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Canal boats on the River Thames

Thames Path Family Trek 2021

Challenge level: 3 out of 5

When can I go?

16 August - 20 August 2021 On Sale
Duration 5 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info $223
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

Can I still choose sponsorship?
Yes, if you'd like to fund your challenge through Sponsorship (whereby your chosen charity will pay for your challenge, provided you raise the minimum sponsorship target of £1,198 6 weeks before the trek) simply get in touch and we can arrange this for you.

Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Thames Path Family Trek 2021

Everyone's welcome (recommended 12 years old+) as we conquer approx. 50 miles over five days on our amazing Thames Path Family Trek.

Prepare to become immersed in a world of fantastical stories, political scandals and the medieval architecture of the Thames Path and its iconic sights, with eye-opening insight from our expert historian guide.

Starting at the source of the River Thames, we'll roam through the unsurpassable natural scenery of the beautiful Cotswold Water Park, discover the canals of Oxford, heavily featured in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, explore the hometown of Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows, and feel like royalty celebrating our achievement in the majestic town of Windsor.

Our adventure ends with an exclusive guided tour of the magnificent Windsor Castle and its grounds, from our expert historian!

You’re then free to make your way home or join us for an amazing optional celebration for the whole family, including those who didn’t join us on the trek.

Round up your family, friends and even your little ones for a treasure hunt around Windsor, ending with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and outdoor family games in a beautiful local park.

Everyone is a winner and all participants on this optional treasure hunt will receive a medal. Each family team will also be given a hardback copy of Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, a truly magical book for every bedtime collection (please note this is optional and not included in your challenge cost).

The challenge is fully supported by our experienced Dream Challenges staff at all times and the following is included:

• There will be backup transport following the group at all times in case anyone is struggling.
Coach transfers included every day.
• Your main luggage will be transported to the next hotel for you so all you have to carry is your day bag.
Qualified First Aid cover for the duration of the challenge.

See the FAQs for all the other awesome things included in the challenge.

Your itinerary

Day 1
Cotswold Water Park – Thames River Source, Kemble – Cricklade | approx. 10 miles/16km

Our adventure commences with registration near Kemble (location TBC). After an exciting challenge briefing, we transfer to the source of the River Thames and the trek begins!

We see only whispers of the river at first as we follow its dry course westwards. Soon, puddles start to appear, then a trickle, then a stream. Winding through the beautiful Cotswold Water Park nature reserve, we listen and look out for all sorts of animals and plant life, including dragonflies, herons and swifts and if we’re lucky, we may spot an otter or a water vole.

The infant river guides us through lush, rural landscapes, through the pretty village of Ashton Keynes. Trekking on, we reach the small parish of Cricklade, the first town on the Thames, midway between Swindon and Cirencester. After a stunning day’s walk, we transfer to our hotel.

Day 2
New Bridge – Oxford | approx. 14 miles/ 22.5km

After a delicious, fresh breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to the New Bridge, nestled in rural Oxfordshire, which was built and so aptly named in the 13th Century, making it one of the two oldest surviving bridges on the Thames.

We spend another day roaming through picture-perfect, rural scenery and can now admire a colourful variety of boats that wouldn’t have been able to navigate yesterday’s small stream.

The Thames Path takes us through lush fields and meadows, where we may see cows milling about. We also encounter a few locks and pretty gardens lining our path, before reaching the ancient remains of the 12th Century Godstow Abbey, where the 'Fair Rosamund' de Clifford, Henry II's mistress, was buried.

Trekking on, we become immersed in the world of literature passing the historic Trout Inn, where CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and the ‘Inklings’ would meet in summer. If you’re an Inspector Morse fan, you’ll likely recognise the inn, as it’s featured in several episodes.

One more mile and we’ve made it to the next majestic city of Oxford, a key setting in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. We find our comfortable hotel in the city and settle down for the night.

Day 3
Oxford – Wallingford – Tilehurst | approx. 13 miles / 20.8km

Waking to breakfast at our hotel, we bid Oxford goodbye and transfer (approx. half an hour) to the start of our next stretch in the historic Wallingford. Once a thriving town of Royal Status with its castle and own Royal Mint in the Middle Ages, Wallingford is another quintessentially English market-town on the Thames, making it the perfect place to start walking.

We‘re treated to the best scenery of the day straight away, walking through Wind in the Willows country. The path leads us through Wallingford and into the countryside, under rustic railway bridges, through manicured meadows and the ancient village of Chosley, the resting place of Agatha Christie.

