Maidenhead to Marlow walk

A pretty stretch of the Thames to Cookham in the morning. After lunch, a hill with a view of the Thames valley, or continue along the Thames Path. Can be done as 2 short walks.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sun, 07-Nov-21 Sunday Walk – Maidenhead to Marlow 11 glorious sunshine and cool breeze
Wed, 18-Dec-19 Wednesday Walk Maidenhead to Marlow 9 sparkling morning sunshine
Sat, 01-Jun-19 Saturday Walk: Maidenhead to Marlow 20 hot and sunny
Sun, 28-Oct-18 Sunday walk - Along and above the Thames Valley 6 glorious sun but cold
Sat, 11-Nov-17 Saturday Walk Maidenhead to Marlow 5 mizzle
Sun, 23-Apr-17 Sunday Walk - A pretty Thames walk 4 Murky during the journey out turning into respectable sunshine
Sun, 22-May-16 A lovely walk in the Thames Valley 6 humid variously overcast and sunny
Wed, 24-Feb-16 Mid week day walk - Maidenhead to Marlow 9 sparkling sunshine
Sun, 07-Dec-14 Maidenhead to Marlow 4
Sun, 22-Jun-14 Maidenhead to Marlow 9
Sat, 24-Nov-12 Maidenhead to Marlow
Mon, 04-Jun-12 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 30-Jan-11 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 20-Jun-10 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 07-Mar-10 Marlow Circular, via Cookham
Sat, 31-Oct-09 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sat, 29-Aug-09 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 02-Aug-09 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 15-Feb-09 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sat, 08-Nov-08 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 25-Nov-07 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sat, 27-Oct-07 Maidenhead to Marlow
Sun, 07-Nov-21
Sunday Walk – Maidenhead to Marlow
Extra Walk 56 – Maidenhead to Marlow

Length: 14.2 km (8.8 miles). Toughness: 2/10

10:45 TfL Reading train from Paddington (Ealing Broadway 10:53), arriving Maidenhead at 11:25. Buy a return to Marlow, unless you've got a Freedom Pass and don't mind a longer wait at Maidenhead for a TfL service on the way back, in which case you'll only need a single for the return leg from Marlow to Maidenhead.

Return trains from Marlow are hourly at xx:55, changing at Maidenhead.

This is an easy walk along one of the prettiest stretches of the Thames, where the wooded escarpment below Cliveden is said to be “especially lovely when the leaves are turning in autumn”. If you want a pub lunch there are at least three establishments† in Cookham to choose from, all summarised in the walk document.

The afternoon leg includes a stretch along a wooded ridge with fine views of the Thames. Marlow's independent tea places might have boarded up their shop fronts by the time you arrive, but the town isn't short of refreshment places along its High Street.

You'll need to bring the directions from the L=swc.56 page.

† Odd pub name: “Bel and the Dragon” is a biblical reference to two episodes added to the Book of Daniel, although neither tale provides a convincing explanation for the name of a gastropub.

  • 07-Nov-21

    What a lovely day we all had in glorious sunshine and cool breeze ! Ten walkers came off the train. As we approached the turning point from the Thames Path to Cookham, the 'walk inspector' made a surprising appearance. He was waiting for us... at one of the most scenic spots on this walk, dressed in autumn red in harmony with the tree leaves on the other side of the Thames. So 11 . At Cookham, all avoided crowded pubs despite three to choose from, 3 had picnic on the green opposite The Crown, 7 had sandwich in the church yard, 2 went to the Teapot Tea Shop and lunched in the back garden and were later joined by 4 for tea. After lunch, 1 caught train back from Cookham. The walk inspector and one other followed the advertised route and were not seen again until they miraculously re-appeared at Marlow station apparently after tea (and Cake?). 8 others decided to ignore the instruction and followed the sun-kissed Thames in the afternoon all the way to Marlow. All caught 3:55pm train to Maidenhead. At the station, interests for a dinner out was gathering momentum. Gate Crash 'The Fat Duck Restaurant' near Maidenhead did come across our mind, but enthusiasm for 'Pho at Ealing' was overwelming, off we went, A table for 7 was booked on the train, we arrived at Ealing bustling high street just before 5pm. Spring rolls, classics Pho soup, hot & spicy vegan soup, fresh mint tea.... and more, all delicious and filling, just what one needed after a day's 'hard work', walking, chatting and more chatting... A grand day out with friends, old and new. Thanks Sean for posting this nice walk.

