Carl Goes London Islands is a new book that takes a closer look at the islands along the River Thames. The river has an astonishing number of islands – almost 200 – and this book explores 65 of the islands in the Greater London area. Some islands are nature reserves or totally wild, overgrown and uninhabited. Other islands are inhabited by people who have chosen a unique way of life. While some of these inhabited islands have road or foot bridges, others require inhabitants to reach the ‘mainland’ under their own steam by boat.
Here we take a look at some of the islands closest to The Runnymede on Thames, with some excerpts from Carl Goes London Islands.
Turn left onto the Thames Path from The Runnymede on Thames.
The first island you’ll see along the river is simply called The Island. Connected to the opposite riverbank by a road bridge, The Island is home to around 20 families.
Further along the river is Magna Carta Island, which has an illustrious history. The island is named after the Magna Carta charter King John sealed in the area in 1215. The island is home to the ruins of an old Benedictine nunnery and is the location where Henry VIII is said to have courted Ann Boleyn.
“George Harcourt, the lord of a local manor, built a gothic house on the island in the 1830s… The island has been owned and leased by a range of fascinating characters ever since, including an MP, Sir Patrick Hannon, and Miss Alberto Catherine Bigelow, an American author. The Queen even visited in 1974 to plant a tree in the garden.” – Excerpt from Carl Goes London Islands
Pat’s Croft Eyot is next, a private island with a house and various boats moored to it, with a picturesque wooden footbridge connecting it to the riverbank. On the mainland nearby is the National Trust tearoom and various Magna Carta monuments and artworks.
Turn right onto the Thames Path from The Runnymede on Thames.
The first island along the river in this direction is called Holm Island. It has just one house on it called The Nest, and was the former hideaway of the future King Edward VIII, where he courted Mrs Wallis Simpson during the 1930s.
Church Island is the next island along the river – an inhabited island with six homes on it.
“Some historians believe the island was crossed by a Roman bridge, marking a waypoint on the Devil’s Highway route to Londinium.” – Excerpt from Carl Goes London Islands
Further along the river is Truss’s Island, an uninhabited island accessible by two wooden footbridges. It’s named after Charles Truss, known for improving the navigability of the River Thames and thus increasing trade opportunities along the waterway. The island is now a park, with picnic areas, fishing platforms and wildlife feeding steps.
Carl Goes London Islands recommends you get out on the river and get a closer look at the islands for yourself using one of the boats available to hire at The Runnymede on Thames. We couldn’t agree more!