The Thames Path has been voted the second best urban walk in the world in Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures, beaten only by the Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro and triumphing over the Great Coastal Walk in Sydney, Hoerikwaggo Trail in Cape Town and Berlin Wall Trail.
One of England’s 13 national trails, the Thames Path winds alongside the iconic river after which it is named for 184 miles from the rural Cotswolds to the Thames Barrier in east London, but is perhaps best known for its sections in the capital itself.
Described by Lonely Planet as “a London highlights reel”, the guide also emphasises the contrasts walkers can expect as they journey along the trail from “the leafy emptiness of the riverbank through Richmond and Kew” to “the chaos of the South Bank”.
Although it missed out on the top spot, for Ramblers campaigns officer Anastasia French the Thames Path is still the world’s finest city walk. “It’s because it takes in the many sights of the greatest city in the world,” says Anastasia. “It’s also filled with hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered.”
Also in the top 10 list of great city trails was Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, voted at number nine. "Whereas the Thames Path is a gentle flow through the centre of London, Arthur’s Seat is a brilliant clamber to the top for a fabulous view of the city."
Ramblers member David Sharp pioneered the Thames Path, writing a guide in 1981 and campaigning for access to the path from riverside developments. It was officially recognised as a national trail in 1996 joining the ranks of paths including the Pennine Way and Offa’s Dyke Path.
Find out more about the Thames Path and other national trails.