Wed, 18-Dec-19
Wednesday Walk Maidenhead to Marlow
Maidenhead to Marlow
Length: 14.2km (8.8 miles) 3 out of 10

"This is a simple outing along a very pretty stretch of the Thames. In winter the route is not excessively muddy.

To begin with the walk takes a somewhat prosaic route for a mile or so through Maidenhead to get to the river by Brunel’s famous Maidenhead Rail Bridge, the widest brick arch ever built. It then follows the Thames Path to Cookham, with the wooded escarpment of the Cliveden estate on the far side of the river. After lunch you climb up onto an escarpment with fine views of the Thames Valley. Finally, you descend into Marlow, a pretty eighteenth century town with lots of tea choices."

Trains: GWR have a major timetable change on the 15th, but hopefully it will be working by today. Take the 1020 Oxford train from Paddington, changing at Slough (arr 1033) for the 1046 Tfl Rail train to Reading arriving Maidenhead 1056. Alternatively get the Tfl rail train from Paddinton at 1013 Ealing Broadway 1024 to avoid changing. If you miss all those, the 1027 Didcot train gets you to Maidenhead for 1100. Buy a return to Marlow.
A note on Tfl rail: Freedom passes are valid on Tfl rail trains to Reading, in which case you will just need a single from Marlow to Maidenhead. These Tfl trains do not have toilets and are the future Cross Rail trains.

Return trains are: 1500, 1600, 1718, 1747, 1824 changing at Maidenhead. GWR tickets are valid on any train from Maidenhead.

Lunch: A wide choice in Cookham, with the Kings Arms being good.

Tea: The Marlow Donkey by the station.

  • 18-Dec-19

    There is disruption on the line to Reading this morning due to a track problem, but this seems to be on the inbound services

  • 18-Dec-19

    To me falls the (hopefully not) “poisoned chalice” of writing the walk report. (To explain, dear reader: one of our number, a secondary school teacher of English, was explaining at lunch how he seeks to expand his pupils’ vocabulary by introducing them to new phrases. Most SWC walkers aspire in my case to reduce my vocabulary, but he “laid down the gauntlet” to see how many of his phrases I could get into my walk report. Sadly you will “bear the brunt” of this...)

    (Can I stop now?)

    9 on this walk, at least some of us enjoying our first ride on Crossrail (or TFL Rail, as it is at present: it now operates all stopping trains to Reading). The Crossrail trains are smart and purple, but light on seating, particularly of the transverse type. And no, no toilets or charging points (the ancient diesels on the Marlow branch have both. Just saying.)

    Setting off from Marlow we enjoyed sparkling morning sunshine , though it clouded up during lunch. A closed path on the way through Maidenhead meant more road walking than usual, but once by the Thames all was very idyllic. The river running high and fast, Brunel’s improbable flat-arched railway bridge still standing, great tits and blue tits singing. Even the squawking parakeets (have they reached here too, then?) seemed charming.

    Four of us lunched at the King’s Arms, enjoying two courses for £12.95. The sandwich eaters put their heads around the door, but basically went on ahead of us, as is customary. In the afternoon a bracing climb up Winter Hill, now under grey skies, and a descent through the woods to the Marlow flood plain.

    This was indeed somewhat flooded, as the sandwich party had kindly warned us. Nothing daunted, we proceeded to try the tunnels under the A404 but they were all completely inundated. (My English teacher wants me to say the floods “beggared belief”: but they did not: they were just what I expected, given that these are flood tunnels.)

    So we retraced to the road and walked down that into Marlow. I lured two of the party into Burgers for tea, which proved quite leisurely as we had just missed the 16.00 train and the next one was not till 17.18. I later learned that one walker had just missed the 16.00 and gone to the Marlow Donkey pub, where we would have gone if I had not insisted on Burgers. Sorry about that.

