Thames Path: Stage 3 – Mortlake to Hampton Court Palace

Due to Sunday track work my trip to Mortlake was slightly more complicated than leaving last weekend – seriously, better signage around Barnes station would mean happier people all round. Ah well. I got to the Ship pub on the shore of the Thames at a bit before 8:30. Overcast, cool, but the humidity already hanging heavy.

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This length of the Thames had no diversions and the paths seem to have been looked after quite well. This bit is where it’s easy to forget you’re in London still as both banks have long patches of greenery. Kew Gardens is not long from where I started this stretch of my walk, and continues into the Old Deer Park.

The part of Richmond that sits by the river was gearing up for what I assume would have become a busy Sunday, but when I walked through the crowds had yet to descend. Although the cafes that were open already were doing good business.

Despite it being low tide, the rowers and canoeists were out in force, later on joined by motor cruisers as the sun burned through the cloud and it turned into a lovely day.

Immediately out of Richmond I ended up walking contra-flow to a running race. The first few very serious runners were far ahead of the bunches of runners who seemed annoyed that anyone else was sharing their track! As they thinned out and the people having a go took over the vibe became much more friendly, and finally I left them far behind.

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To continue to walk along the river’s edge, you need to cross the Kingston bridge – which comes before the large number of humming cafes, bars and restaurants. I had ear-marked the White Hart (a Fuller’s Pub) to take my lunch (a wise choice) so I crossed the bridge.

Break over, I headed into what’s now called the Barge Walk – a restoration of the north bank’s 5km riverside path from Kingston to Hampton Court Palace. The path splits into two – one for walkers and one for cyclists. Only one cyclist decided to take the walkers’ path, claiming ignorance when some others called him out on it.

I decided to pop into the Palace because it had been a while. The main courtyard was set up for some kind of event, but the whole place was pleasantly crowded.

Then back on to the path for the final bit to Hampton Court Bridge where I ended my walk. Thankfully, the trains were running into Waterloo and my trip home was quite quick.

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According to my FitBit, I walked slightly over 21km (a bit over 13 miles) in about four hours (not including my lunch break). The map is from my FitBit app.

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