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You don't need too get far out of the city to see the best of the country with this fantastic swimming adventure in one of the world's most famous rivers. The River Thames derives its name from the Celtic word 'Tamese', meaning tranquil river, and you'll get to see this more peaceful side of it, as well as the fantastic wildlife and historic sites along the way, on this unique SwimTrek trip.

Stretching from the edge of the Cotswolds to the nation's capital, the River Thames passes through beautiful countryside and picturesque villages. We start our trip at the upper part of the river, where the fish are jumping and birds are tweeting. We then head past some of the 140 historic sites of special interest, and occasionally take some time out on the banks of the river to really appreciate the view that inspired so many poets, artists, and authors over the centuries.

There is a one-day and two-day option on this trip, however we recommend you take the two-day option to make the most out of this experience.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is designed for someone that can swim at least 3km in the pool and who wants to experience the beautiful English countryside from the water. If you like swimming, history and nature, this is the perfect trip for you. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance prior to the start of the trip.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday on the River Thames
  • Swim guides and full safety escort on all swims
  • Lunch on Day 2

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Lunch on Day 1
  • Accommodation, breakfast, and evening meals

Tour Highlights

  • Swim in one of the world's most famous rivers on this popular SwimTrek trip

  • Take in the beauty of the picturesque English countryside from a truly unique perspective

  • Combine swimming, nature and history as you make your way down this beautiful section of the Thames

  • Escape from the everyday hustle and bustle to experience the tranquillity and relaxed nature of life on the river

Day 1

We meet in the morning at Buscot Lock, near Lechlade, where we will hold a pre-trip briefing in which we discuss in detail the plans for the day. From here, we start our first swim to the tranquil village of Kelmscott, the summer home of William Morris, the renowned writer, designer and socialist. Pill boxes, which were built to halt an anticipated German advance through England’s waterways in World War II, will guide our way. We take lunch at the Plough Inn built in 1631.

The afternoon is split into two swims through a landscape unchanged for centuries. The picturesque Grafton Lock is an ideal rest and refreshment point which separates the afternoon swims.

On swimming around a bend in the river and under Radcot Bridge, we reach our finish point at the Swan Hotel, a welcome sight!

Day 2

We meet in the morning on the island opposite The Swan Hotel, where we hold a pre-trip briefing to discuss in detail the plans for the day. From here, we begin our first swim to Radcot Lock. From Radcot, the Thames meanders in an array of ox-bows which are a haven for bird and animal life. This section of the Thames is very rural, with fields lining both banks for most of the way and many old pill-boxes visible in the nearby fields.

We stop for lunch on a suitable river bank and provide you with a wholesome picnic. After time to rest and relax we head off to Rushey Lock, the most picturesque of the Thames’ 45 locks.

The last swim of the day is one of the shortest, but most enjoyable as we swim under Tadpole Bridge and finish on the lawns of the Trout public house bringing our river swimming adventure to an end.

Trip Schedule

Day 1: Buscot to Radcot Bridge

Start / Finish Point Location / Time
Start Point Buscot Lock - Buscot near Lechlade, SN7 8DA
Start Time 10:00 on Day 1
Finish Point The Swan Hotel, Radcot-on-Thames, Bampton, OX18 2SX
Finish Time 16:00 on Day 1

Day 2: Radcot to Tadpole Bridge

Start / Finish Point Location / Time
Start Point The Swan Hotel, Radcot-on-Thames, Bampton, OX18 2SX
Start Time 09:00 on Day 2
Finish Point The Trout Inn, Tadpole Bridge, Buckland Marsh, SN7 8RF
Finish Time 16:00 on Day 2

Trip Information

Equipment Checklist

In addition to your daily non-swimming clothes, we also recommend that you bring the following items:

Item Item
Swimming Costume (x2) Small Daypack
Swimming Googles* (x2) Waterproof Jacket
Sunhat and Sunglasses Sweater / Fleece
Waterproof Sun Cream Walking Shoes
Towel Aqua Shoes

*Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

SwimTrek will supply swim hats. We will have a limited supply/range of flippers, rash vests and wetsuits available on the trip, however we cannot guarantee sizes for all. If you have your own flippers, rash vest or wetsuit, we would recommend you bring these with you in order to maximise your enjoyment of the trip. Please note that SwimTrek will provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along.