    As a “parting shot” I should mention the Crossrail ride back from Maidenhead, which was standing room only. Well, it is nice to see the new trains are popular, I suppose.

    (So, Mr Teacher: how did I do? 10/10?)

  • Anonymous

    Mr Journalist (retired), A tour de force - I salute you. Another great SWC walk with lively chat, some of it, remarkably, idiom-free. Festive Greetings to all.

Sat, 01-Jun-19
Saturday Walk: Maidenhead to Marlow
8.8 miles / 14.2 km
(see walk details for possible extensions and shortcuts)

A morning walk along the banks of the River Thames to lunch in Cookham, followed by an afternoon stretch over Winter Hill for views of the Thames Valley.

Trains: Take the 9:57 train from London Paddington (10:05 Ealing Broadway), arriving at Maidenhead at 10:34. Return trains are at xx:06, change at Maidenhead. Buy a return to Marlow.

Lunch: Cookham has several good options - in a short stretch of the High Street you can find The Kings Arms, the Teapot Tea Shop, Bel and the Dragon, The Crown and many others.

Click here for full details

  • Anonymous

    Having just read the description for this walk it mentions Victorians messing about in boats and Jerome K Jerome which led me to seeing this piece

    We went through Maidenhead quickly, and then eased up, and took leisurely that grand reach beyond Boulter's and Cookham locks. Clieveden Woods still wore their dainty dress of spring, and rose up, from the water's edge, in one long harmony of blended shades of fairy green. In its unbroken loveliness this is, perhaps, the sweetest stretch of all the river, and lingeringly we slowly drew our little boat away from its deep peace.

    From 3 men in a boat Jerome K Jerome

  • Anonymous

    About 20 gathered at Maidenhead station (I lost the count), given hot and sunny , this short and relatively easy walk along the River Thames was just what the doctor has ordered. The morning segment was along the River Thames with very urban feel to it. We met two walkers en Route who had taken the Marlow train at Maidenhead in order to avoid the Metropolitan area. We arrived at Cookham before 12:30. Three decided to visit Stanley Spencer gallery before lunch. A group went to Bel and Dragon for lunch. Apparently, the food was expensive but rather mediocre. Four decided to try the White Oak, a bit off the track but it turned out to be well worth the effort. Gourmet lunch with the price to match though. The group was split in the afternoon, with the Bel & Dragon group went ahead, had tea in Marlow and caught 4:06 train just when the later group arrived in Marlow, who after tea and cake, decided to enjoy the river view in cool breeze before catching 6:06 train back to London.

Sun, 28-Oct-18
Sunday walk - Along and above the Thames Valley
Extra Walk 56 – Maidenhead to Marlow
Length: 15km (9.3 miles). Toughness: 3/10

09:45Reading train fromPaddington (Ealing Broadway 09:53) arriving Maidenhead at 10:31.

Return trains from Marlow to Paddington, changing at Maidenhead, are at xx:09 (journey time 1 hour 16 minutes). Buy an off-peak day return to Marlow.

Well, you’ve enjoyed an extra hour in bed this morning, after the clocks went back last night, so a fairly early start seems a good idea today. Remember that dusk will fall an hour earlier too, so take care you don’t get caught in the dark, though there shouldn’t be much risk of that today.

After following a pretty stretch of the Thames Path as far as Cookham, the route climbs onto an escarpment with fine views of the Thames Valley, before descending to Marlow.

There are several pubs in Cookham where lunch can be taken, but they are likely to be busy, so do ring ahead to book a table when you know how many of you want to eat there. There are plenty of tea places in Marlow. Details of the lunch and tea options can be found on the walk’s introduction page. Then click through to the Comments page to find some useful comments from a group who did the walk very recently.

If you judge that there is enough light remaining when you reach Marlow (it should last till about 5:15pm), you could extend the walk by 3.5 miles by walking back along the river to Bourne End, using the route described in the walk directions.

You will need to download the Walk Directions .

  • Anonymous

    I am hoping to come on this walk, but I am interested in doing the alternative along the river into Marlow. Anyone else thinking of this too?


