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Swimtrek river thames 0021 edited

Book with Confidence

Our new flexible booking conditions include a 7-day refund guarantee and free trip changes.


2 days
Day Trip

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

Swim the River Thames with us on this unique and peaceful tour along England’s longest river. Set amongst the beautiful English countryside, this one-day or two-day swimming tour gives you the chance to experience the River Thames from a completely new perspective. Discover a clean and healthy river, as well as some fantastic wildlife and historic sites along the picturesque stretch of water.

Stretching from the edge of the Cotswolds to the nation's capital, the River Thames passes through gorgeous countryside and charming villages. We start our trip close to the source 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.

This trip is offered on a one-day or two-day basis with both weekday and weekend departures. A picnic lunch is provided on both days, however accommodation between days is not included as part of either package.

This trip can also be offered as tailor-made experience. The date of travel and itinerary can be adjusted to suit you. For more information contact us on with the dates you'd like and number of people taking part. We'll be in touch to chat about putting together your dream swimming experience.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is designed for swimmers who enjoy river swimming and are looking for a chance to experience the beautiful English countryside from the water. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance of around 6km (current-assisted and split over several swims) 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
  • Picnic lunch on Day 1 and Day 2
  • Tea, coffee and snacks between swims

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Accommodation, breakfast, and evening meals

Related Trips

Daily Itineraries

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during the course of your trip, however, actual swims may vary according to local weather and river conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilot will determine the most suitable swims each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

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. After arriving in Kelmscott, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch along the river bank prepared by your SwimTrek guides.

The afternoon is split into two swims through a landscape which has remained 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, the oldest bridge on the Thames, we reach our finish point at Ye Olde Swan.

Day 2

We meet in the morning on the island opposite Ye Olde Swan, 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 oxbows 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’ll stop for lunch on the river bank and provide you with a hearty picnic. After time to rest and relax we head off to Rushey Lock, one of 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 Ye Olde Swan, Radcot-on-Thames, Bampton, OX18 2SX
Finish Time 16:30 on Day 1

Day 2: Radcot to Tadpole Bridge

Start / Finish Point Location / Time
Start Point Ye Olde Swan, Radcot-on-Thames, Bampton, OX18 2SX
Start Time 09:00 on Day 2
Finish Point The Trout Inn (Tadpole Bridge), Buckland Marsh, Faringdon, SN7 8RF
Finish Time 16:30 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) Towel
Swimming Goggles* (x2) Waterproof Jacket
Sunhat and Sunglasses Sweater/Fleece
Waterproof Sun Cream Walking Shoes
Small Daypack Aqua Shoes

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

Please note that SwimTrek will supply swim hats and 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. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Day 1

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

Day 2

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

*Please note that these swims are an example of what may take place during your trip and should be used as a guide only. Actual swims may vary according to local weather and river conditions.

Swimming Conditions

While this part of the River Thames is amongst the cleanest and healthiest in the country, water quality can sometimes be an issue due to water run off from the fields. Blue-green algae can be present and there is a low risk of Weil’s disease from this type of river swimming. More information about Weil’s disease, including a handy information card, will be provided at the start of your trip. If you do feel unwell at any stage during or after the trip, you should go to your GP immediately and tell them you have been river swimming.


Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
July/August 17-21°C / 63-70°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 two 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 Ye Olde Swan is by car. 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 to Buscot Lock, the best postcode to use is SN7 8DA. When you get to Lechlade, take the A417 to Buscot and follow the 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 for a small cost of around £4 a day. The car park in Buscot is owned by the National Trust. If you are a member please do bring your NT card or sticker to benefit from free parking.

If travelling by public transport, we recommend taking a train to Swindon and then connecting with the Stagecoach bus to Lechlade Markets. For more details on bus timetables, please visit Stagecoach. From Lechlade, you can either walk along the river path (approximately one hour) or catch a taxi, which takes approximately 15 minutes. To book a taxi, please contact CT’s Taxis on +44 (0)1367 252575 or SkyLine Private Hire on +44 (0)1285 711123. Alternatively, if travelling by taxi directly from Swindon to Buscot Lock (approximately 40 minutes drive), we would recommend contacting V Cars on +44 (0)1793 701701.

Upon finishing the trip, the SwimTrek guides can provide you with a taxi number should you need to organise a transfer back to the swim.

Getting There On Day 2

If you are driving to Ye Olde Swan, the best postcode to use is OX18 2SX. At Faringdon, follow the signs onto the A4095 towards Witney (there is a sharp left turn off Church Street onto Radcot Road). Continue on this road for approximately 5km, 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 field sits opposite Ye Olde Swan and is where you will meet your guides.

If travelling via public transport, we recommend taking a train to Swindon or Oxford, then connecting with the Stagecoach bus to Faringdon. For more details on bus timetables, please visit: Stagecoach. From Faringdon, you can catch a taxi to Ye Olde Swan, which takes approximately 10 minutes. We recommend using Faringdon Cars, who can be reached on +44 (0)1367 243838 or via: Alternatively, if travelling by taxi directly from Swindon to Ye Olde Swan (approximately 30 minutes drive), we would recommend contacting V Cars on +44 (0)1793 701701. If travelling by taxi directly from Oxford, please contact 001 Taxis on +44 (0)1865 240000.

