14.8 km (9.2 miles)
Landranger 175, Explorer 171
1 out of 10.
|Features||This is a simple walk along a pleasant section of the River Thames, keeping to the riverside path throughout. Lunch is at the attractive riverside village of Sonning. The Thames Path turns inland for a while between Shiplake Lock and while passing through the village of Shiplake, but then returns to the riverbank for a very pretty section past Marsh Lock. with its dramatic weirs, and through a riverside park into Henley.|
|Walk options||It is possible to end the walk at Shiplake, as the walk passes the station there. This cuts about 3.7km (2.2 miles) off the walk, making a walk of 11.1km (6.9 miles) but you will miss a beautiful approach along the river into Henley.|
|Transport|| Trains to Reading from Paddington are fast and numerous. Get a train that arrives at Reading between 10.30 and 11.00. Buy a day return to Henley-on-Thames valid via Reading (rather than the slightly cheaper return which is not valid via Reading). Ordinary rail tickets and Network Card discounts are valid on fast long distance trains from Paddington that call at Reading, and you can use a ticket starting from a London Transport zone boundary, despite what the occasional misinformed ticket inspector on these trains says.
Trains back from Henley are every half hour, changing at Twyford.
|Lunch|| The Bull (0118 969 2901 www.bullinnsonning.co.uk) in the pretty village of Sonning, 5.5km (3.4 miles) into the walk, gets popular at lunchtimes gets popular at lunchtimes, especially at weekends, so it is as well to get there early. However it does have a good number of outside tables too, both around its car park and in a well-hidden garden around its back. It serves food all afternoon.
An alternative, next to Sonning Bridge, is the Coppa Club (0118 921 9890 www.coppaclub.co.uk), which despite its name describes itself as "an all-day restaurant and social hub where everyone is welcome". I have not tried this establishment, but it seems to serve pub-like food in a modern pub-like environment, and has a beautiful garden on the river's edge.
|Tea||The Baskerville Arms in Shiplake is a possible early tea stop, but most walkers will prefer to carry on into Henley. Just before Henley’s road bridge, the The Chocolate Cafe is on the left: the town also has other options, and many pubs. Another possible tea stop is in the cafe of the Henley Rowing Museum, which is accessible without paying to go into the museum.|
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Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk