Today I want to share A Lady in London’s self-guided Thames walk in London with you. This route will guide you along the city’s most famous waterway and show you the iconic landmarks and attractions that line its banks. It’s one of the best walks along the Thames in London if you love being by the river and enjoy discovering the UK capital on foot. I’ve included a detailed Thames walk map to help you navigate, too.

Thames Walk in London

Thames Walk in London

The River Thames is London’s most famous waterway. This 215-mile (346-kilometer) river originates at Thames Head in Gloucestershire and runs through southern England to the North Sea.

Along the way it passes through Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Windsor, London, and other cities and towns.

Tower Bridge on the Thames in London

The Thames is the longest river entirely in England and the second-longest in the UK.

It cuts through the heart of London, passing Kingston upon Thames and Richmond in the west, the South Bank and St Katharine Docks in the middle, and Canary Wharf and Greenwich in the east.

Boats on the Thames in Richmond

That means there are plenty of good places for a Thames walk in London. Some of my favorites include the bucolic stretch in Richmond, the beautiful Thames Path from Hammersmith to Chiswick, and the areas along the waterfront in Rotherhithe.

Hammersmith Bridge, London

But since central London is the most popular place for a Thames walk in London, today I’m going to share a self-guided walking tour in the heart of the city. If you love London river walks, this is for you.

London Eye on the Thames

I’ve published many more London walks and pulled them together in my London walking tours blog post, too. It’s a good resource if you want to find all my routes and maps in one place.

Houseboats on the Thames in Chelsea, London

There are other walks to be discovered in London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it on Amazon here. There are more ideas in my London walking books post as well.

Thames View in Vauxhall, London

Thames Walk Route in London

I’ve written up Thames walks in London before. They’ve covered the South Bank and part of west London, but not in an in-depth way.

London Eye Thames View

Today I want to focus on a more extensive walking route and map that will show you a longer stretch of the river and go into more detail.

South Bank, London

It’s a long walk, but you can combine it with another of my Thames walks in London to make it an even longer one if you want to.

This walk also starts in the same place my Chelsea walk ends, so you can do both in one trip if you’d like to. It also goes past the starting points of my London Bridge walk and City of London walk, so you can do those as well.

Whatever you decide, you’ll go past lots of great sights. There are plenty of places to eat and drink along the way, too.

Chelsea Embankment, London

Self-Guided London Walking Tour

This Thames walk in London starts at Sloane Square tube station in Chelsea. It’s on the District and Circle lines of the London Underground, and it’s served by a number of bus routes, so it’s easy to get to.

You can also walk there from places like the King’s Road, Elizabeth Street, and Victoria Station.

When you exit the station, turn left to walk down Sloane Gardens. This street is full of beautiful brick buildings, so it’s worth looking up as you go.

Brick Buildings in Chelsea, London

Follow Sloane Gardens as it curves around to meet Lower Sloane Street. When you get to Lower Sloane Street, turn left and keep following it as it becomes Chelsea Bridge Road.

You’ll pass by shops, restaurants, and Chelsea Barracks as you make your way to the Thames.

When you get there, turn right on Chelsea Embankment. You’ll pass alongside the Royal Hospital South Grounds and Ranelagh Gardens, where the annual Chelsea Flower Show takes place.

As your Thames walk in London continues, you’ll notice beautiful heritage buildings along the street. The Chelsea Physic Garden, one of my favorite secret gardens in London, is here as well.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Once you pass the Chelsea Embankment Gardens, turn left to cross Albert Bridge. Don’t miss the pretty pastel details and views across the Thames as you go.

Once over the river, you’ll find yourself in Battersea. Take your first left to get into Battersea Park. There’s a path along the river here, and you you’ll pass the Peace Pagoda as you go.

You can veer off to explore more of the park before continuing your Thames walk if you want to, too.

Paddle Boats in Battersea Park, London

When you reach the east end of Battersea Park, cross Chelsea Bridge and take a right on Grosvenor Road.

As you walk along the river, you’ll have great views of Battersea Power Station and the waterfront areas in Vauxhall. You’ll also be able to see the Pimlico waterfront as you walk through the neighborhood.

Red Phone Box by the Thames in Pimlico, London

Your Thames walk in London continues in Westminster as Grosvenor Road becomes Millbank. You’ll pass by Tate Britain, one of the city’s famous art museums, and see lots of government buildings as you approach Victoria Tower.

Victoria Tower, London

When you reach Lambeth Bridge, turn right to cross the Thames again. When you get to the other side, turn left to walk along the Albert Embankment Path. Now you’ll be on the Thames Path in London.

Albert Embankment Path on the Thames in London

Walk east along the Albert Embankment Path, taking in Lambeth Palace and the increasingly beautiful views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben as you go.

Lambeth Palace

After passing Westminster Bridge, you’ll find yourself on the South Bank. This is a great area to stop and soak up the scene.