Day 1

Swim* Distances
Buscot to Kelmscott 3km
Kelmscott to Grafton 2½km
Grafton to Radcot Bridge 1½km

*During the tour we plan to undertake the above swims, however the itinerary may change depending on weather.

Day 2

Swim* Distances
Radcot Bridge to Radcot Lock 1km
Radcot Lock to Lunch on river bank 2km
Lunch spot to Rushey Lock 1½km
Rushey Lock to Tadpole Bridge 1½km

*During the tour we plan to undertake the above swims, however the itinerary may change depending on weather.

Swimming Conditions

Water quality can be an issue with water run off from the fields with blue-green algae and Weil’s disease all possible contaminants. If you do feel unwell at any stage during or after the trip, you should go to your GP immediately, telling them you have been river swimming.

Walking Distances

Most walks take place on recognised paths and tracks, however there may be cases where we walk along trails or other unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
August 19-21°C / 66-70°F 22-24°C / 72-75°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 12. The group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort.

Boat support on this trip includes one main boat and one inflatable boat to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There

The easiest way to reach Buscot Lock or the Swan Hotel is to drive, however you can travel here via train, bus and taxi too. While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Getting There On Day 1

If you are driving the best postcode to use is SN7 8DA. When you get to Lechlade take the A417 to Buscot and follow signs for Buscot Weir, the Lock is just behind the weir. There is a National Trust car park 200m before the Weir, where you can leave your car for the duration of the trip.

If travelling by public transport we recommend taking a train to Swindon and then connecting with the Stagecoach bus (number 64) to Lechlade Markets. For more details on bus timetables please use the following website Stage Coach. From Lechlade you can either walk along the river path (approximately 1 hour) or take a taxi which takes approximately 15 minutes. A local taxi company is Lechlade Taxis, their number is 01367 252575.

Upon finishing the trip, you will be able to share a taxi with other guests back to the start, the cost is approximately £20, again we recommend using Webb Cars.

Getting There On Day 2

If you are driving the best postcode to use is OX18 2SX. At Faringdon follow signs onto the A4095 towards Witney (there is a sharp left turn off Church Street onto Radcot Road). Continue on this road for approximately 3 miles, and as you pass over a small bridge after a traffic light, there is a field to the right which is where you can leave your car for the duration of the trip, this is also where you will meet your guides. (You will see the Swan Hotel opposite).

If travelling via public transport we recommend taking a train to Swindon or Oxford, then connecting with the Stagecoach bus (number 66) to Faringdon. For more details on bus timetables please use the following website Stage Coach. From Faringdon, a taxi will take approximately 15 minutes. A local taxi company is Webb Cars.

Upon finishing the trip, you will be able to share a taxi with other guests back to the start, the cost is approximately £20, again we recommend using Webb Cars.

Practical Information

Accommodation

On this particular trip accommodation isn’t included, however, this gives you the flexibility of where to stay. If you are thinking of booking accommodation in the area there are some fantastic B&Bs available only a few minutes away from the river. Please see the below information on the the B&Bs guests have recommended in previous years.

B&B Contact Website
The Plough Inn 01367 253543 www.theploughinnkelmscott.com
The Trout Inn 01367 870382 www.trout-inn.co.uk

Meals

Meals are not included on day 1 of the trip, but we do stop at the Plough Inn at Kelmscott for lunch. On day 2, we stop for lunch on the banks of the river and a picnic lunch is provided.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as lunch, dinners, drinks, entertainment and taxi fares. The local currency in the U.K. is (£) We recommend bringing approximately £20 - £30 a day.

Passports and Visas

The U.K. is part of the European Union. Non-residents of U.K. require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter U.K. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Vaccinations

There are currently no essential vaccination requirements for the U.K., however it is advisable to re-check this information eight weeks before you travel. You should also ensure that your immunity to tetanus and polio is up-to-date.