  • Anonymous

    6 altogether on this walk, with four coming off the train, and two, having forgotten about the time change, arriving early, and doing their own walk up to Bourne End. glorious sun but cold all day. The walk had a little bit of cultural tour going on, with one walker giving historical tidbits along the way. Only one ate at the pub, which apparently was quite busy, whilst the others ate in the churchyard before going off on a Medieval graffiti hunt in the church (there wasn't any, sadly). After lunch, there was a unanimous decision to do the alternative along the river to Marlow, rather than the ridge.

    The journey back was disrupted by issues on the line between Maindenhead and Paddington. A couple of trains had been cancelled from Marlow, which left a frustrated crowd at the station trying to sort out travel with the info box. Overall, though, we did quite well with the disruption, as in, it could have been much much worse. All four ended up boarding the train at 17:17 in Maidenhead and back in time for tea!

Sat, 11-Nov-17
Saturday Walk Maidenhead to Marlow
Maidenhead to Marlow T=swc.56

Length: 8.8 miles (14.1 km) or 11.7 miles (18.9km)
3 out of 10

A pretty stretch of the Thames to Cookham in the morning. After lunch, a hill with a view of the Thames valley before descending into Marlow. If it's a fine day, you can extend the walk along the Thames Path to Bourne End, or even further to Cookham..

Get the 1000 London Paddington (Ealing Broadway 1008) Arr Maidenhead 1045. Buy a return to Marlow.

Return trains are hourly at xx06 from Marlow and xx13 from Bourne End (the same train, changing at Maidenhead for frequent trains to London).

Various pubs: The Bel and Dragon t: 01628 521263 (up market) The Kings Arms t: 01628 530667 The Crown t: 01628 520163 The Teapot Tea Shop t: 01628 529 514

Various places in Marlow including The Marlow Donkey close to the station. There is nothing at Bourne End Station, and I would recommend crossing the river on the railway bridge to go the walker friendly Bounty, which you will have seen across the river on the approach to Bourne End.

  • 13-Nov-17

    5 on this walk. mizzle ,-cloudy,-and-the-occasional-sunny-spell in that order. Weather aside, which was not to bad overall, it was an enjoyable walk.

  • 13-Nov-17

    Following on from Bill's comments, we were pleasantly surprised to find a nice new electric train waiting for us at Paddington, a nice change from the smelly diesels.

    Walkers were a little concerned when a a passenger alighted at Maidenhead with a rather large surfboard. However there was no Thames bore just delightful autumnal colours along the Thames path.

    Lunch at the Kings Arms was good and well priced with an open fire and settees scattered about.

    Onward to Marlow after lunch with better weather and a leisurely tea for most at Burgers to finish off the walk -

Sun, 23-Apr-17
Sunday Walk - A pretty Thames walk
SWC 56 Maidenhead to Marlow
Length 14.1km (8.8m); toughness 3/10.
Trains: London Paddington 10.15 (Ealing Broadway10.23) arrives Maidenhead 10.54.
Return: replacement bus service from Marlow rail station at xx.49 for 35 minute bus journey to Maidenhead station to pick up connecting train back to London Paddington at 36/37 mins past the hour.
Buy a day return to Marlow
A simple and pretty walk along the Thames an early highlight being Brunel’s amazing Maidenhead rail bridge.
See here for further details about the walk, lunch and refreshment options and a pdf with detailed walk instructions.t=swc.56
  • David Colver

    4 in the morning, 3+1 in a tranquil afternoon. Two lunching in The Kings Arms at Cookham which was as reliable as usual. Murky during the journey out turning into respectable sunshine .

