Length 9.7 km (6 miles), terrain: flat
London Running Routes:
Best London Running Routes: Overview
Docklands-LimehouseRegent's Canal and Camden Town
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park
Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor
Wimbledon Common Trail Run
Royal Docks/ExCeL Route
Kew / Brentford Thames Run
For more running routes, see Route List.
The Thames riverside in London is lined by a chain of fascinating neighborhoods, most with a uniquely British feel. They range along the whole river, from the wide industrial horizons of the tidal surge in the east, at Woolwich, to the meandering, tree-lined mellowness in Richmond and Kingston in the west, with relaxed swans gliding past houseboats hung with window-boxes.
This route follows the Thames in the west, out past Hammersmith and Chiswick. On the one side is resurgent neighborhood of Brentford, where the smaller River Brent flows into the Thames. On the other side is elegant Kew with its famous Kew Gardens, one of the most impressive botanical gardens in the world.
|Houses along Kew Green|
This route begins at Kew Bridge, and then heads upriver to the west, heading out along one shore of the Thames, then returning on the other shore. There is a lot of variety: with nature, islands, houseboats, shipwrecks, canals, old shipyards and warehouses, a dam, parks and a big palace, Syon House.
|Looking upriver along the route from Kew Bridge|
Cross the bridge to the south side, where Kew begins. Now, turn right to head west along the tree-lined riverside path.
NOTE: The pleasant neighborhood of Kew is worth running through, too, just south of the bridge. Go discover it sometime!
|The start of the trail|
The brick wall of Kew Gardens lines the way to our left. Unfortunately, we won't get any good views of the gardens from here, but the Thames itself is entertaining enough.
Most of this half of the run is full of nature, with woods lining both sides of the river.
After we pass Kew Gardens, at about the 2.5-km mark, it looks as if we're running along a narrow causeway, with water to both sides. This is the beginning of the golf course, which stretches off to the east.
The river now curves southwards and takes you by another wooded island, Isleworth Eyot. It kind of reminds me of Tom Sawyer country.
|The obelisk in the Old Deer Park|
Richmond begins right after that next bridge ahead, Twickenham Bridge, but that's part of the Richmond Park Run (try it!).
So let's go up the stairs to take the arched footbridge above the dam to Isleworth on the other side.
|Beginning of trail in Isleworth|
|Crossing Isleworth Common|
|Start of Church Street|
You'll pass a boat's ramp at All Saints Church, and then Church Street turns left to leave the river.
|Along Church Street|
|Syon Park meadows|
There are wide meadows at the beginning, then you'll pass Syon House, the duke's London home, at the 6-km mark. Keep going straight along the road, with the Hilton Hotel parking lot along the left side.
But this road is a bit too loud for my taste, so when we cross the bridge over the River Brent, take the steps down to the right, leading to the tow path along the canal-like river.
NOTE: If you want to explore some more, you can also run the other direction, upriver along the Brent, past a quickly redeveloping area with some huge corporate headquarters.
|The River Brent, from the High Street bridge|
Just before you come to a little harbor basin, the tow-path switches sides: you have to cross a narrow footbridge to the south side, then continue along the Brent until the next bridge.
Now turn left to cross the bridge along Dock Road, and head north away from the river. Dock Road will take you back to Brentford High Street in just a hundred meters, heading by some industrial businesses.
|In Watermans Park|
After passing Ealing Road and a McDonald's, you'll see Watermans Park to your right side, along the river. Run down into the park to continue running directly along the water.
There are some sunken boats along the waterfront here, across from Brentford Ait.
|Cool old sunken steamship|
Back along the quiet riverside, just keep running the few steps back to Kew Bridge, passing more houseboats and riverside pubs until you arrive at the old brick bridge.
There you are, another great London run!