From attractions like the London Eye to institutions like the Southbank Centre, there’s a lot to do here. There are also places to eat, so it’s a good spot to get a snack or lunch if you’re hungry.

Thames and London Eye View from Westminster Bridge

Continue along the South Bank, taking in the National Theatre, the OXO Tower, and the buildings in Whitehall and Temple across the Thames as you walk.

There are benches around here, and they’re good places to sit by the River Thames in London if you need a rest.

South Bank Thames walk in London

Your Thames walk in London continues along the river as you make your way under Blackfriars Bridge and follow the Thames Path into Bankside.

Globe, London

You’ll pass London landmarks like Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe along the way. You’ll also spot City of London icons like St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge.

Bankside Pub, London

When you reach a break in the Thames Path, take a right on Bank End and a left on Clink Street.

You’ll pass fun riverside pubs in London and spot the ruins of Winchester Palace, the Golden Hinde ship, and Southwark Cathedral as Clink Street turns into Pickfords Wharf and you turn right on Cathedral Street.

Winchester Palace, London

Cathedral Street will take you into London’s iconic Borough Market. You can browse the stalls and pick up something to eat if you’re hungry.

Borough Market in London

When you’re done, continue your Thames walk in London by exiting the market from Green Dragon Court and taking the stairs up to Borough High Street.

Cross the street where it’s safe, then take a right on Duke Street Hill. You’ll pass by London Bridge Station as you make your way to Hay’s Galleria.

Hays Galleria, London

When you get there, turn left to go into the galleria. You can take in the stunning ceiling and sculpture in the middle as you walk out to the Thames. When you get to the river, turn right on The Queens Walk and head towards the HMS Belfast ship.

HMS Belfast on the Thames in London

You’ll soon find yourself in More London, the area around City Hall. This place has great views of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, and there are events and markets going on here throughout the year.

Tower Bridge, London

Continue your Thames walk in London as you cross under Tower Bridge to get to Shad Thames and the Butler’s Wharf area. There are great historic warehouses to admire here.

Butlers Wharf, London

Pass by the shops and cafes on Shad Thames before taking a left down an alley called Maggie Blake’s Cause. It will lead you back to the riverfront, where there are restaurants and views of St Katharine Docks from Butler’s Wharf Pier.

Tower Bridge from the Thames Path in London

Continue your Thames walk in London along the river until the land curves around, then walk across the St Saviours Dock Footbridge. You’ll start to see China Wharf and the old warehouses around it as you go.

St Saviours Dock, London

Once over the bridge, the Thames Path will curve around and take you through a tunnel before leading you to Mill Street. Turn left on Mill Street, then follow it around as it curves right and becomes Bermondsey Wall West.

Walk along the road and turn right on East Lane. Take your next left on Chambers Street and follow it until you reach Loftie Street.

Turn left on Loftie Street, then right on Bermondsey Wall East. Soon you’ll be back on the river and you can pick up the Thames Path when you reach the waterfront.

Rotherhithe Houses on the Thames in London

Continue your Thames Path walk in London as you make your way from Bermondsey to Rotherhithe.

You’ll pass everything from the ruins of the Moated Manor House of King Edward III to famous riverside pubs like The Angel as you go. You’ll also have great views of Wapping across the river.

Rotherhithe Sculpture, London

Eventually you’ll find yourself on Elephant Lane. Continue your Thames walk in London by heading straight onto narrow Rotherhithe Street. Make sure to take in the historic buildings as you stroll.

Soon you’ll come to St Mary’s Church and The Mayflower pub, both of which have connections to the Pilgrims who sailed to America in 1620.

Mayflower Pub, Rotherhithe

You can stop for a drink on the deck of The Mayflower, or continue your Thames walk in London by turning right on Railway Avenue.

You’ll go past the Brunel Museum as you make your way to the Rotherhithe Overground Station on the corner of Railway Avenue and Brunel Road.

Brunel Museum, London

Your Thames walk in London ends here, but if you want to pick up the tube, you can turn left on Brunel Road, right on Swan Road, and follow Swan Road to Albatross Way, which leads to Canada Water station.

Thames Walk in London: Map and Details

Time: 3.5 to 5 hours (depending on time in the markets, cafes, museums, and restaurants)

First Half of the Thames Walk in London Map:

Second Half of the Thames Walk in London Map:

Further afield: Greenwich and Canary Wharf in the east, Fulham and Wandsworth in the west

Tower Bridge View, London

If you’re interested in more walks along waterways in London, I’ve written about canal walks in London that go along Regent’s Canal. They’re a great compliment to a walk along the Thames. Happy walking!

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Thames Walk in London

4 Comments on Lady’s Guide to a Thames Walk in London

  1. Well done! I love London and have enjoyed a portion of this walk when I have been there. Love your posts on London and always learn something and appreciate your suggestions. Thanks and keep up the great work!!!

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