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Walking the River from Mortlake to Richmond

Home > London > Animals and Wildlife | Free | Outdoor | Views | Walks
by Sue Lancaster (subscribe)
I live and work in west London and enjoy writing as a hobby. Visit my blog at sequinsue.wordpress.com/
Published July 21st 2017
Take in the tranquil Thames


This is a scenic 4.5 mile walk along a quiet and picturesque stretch of the River Thames. Much of the walk is on gravel, with trees casting a cool shade, even on the hottest of days.

From Mortlake Station, walk across the green, cross over the Lower Richmond Road and head along Ship Lane.

The Ship and Stag Brewery
The Ship pub with part of the mighty Stag Brewery behind it


At the end of Ship Lane you will find The Ship - a traditional English pub with fantastic views along the River Thames. This is where our river walk begins. Behind you at this point is The Stag Brewery - now closed for business and due for imminent redevelopment, this is where Budweiser beer was brewed for many years.

If you can resist stopping for a drink, turn left past the pub and walk towards Chiswick Bridge. This bridge marks the end of the famous Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race which takes place every April.

Chiswick Bridge
Chiswick Bridge


Once you've walked under Chiswick Bridge you'll go past Mortlake Crematorium and then Putney Rowing Club. After five or ten minutes more, you will be walking adjacent to Kew Retail Park, where you'll find shops such as Mothercare, Boots and M&S, plus a Costa Coffee if you need refreshments.

Continuing along the tow path, heading towards Kew, you will now be walking alongside The National Archives, where 1000s of original documents and records are kept. If you're interested, entrance is free and there is no need to book.

Kew Railway Bridge
Kew Railway Bridge


Before long you'll get to Kew Railway Bridge, with its distinctive criss-cross pattern. A passing tube train a reminder that you are in fact still in London and not in the middle of the countryside. Once under the railway bridge, you will soon see the first of a number of small islands along this stretch of the Thames, this one is called Oliver's Island.

Kew Railway Bridge and Oliver's Island
The view back to Kew Railway Bridge and Oliver's Island


Not long after that you will reach Kew Bridge, where Kew Pier is situated. From here you can catch a river boat towards Westminster or Richmond and beyond. There is a child's play park on the riverfront here too, and if you leave the river path, you'll quickly get to Kew Green with an array of restaurants encircling it.

Kew Pier
Kew Pier
Kew Bridge children's park
The children's park at Kew Bridge


Once past Kew Bridge, you will be alongside the famous Kew Gardens, which stretches extensively along the river. The very picturesque Kew Palace with its stand-out red brick will become visible as you walk along.

Kew Palace
Kew Palace


During this stretch you will see a couple more islands: Brentford Ait and Lot's Ait. You may well see some house boats too, belonging to people who are lucky enough to call this stretch of river their home.

River Views
River views

Syon House
The mighty Syon House


On the opposite side of the river is the 200-acre Syon Park and you will get a striking view of the immense Syon House as you walk by. At around the same point Kew Gardens opens out a bit and you will be able to catch a glimpse of the Palm House deep inside along the Syon Vista.

View into Kew Gardens
View into Kew Gardens


As soon as you get past Kew Gardens, then you'll begin walking alongside Richmond's Old Deer Park, which is a huge expanse of grassy parkland. You will also see another island in the river called Isleworth Eyot. This island is covered by densely packed trees and provides a sanctuary for more than 57 species of bird life, including the tree-creeper, kingfisher and heron. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse. In fact, during the whole of this walk, you're likely to see a variety of wildlife both on and off the water. My husband even spotted a baby seal on one of his very early morning runs.

River Views
River views


Your river walk is almost over, but before you leave the water's edge you will pass under Twickenham Bridge and Richmond Lock and Footbridge. You are now in Richmond, and you can head inland at any point to take advantage of Richmond Green, the town's many shops, cafes and restaurants, and of course the famous Richmond Park. But, if you carry on just a little bit further you will get to Richmond Bridge; the hub of Richmond's riverfront where people sit and drink and appreciate the pretty river scenes.

I do feel very lucky to have such beauty in the Borough that I live, and of course there are many other points of interest along the way other than the ones I've mentioned.

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Why? To see the immense beauty along the River Thames
When: Anytime
Where: Between Mortlake and Richmond
Cost: Free
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