Route Info | Boats | Map overview of route | Cruising Notes | Maps & Guides | Links | Pub Guide


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Take a cruise along the River Thames seeing historic and pretty towns on your way

Abingdon on Thames , a historic market town set in rural Oxfordshire which proudly claims to be the oldest town in the country.

The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway is 15 mins walk west of Wallingford, steam and diesel trains run on 2.5 miles of track.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 4 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 5.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 22.00 hours

Total Distance : 59.00 miles

Number of Locks : 18

Number of Tunnels : 0

Number of Aqueducts : 0

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.


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Download our cruising notes.





Cruising Notes

Day 1

With Caversham on your right cruise past Reading on your left, just a short distance from the marina is Caversham Lock.

Lock keepers on the Thames are generally available between 9am and 6pm during the summer season and take their lunch 1-2pm. The lock keepers are there to help you through the locks and also to maintain the lock site and facilities and operating the weir. If they are not available they will display a blue ‘self-service’ sign. When this is displayed there will be operating instructions provided.

Between the 2 bridges is Fry's island.

The Thames continues past Tilehurst and soon Mapledurham House is reached with mooring just beyond the lock.
The house is still occupied by the Blount family who bought it in 1490, and built the present Elizabethan manor house, with grounds sweeping right down to the Thames. The House and Watermill are open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter Saturday until the end of September .

Moor here for the night it is 2 hours to here

Pass to the east of the island 1/4 mile below Mapledurham lock and either side of the island 1/4 mile above the lock.

Moor for the night before Whitchurch Toll Bridge, there should be moorings on your left.
The Ferryboat Pub is to the north over Whitchurch Bridge, and has Stone-baked pizzas and bistro fare in a cosy pub with open fire, courtyard garden and dining room.
The Swan Inn in Pangbourne is a 17th century gastropub on the riverside.

Day 2

After the toll bridge there is Whitchurch lock to negotiate.

The wide reach above Whitchurch is often busy with sailing and rowing boats from Pangburne College. The Thames enters open farmland and one of its most pretty stretches.

Beale Park , to your left, covers 300 acres of water meadows, and the bird collection includes peacocks, flamingoes, parrots, and rare owls. Open March-Dec 10.00-18.00. There is mooring here, also nearby is Basildon Park & house. Now run by the National trust, built around 1776, this is the most splendid Palladian mansion in Berkshire. Open Wed-Sun 13.00-17.30 April -Oct. Also gardens and woodland walks.

The brick Gatehampton railway Bridge was built by Brunel.

Goring is set in a splendid deep wooded valley by one of the most spectacular reaches on the River. The Church Bell dates from 1290 and is one of the oldest in England. There are moorings before Goring bridge.
See link below for moorings.

There is plenty of time to have a look around and stretch those sea legs - Two National Trails – The Ridgeway and the Thames Path intersect at Goring and Streatley, making the villages a popular stopping off point for those who prefer long distance walks. However the area is equally popular for its countryside allowing pleasant strolls both along the river and on the beautiful hills that bestride the Goring Gap with magnificent views in all directions across Oxfordshire and Berkshire. As a visitor you will be spoilt for choice if you are looking for the perfect picnic spot.

The River follows open countryside again, with just Goring Lock and Cleeve Lock to negotiate in the next couple of hours until you reach Wallingford. Moorings just past Wallingford Bridge, taking the central arch, there is a small charge .

Moor for the night here it is 5 hours to here.

This town is one of the oldest in the borough dating from 1155. Well preserved banks and ditches of Saxon defences still remain. At the rear of the George Hotel is the entrance to the remains of the Norman castle built on a mound in 1071and finally destroyed by Fairfax in 1646. Walk up the hill from the river to enjoy the town centre, shops and market square. The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway is 15 mins walk west of Wallingford, steam and diesel trains run on 2.5 miles of track.

Day 3

Just past Benson Lock is the town of Benson, which is hardly more than a village but was once the home of the Kings of Mercia. There is a stores and pub.

The River Thames turns west and north to take a wide berth around the Roman town of Dorchester, passing the massive 114 acres of earthworks known as Dyke Hills. It continues to make its widing way past Abingdon, there are moorings just before the bridge.

Abingdon is a 18th century market town which grew up around the abbey. It has an extensive shopping centre with precinct. Abbey meadow by the river, is a public park with swimming pool and cafe. The River is dominated by the gaol, an impressive stone bastille built around 1805, which is now a leisure and sports centre. Abingdon Museum is housed in what is one of the finest town halls in England, built by one of Wrens masons.

It is 4 hours to here
After you have had a look around turn your boat and cruise for a couple of hours back the way you came, it is 11 hours back, or you may have done it in less time!!

Days 4 and 5

Continue back to the marina


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Geanna Canal Boat
Class : MRC-Geanna
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Gema Canal Boat
Class : MRC-Gema
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Georgia Canal Boat
Class : MRC-Georgia
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).

Gwenevere Canal Boat
Class : MRC-Gwenevere
(Sleeps a maximum of 8 People).


Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Pubs available on this canal route:-

  Pub Name Pub Address Distance from Caversham More Info
Pierreponts Foodstore and Cafe High Street, Goring Beside The Bridge And Lock RG8 9AB Full Details
Rossini At Leatherne Bottel Restaurant Bridle Way, Goring RG8 0HS Full Details
The Swan Strreatley RG8 9HR Full Details
The Swan The Swan Shooters Hill, Pangbourne Rg8 7du RG8 7DU Full Details
The Ferryboat Inn The Ferryboat Inn High Street , North Of Whitchurch Bridge RG8 7DB Full Details
Beetle And Wedge Boathouse Beetle And Wedge Boathouse Ferry Lane Moulsford Ox10 9jf OX10 9JF Full Details

NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.