Hiking along idyllic country lanes, we may spot a few sheep as we pass Cleeve Lock and approach the thatched houses and ancient mill of Goring-on-Thames. Its twin town, Streatley, sits on the other side of the river and so the Thames Path gives us views of both.

We pass a magnificent white house and walk under a bridge to enter more picture-perfect countryside. Meandering along beautiful tree-lined lanes, we walk through Whitchurch and at last reach Pangbourne, home to Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows. We can also find the Swan Inn in the town, where the Three Men in a Boat end their journey and the handsome Mapledurham Estate.

From here, we transfer to our hotel in Reading.

Day 4
Reading – Marlow – Windsor | approx. 13 miles / 20.8km

As usual, our day starts with breakfast at our hotel and a transfer to our next section of the challenge. Hopping off our coach in the village of Marlow, we cross the lock and enter another gorgeous stretch of meadowland, which will now become less frequent as the Thames Path grows more populous.

We enter story book land as we wander through Bourne End, home to writers Enid Blyton and Edgar Wallace. Our route then takes us through the Cock Marsh to the literally picture-perfect Cookham, where the artist Stanley Spencer lived and featured it in many of his creations.

We trek through the churchyard and now pass the striving 19th Century Cliveden Estate, where Profumo and Keeler started their illicit fair, one of the largest political scandals in twentieth-century British politics!

We push on and the Thames truly becomes the Royal River, as we draw closer to Windsor. More rowers and swans pass us as we roam through Bray, known for its exceptional restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and on past the 2012 Olympic rowing venue of Eton Dorney Lakes.

Windsor lies ahead and we end our challenge in the shadow of Windsor Castle itself. After making the most of this ideal photo opportunity, we head to our hotel to freshen up. Now all there’s left to do is celebrate our awesome achievement! Tonight, we toast our success over a delicious dinner in the town.

Day 5
Windsor | Tour of Windsor Castle and Optional Family Fun Afternoon

Our challenge culminates in the best way today, with an exclusive guided tour of Windsor Castle from our expert historian, included in your challenge costs!

After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll meet our expert historian, who will give us fascinating insight as we explore the magnificent castle and its grounds.

You’re then free to make your own way home at your leisure or join us after lunch for an optional afternoon of fun, outdoor activities, suitable for anyone and everyone, whether or not you joined us for our trek (not included in challenge costs).

After making your own arrangements for lunch in Windsor (not included), round up your family, friends and even your little ones for an enthralling treasure hunt around the historic town.

As a team, you will use your knowledge of the Royal Family and wit to navigate your way along our route of checkpoints and clever clues through Windsor. Prepare to meet some historical characters on the way and learn funny and interesting facts about the Royal Family.

Take it at your own pace and don’t worry if you get stuck – our team will be in the town throughout the challenge and always contactable through our event control team. We'll give you hints where you'll find your next clue.

Your treasure lies at the end of the challenge: a medal for everyone, plus a hardback copy of Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame for every family group, a truly magical book for every bedtime collection.

We’ll finish the day with an awesome Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with outdoor family games in a beautiful local park. There will be ample seating and shelter for everyone, so rain or shine, we’ll have an incredible day together. Kick back and wind down with a cuppa, cucumber sandwiches and cake, before making your way home.

This is where our adventure ends, so accommodation is not included tonight. Please make your own way home at your leisure or make your own accommodation arrangements if you would like to stay in Windsor a little longer.

We’ll send all participants details of pricing and how to book places for this awesome family fun afternoon closer to the challenge date.

If this family fun afternoon isn’t your cup of tea, please feel free to opt out and make your way home after our tour of Windsor Castle or spend more time exploring Windsor as you wish.

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Funding options

Self Funded

Pay your registration fee and your challenge costs yourself.

$899

Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £149, which is used to administer the challenge and pay deposits to suppliers.
  • Pay the challenge costs of £599 yourself 6 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover your food, accommodation, transfers, luggage transportation and back-up vehicle, entry fee and guided tour of Windsor Castle, full challenge support and medical support, including a team of first-aid trained challenge guides.
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can for the charity, hospice or animal sanctuary of your choice or make a personal donation.
  • Please note, the Family Fun Afternoon at the end of the challenge is not included in your challenge costs.
Book my place

FAQs
Thames Path Family Trek 2021

We understand if you're worried about making plans right now because of COVID-19, but please rest assured that your health and safety are always our highest priorities.

We are delighted to be leading the industry with our 14-step initiative to minimise the risk of coronavirus.