Tour Highlights

  • Swim in one of the world's most famous rivers on this popular SwimTrek trip

  • Take in the beauty of the picturesque English countryside from a truly unique perspective

  • Combine swimming, nature and history as you make your way down this beautiful section of the Thames

  • Escape from the everyday hustle and bustle to experience the tranquillity and relaxed nature of life on the river

  • What an incredible trip! Swimming in the Thames, through stunning scenery on a very sunny August weekend. We had swallows dipping in front of us, swans taking off right over our heads and cows looking on inquisitively. An amazing experience which I'll never forget. As always the guides did an incredible job of making sure we were safe, happy and well fed!

    Vicky V. UK - 2016
  • Great organisation - safe and friendly Fantastic experience - swimming with swans! Amazing views up from the river to the sky. Lovely crowd to swim with. Lots of laughter. Bragging rights!!

    Hilary B. UK - 2016
  • A brilliant introduction to SwimTrek holidays.

    Sally S. UK - 2016
  • Totally exceeded my expectations and they were pretty high to begin with!

    Gerald P. UK - 2016
  • It was just one of the most magical experiences I have had.

    Molly N. UK - 2015
  • If you are looking for an event that accommodates all abilities, this is the trip for you.

    Helen & Hayley. UK - 2015
  • Thank you for a great trip. I look forward to joining you again!

    Adrian G. UK - 2015
  • At the grand age of 64 it was good to have a new challenge. I felt invigorated that I could achieve new goals with the help of the guides.

    Susan C. UK - 2015
  • It is a real priviledge to swim in the Thames and I would highly recommend this trip. The highlights for me are the wild flowers, looking up at inquisitive cattle and gliding past swans. It all went so quickly, I must have been having fun!

    Wendy R, 2014 - UK
  • Really lovely swimming and fantastic support from guides and fellow swimmers! A great experience!

    Jenny, 2014 - UK
  • It was like being part of Wind in the Willows/Tales of the River Bank from the inside!

    Charlotte S. 2014 - UK
  • Having had a bad experience through my own stupidity and swimming in a river on my own, my love of open water swimming was rekindled by Swimtrek and their fantastic team. I would highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in getting wild swimming experience with a safety net of the boats and the team.

    Elspeth Dougall - 2013
  • It felt like a privilege to swim down the Thames, so a huge thak you to Swim Trek for making that possible. I wouldn't have dared do it without your support. Following a river like that was a very special experience - to just keep swimming past changing scenery and get into the 'zone'. It all gave me a real buzz and I came away happy after my first ever river swim :o)

    Wendy Rooke - 2013
  • A great trip, great people, lots of laughing, great swims, so beautiful and the current makes you feel like challenging Phelps. Great pubs, great fun and all over too quickly. Thanks SwimTrek.

    Sarah C, August 2012, UK
  • I loved every moment. It was a privilege to be swimming through the beautiful countryside. It was also really fun. I hadnít expected to be doing handstands and somersaults or covering my feet in a Thames mud pack. We just laughed for 2 days.

    Vicky, August 2012, UK
  • It was a great experience and I felt a strong sense of achievement.

    Julian Wild - 2013

Tour Highlights

  • Swim in one of the world's most famous rivers on this popular SwimTrek trip

  • Take in the beauty of the picturesque English countryside from a truly unique perspective

  • Combine swimming, nature and history as you make your way down this beautiful section of the Thames

  • Escape from the everyday hustle and bustle to experience the tranquillity and relaxed nature of life on the river

Enter guest details to see which departures can accommodate your party:

Dates Availability Special Type Price From
03 Aug -
03 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
03 Aug -
04 Aug, 2017
Trip Available Two Day £250 Book Now
04 Aug -
04 Aug, 2017
Trip Full One Day
05 Aug -
05 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
05 Aug -
06 Aug, 2017
Trip Available Two Day £250 Book Now
06 Aug -
06 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
17 Aug -
17 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
17 Aug -
18 Aug, 2017
Trip Available Two Day £250 Book Now
18 Aug -
18 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
19 Aug -
19 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
19 Aug -
20 Aug, 2017
Trip Available Two Day £250 Book Now
20 Aug -
20 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
21 Aug -
21 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now
21 Aug -
22 Aug, 2017
Trip Available Two Day £250 Book Now
22 Aug -
22 Aug, 2017
4 Places Left One Day £130 Book Now