I love that even though it’s in the middle of the city, it is still a quiet walk. It’s probably nice to get out there in the peace and quiet from the city once in awhile! And just think, after you learn all of these new places to go, you can start running out there!

  • Jessi @2feet1world
    October 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Great shots – I walked this section of the Thames Path a couple of months ago and loved seeing all the different sights along the way. The Albert Bridge is SO pretty, and Battersea Park was a nice surprise – I love all the green space in London.

  • Mandy Southgate
    October 25, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    I love the Thames Path and walk a section of it from London Bridge to Charing Cross several times a week. I once walked as far as Vauxhall Bridge but I’ve never walked further so I really enjoyed this post. I’m a big Pink Floyd fan so love the power station

    Being an expat can be an isolated and lonely experience, can’t it? Joining the walking club and meeting other bloggers is a fantastic idea! I hope you’re soon dispairing at having so many people to see!

    One place I really want to see in London is Battersea Park. I haven’t been yet!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 28, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      It definitely can! Especially once the excitement of moving to a new city has worn off and real life sets in. That’s when I started missing my friends and family the most. Once I started really creating a life for myself here, though, it got easier. Most of my new friends are also expats from other countries, probably because they know more than anyone else what it’s life to uproot your whole life and start over again!

  • Keith Wynn
    October 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    You mentioned December – I can’t WAIT to see December pics with snow :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I REALLY hope we get snow. I hear it snows more in the northern parts of England than in London, but I’m still hoping for it anyway!

      • Robert Hill
        October 29, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        The chances of snow in London in December are really quite high! Just thinking back I don’t remember a year where we’ve had no snow whatsoever.

        • Sarah Shumate
          October 31, 2013 at 10:19 AM

          Then I’m crossing my fingers for a white Christmas. I have never had one of those. But I’ll take snow anytime! So does the whole city shut down when it snows? :o) In Tennessee, because snow was such a rare occurrence, schools and roads and even businesses would shut down for the day.

          • Robert Hill
            October 31, 2013 at 4:15 PM

            It’s by no means guaranteed to be snowing actually on Christmas Day, but it’s quite possible, and I’m sure we’ll get a good amount of snow and some point during winter. We always do. And yes, when we do you can fully expect everything to grind to a halt! We Brits are awful at dealing with snow. The trains will be truly awful (like probably not run at all) and planes won’t be much better. The only thing that seems to work when it snows are the buses actually. They’re always reliable.

  • Robert Hill
    October 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Wow, your photographs are incredible!! Living just a short walk from the Thames Path I often find myself walking it at weekends too. I tend to head in the opposite direction though – from Chelsea down to Richmond, which is really beautiful. You should definitely walk that route some time, if you haven’t already done so :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      That’s actually where we started from. We began in Richmond and worked our way up to Chelsea. I loved that section of the river – it almost felt like we weren’t in London anymore. I live in Chiswick, but if it weren’t going to put us even further from the city, I’d move to Richmond in a heartbeat!

      • Robert Hill
        October 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        I totally agree, it feels so different from the inner city sections. I suppose having Kew Gardens on one side of the river and Syon House on the other equals a lot of open space and greenery, perfect for long walks! Oh, I like Chiswick! As you say, it’s not too far from the centre of the city but not too hectic either. Richmond would be a nice area to live, too, but definitely too far out for me. I live in Kensington and I don’t think I’d like to stray much further afield than that! :)

        • Sarah Shumate
          October 25, 2013 at 5:12 PM

          You are exactly right about Kew Gardens and Syon House. That portion of the walk was so lovely! Eventually I’d like to make it inside Kew Gardens – I’ve heard so many great things about it. Have you been? What do you think is the best time of year to visit?

          • Robert Hill
            October 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

            Sorry for my super-slow response, Sarah. I must have missed your comment when scanning Disqus! Yes, I have been to Kew Gardens a few times over the years and I’d definitely recommend visiting when you get the opportunity, particularly since you live so close by! Personally, I think visiting around this time of year is best, during autumn when the leaves are those beautiful shades of reds and browns, and you still get to see all the wonderful summery plants that are grown in the green houses. But it’s really fine to visit any time of year. It’s designed specifically to make that possible. There just seems to be more of a focus on the green house plants during colder months and more on the lawns outside when it’s warm and people like to picnic.

          • Sarah Shumate
            October 31, 2013 at 10:17 AM

            Maybe I’ll just plan on going twice then – once this fall and again in the spring. I just love seeing gardens when everything is just beginning to bloom!

          • Robert Hill
            October 31, 2013 at 4:18 PM

            I think that would be an excellent idea! Fall, when all the leaves are changing to those beautiful autumnal colours, and Spring/Summer when everything’s in bloom are definitely the best times to visit. I think Summer has a slight advantage because you can picnic in the gardens out by the river, which is always fun.

  • Miwa
    October 25, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    Oh gosh, a walking club? That sounds like the perfect way to get to know a city and its people. And of course, get some great shots!

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. When I was in London I didn’t have that much time to walk around and really enjoy the view, so your posts are letting me experience parts of the city that I know I would’ve loved. Looking forward to future photos from your walks :)

  • Jacintha | Urban Pixxels
    October 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    Great photos! Battersea is not far from where I live so I love going to the park and admire the Albert Bridge (day and night – both amazing). I’ve cycled parts of the Thames Path, but I like the idea of walking the path as well. Maybe when it stops raining :-).

  • Leanne Black
    October 25, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    I love the photos of the bridge especially all the lines in the first one. Isn’t it great all the adventures we can go on that don’t cost a thing!? :)

  • Sara Louise
    October 25, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    What a fantastic way to meet new people and explore! I’m looking forward to vicariously taking these walks with you :)