Upon finishing the trip, the SwimTrek guides can provide you with a taxi number should you need to organise a transfer back to the swim.

Practical Information


As this trip is offered on a one-day or two-day basis, accommodation is not included as part of your package. This gives you the flexibility to stay wherever you prefer before, during and after your trip.

If you would like to book 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 which our guests have often used in previous years.

B&B Contact Website
The New Inn Hotel, Lechlade 01367 252296
The Plough Inn 01367 253543
The Trout at Tadpole Bridge 01367 870382


A picnic lunch on the riverbank is provided for all guests on both Day 1 and Day 2 of the trip. If you have any special dietary requirements, please ensure that these are listed in the relevant section of your SwimTrek profile prior to your trip.

Extra Expenses

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

Passports and Visas

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

Health Information

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to the UK, including all recommended and required vaccinations, please visit Travel Health Pro. Please note that this information is subject to change and you should re-check this site regularly prior to your trip.

Travel Plugs & Electricity

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit World Standards.

  • A SwimTrek adventure makes me feel alive!

    Diana, UK - 2020
  • Great trip - really enjoyed it all! So pleased the trip could go ahead with social distancing precautions. Very well organised, safe and fun. Really refreshing especially when every other swim event has had to cancel, so thank you SwimTrek for making it happen in 2020!

    Alison, UK - 2020
  • We had a wonderful time on the Thames trip ! Thanks to the guides for making it a great day :)

    Despina, UK - 2020
  • This is a wonderful experience with expert coaches and friendly swimmers. I loved doing this trip a second year in a row! Thank you SwimTrek. Hugely appreciated!

    Sophie, UK - 2020
  • SwimTrek provides you with an excellent open swimming experience, with great guides and all of the organisation taken care of for you.

    Clinton, UK - 2020
  • Any swimmers hesitating about river swimming in the UK, it is sublime!

    Jane, UK - 2020
  • A wonderful introduction to SwimTrek, thank you!

    Chloe, UK - 2020
  • You did so well considering the difficult covid-19 circumstances. Our guides were the friendliest most helpful guys around. Thanks to you all.

    Celia, UK - 2020
  • SwimTrek blows the Lockdown cobwebs away! Back to nature with fantastically knowledgeable guides in beautiful locations.

    Etty, UK - 2020
  • Fantastic day with a lovely group led by two super guides, really lovely opportunity to test out whether a longer swimming holiday is for me.

    Lissa, UK - 2019
  • A really great day. Lovely friendly people. A lots of swimming and a lot of laughing! Brilliant!

    Sophie, UK - 2019
  • I never knew there were bits of the Thames that were so wild. An enchanting trip with knowledgeable guides in great company.

    Alisa A, UK - 2019
  • This is a brilliant trip, safe, well organised, relaxed, and in a fantastic location.

    J D, UK - 2019
  • An absolutely lovely trip with beautiful scenery, lovely conditions, great participants and excellent team.

    Andrew C, UK - 2019
  • I could kick myself for not booking sooner. It was everything that I hoped for; great swims through a beautiful part of the country, run by people who I genuinely enjoyed spending time with. One of the best trips I've been on. I will definitely book again.

    Patrick E, UK - 2018
  • Swimming in the Thames was truly lovely - clean, silky water, beautiful countryside, peaceful atmosphere. I loved it.

    Jane T, UK - 2017
  • When I completed the 6km swim in the amazing Thames scenery, although tired, I have never felt so alive !

    Michael L, UK - 2017
  • Swimming downstream from locks to pubs with swans, cygnets and kingfishers was bliss.... For me, gliding under those beautiful blonde Cotswold bridges was exquisite and I will do it again next year. The safety escort allowed me to fully enjoy and appreciate the river from this special perspective. Marvellous and memorable, thank you!

    Linda S, UK - 2017
  • The trip totally exceeded my expectations. The locations and duration of the swims were well planned, I felt I really achieved something whilst also feeling like it was a holiday.

    Robin O, UK -2017
  • I greatly enjoyed my swims on the upper Thames. The water felt fresh and clean and the countryside we meandered through was really beautiful. We were looked after extremely well by all the company's representatives. As with previous SwimTrek trips I have been on, there was an interesting mix of guests who were of mixed ability level, but united in a passion for outdoor swimming. Everyone was helped to swim well, but it didn't end up seeming competitive. I am very much looking forward to my next trip with SwimTrek and fortunately only have a month to wait!

    Daniel J, UK - 2017
  • One of the things I love about SwimTrek is that everyone , both swimmers and guides, are so friendly.

    Jenny K, UK - 2017

Book with Confidence

Our new flexible booking conditions include a 7-day refund guarantee and free trip changes.

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