    Rail replacement bus service is one of the most dreaded phrases in the English language, but a substitution of familiar trackside views by less familiar roads from Marlow back to Maidenhead in the height of spring turned out rather pleasingly

Sun, 22-May-16
A lovely walk in the Thames Valley
Free walk 56b - Marlow Circular
Length 14.1km (8.8m); toughness 3/10
Trains 09.48 London Paddington (Ealing Broadway 09.56) arrives Maidenhead 10.28.
Then 10.35 Maidenhead (Platform 5b) to Marlow 10.58
Return trains to London from Marlow at xx:03 changing at Maidenhead (and possibly Slough)
This walk variation does not appear to have been done since March 2010 and makes an attractive Spring outing now that the ground has dried out. You start out walking along the river and return across gentle hills enjoying the splendid Thames valley scenery back to Marlow.
Your lunch stop is in Cookham and there are a number of pub and café options so take your pick . (see walk instructions for your choices) Marlow has a number of excellent tea places.
You can find more information about the walk and full walk instruction in the pdf here.
You have to navigate your way around the walk instructions a bit but first you scroll down to Section b) on page 7 and take it from there.

There are options to extend the walk if you wish
  • Anonymous

    Weather forecast for Marlow much improved. I'm going.

  • Ian T

    7 turned up for this, one of whom disappeared mysteriously soon after the start, so 6 Some expressed intent to walk on to Maidenhead but in the end at least 4 returned to Marlow. humid variously overcast and sunny

Wed, 24-Feb-16
Mid week day walk - Maidenhead to Marlow

Maidenhead to Marlow with the merest hint of mud

A pretty stretch of the Thames to Cookham in the morning. After lunch, a hill with a view of the Thames valley

Book 3 Walk 56

Length : 14½ km or 9 miles

Toughness : 3 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:12 am train from London Paddington to Maidenhead
Calling stations:

  • Ealing Broadway: departs 10:20
  • Southall: departs 10:27
  • Hayes and Harlington: departs 10:31
  • West Drayton: departs 10:35
  • Slough: departs 10:42

Meeting point : Maidenhead Station at 10:53

Tickets : Buy a cheap day return to Marlow

Brief Description

This is an ideal walk for those of you weary of mud. It passes the Cliveden Estate (though not accessible) where the Profumo affair took place many moons ago in 1961.
You may find full details here and a printable PDF here. (Apparently Kindlites may use this PDF)

Suggested Lunch stops at Cookham

The Bel and Dragon t: 01628 521263 (up market)
The Kings Arms t: 01628 530667
The Crown t: 01628 520163
The Teapot Tea Shop t: 01628 529 514
Hopefully one of these will suffice !

Suggested Tea stop

Burgers t: 01628 483389 Pronounced with a 'soft' G and open to 5:15

There are many other eateries in Marlow too.


OS Explorer : 172

Return train times

Trains return from Marlow at the following times ...

15:06 (Change at Maidenhead)
16:05 (Change at Maidenhead)
17:16 (Change at Bourne End and Maidenhead)
17:47 (Change at Bourne End and Maidenhead)
18:17 (Change at Bourne End, Maidenhead and Slough)
18:47 (Change at Bourne End and Maidenhead)

  • 24-Feb-16

    9 on this walk, including one late starter who had Tube problems and caught us at lunch. A lovely walk on a day of sparkling sunshine (it clouded up just before lunch but thankfully this did not last). Feeling quite warm in the sun despite the frosty start.

    The "minimal mud" billing of this walk proved largely correct, though inevitably there were a couple of gloopy bits around kissing gates towards the end to ensure that we left plenty on the tea room floor (sorry about that!). Generally, though, it was the driest walk I have had since October.

    Some saw a kingfisher on the morning stretch along the river (I alas did not). Lunch was in the capacious Kings Arms, which we had almost to ourselves. In the afternoon the climb up Winter Hill was a bit slippy but the views from the top were beautifully sharp.

    We got to Marlow at about 3.30pm and all had tea in Burgers. Five of us then did the "new" extension for this walk (actually a new use for the existing Marlow start) back along the River Thames. This proved a great choice, with golden light from the declining sun making everything look especially idyllic. It was so nice, in fact, that when we got to Bourne End we decided to carry on to Cookham, finishing the walk there at 5.45pm and clocking up 13.5 miles in all.

    "And at that moment a blackbird sang" (Edward Thomas: Adelstrop) - the first I have heard this year, chirruping away at Cookham station. A reminder that spring is just around the corner.....

  • Anonymous

    This was a lovely walk in bright sunshine.Thank you to Marcus for treating three Ladies to tea and cakes in the German? tea shop Burgers. Very nice.jfk