If the challenge can’t happen on the planned date because of COVID-19, we would postpone the challenge until later in the year or early next year. We would, of course, let you know as soon as possible and give you the full details so that you can mark the date in your diary.

 

Absolutely! The majority of people sign up to our Dream Challenges on their own and our adventures are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life-long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.

Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for the Thames Path Family Trek 2021.

Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising.

You may also want to reach out to your fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.

We’ll send all participants details of pricing and how to book places for this awesome family fun afternoon closer to the challenge date.

Your registration fee of £149 per person is used to administer the challenge and pay deposits to suppliers.

Your challenge costs of £599 cover:

  • Accommodation on a twin sharing basis
  • Meals throughout the challenge, including snacks and water on trekking days
  • Full event management and support - the Dream Team are on hand from the moment you sign up for the challenge to provide any help you may need and answer any questions
  • A team of first-aid and COVID-19-trained challenge guides
  • Carefully mapped out route following the Thames Path
  • Expert historian guide accompanying us throughout the challenge
  • A celebration meal and night in London at the end of the challenge
  • Extra protocols taken to protect you from COVID-19 - please see our ground-breaking 14-step action plan here
  • A welcome pack with a training guide to help you prepare for the trek
  • Your Thames Path Family Trek 2021 medal
  • Luggage transportation on every trekking day
  • COVID-19 Travel Safety Kits, including hand sanitiser and wipes, a face mask for each day of the challenge and a Sharpe pen to mark your own water bottle
  • Exclusive guided tour of Windsor Castle at the end of our challenge

In addition to paying your registration fee (£149) and either self funding your challenge costs (£599) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£1,198), you will need to budget for your:

  • Personal travel insurance
  • Travel to and from the challenge starting point
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Your lunch on Day 5 after our tour of Windsor Castle
  • Dinner and accommodation on Day 5, should you choose to stay in Windsor after our challenge ends
  • Optional afternoon of family fun on Day 5, including a treasure hunt around Windsor, Mad Hatter's Tea Party, seating and shelter and outdoor family games in Windsor. 

You will need to bring your own water bottle and you must wear comfortable hiking boots. Your day bag needs to be at least 35 litres to carry sufficient water for the day, along with your waterproofs, snacks and personal items.

We'll send all participants a free Travel Safety Kit ahead of the challenge and it's essential you bring this with you to minimise both your own and your fellow participants' risk of COVID-19.

Your Travel Safety Kit will include hand sanitiser, anti-bac wipes and two face masks (one for each day of the challenge).

All meals are provided, but you may want to bring any snacks you want to nibble on along the way. 

This trek is suitable for anyone looking for a challenge this year. It's the perfect motivation to get fit, improve your own mental and physical health and opt to support your favourite charity in a huge way.

Once you register for the challenge, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we start our adventure.

Absolutely. We encourage solo trekkers and teams alike to join us for the challenge.

Our Dream Challenges are renowned for their camaraderie, so it's a fantastic opportunity to strengthen bonds between teammates and/or make new friends there. 

Join us with your friends and family or take it on as a corporate challenge and show your commitment to corporate social responsibility while having the time of your life. You could even take this opportunity to raise funds for your charity of the year.

You can commit to a sponsorship target or choose to self fund with a personal donation or some optional fundraising.

Your luggage and food will be transported to our accommodation each day, so you will only need to carry a day pack containing essential accessories and equipment. Please make sure your day pack has at least a 35 litre capacity, so that you can carry sufficient water for the day, along with your other things.

We recommend carrying a small day bag with you as we walk, to keep your free Travel Safety Kit, water bottle (ideally at least two litres) and phone/camera, along with any other personal items you want to hand.

We'll start our challenge in the Cotswold Water Park Nature Reserve, which has fantastic public transport connections. Please click here for up-to-date information on train times and tickets.

We will send all participants details of the start venue and parking details (included) once finalised.

Our challenge culminates in Windsor, which is fantastically well connected. Find everything you need to know about getting to and from Windsor here.

You need to be 12 years old or over to take part in Thames Path Family Trek 2021. There's no maximum age limit. One of the amazing things about this challenge is that it brings people of all ages and from all walks of life together for one amazing event.

Younger children may participate if given permission by the event organisers. Please get in touch with us to discuss this. Simply email events@dream-challenges.com and we'll be happy to help.

Yes, if you'd like to fund your challenge through Sponsorship (whereby your chosen charity will pay for your challenge, provided you raise the minimum sponsorship target of £1,198 6 weeks before the trek) simply get in touch and we can arrange this for you.

Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we contact the charity you want to support on your behalf. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

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