The River Thames is one of the most famous waterways in the UK, and in fact, the world. The 215-mile long river has been captured in paintings by Monet and many other legendary artists, while the riverside itself has attracted weekend visitors and summertime holidaymakers for centuries. The Victorians, in particular, loved nothing more than to travel out of London by boat and spend weekends in summer cabins dotted up and down the river. The modern day Thames holds a similar attraction.
The Runnymede on Thames Hotel and Spa occupies a pristine part of the riverside next to Bell Weir Lock. The lock itself embodies a little of the river’s history, named after its very first lock keeper, Charles Bell, who was employed by the Thames Navigation Commissioners in 1917. Nowadays this is a place to spot a variety of wildlife, including parakeets, kingfishers and the occasional deer.
It’s an ideal location from which to explore the river by boat and there is a selection of boats available to hire. The Antaris Sixty6 Launch is a firm summertime favourite. With a collapsible roof for balmy days, it comes complete with a drink cooler and a Bluetooth stereo. Make a day of it and take one of our small boxes full of freshly prepared goodies with you too.
For those who enjoy the water but prefer to stay on solid ground, the Whirlpool by the Weir is the place to be. Located on our private jetty, sitting in the al fresco whirlpool with a glass of bubbly in hand must be one of the classiest ways to spend a summertime afternoon.
The riverside path of the Thames is perfect for lazy summertime strolls. Just minutes away from The Runnymede on Thames are Riverside lodgings, boat clubs and moored houseboats, giving a taste of modern day living by our world famous river. Just ten minutes’ walk away is the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds, with a wide open park and grassy knolls by the river to sit and watch the world go by.
A little further upstream, the Riverside becomes more verdant and wooded, with an enchanted river-garden feeling. History lovers are compelled to veer off the riverside path to discover the Magna Carta Memorial, the JFK Memorial and The Jurors artwork, where 12 intricately crafted bronze chairs sit in the middle of an ancient meadow.
Back at The Runnymede on Thames, other outdoor pursuits abound. Capture the spirit of summer on court by playing a game of tennis, with a choice of two astroturf courts and a hard court. Surrounded by hedgerows and gardens, it feels like you’re undertaking a summertime sporting pursuit that is quintessentially British. Finish it off with a Belvoir Elderflower Presse with Mint from The Lounge to complete the feeling.
Relaxing pastimes including swimming in our outdoor pool, reclining in the poolside loungers with a good book and a drink from our pool kiosk, or kicking back on giant bean bags on the riverside lawn. Inside, the spa is another place to unwind, with a pool, whirlpool bath, saunas, poolside loungers and a chill-out lounge with lemon-infused water and other refreshments.
There’s nothing that says summertime more than live music, delivered al fresco of course. Every Sunday during August, we have an array of musicians playing on our riverside terrace. A talented Spanish guitar duo, a pair of jazz musicians and a skilled guitar and fiddle duo will all be playing during the month. Accompanied by a gin and tonic or a crisp glass of wine and mouth-watering sharing platters, the music will transport you to straight to the Mediterranean.
The River Thames has the feeling of combining a spirited history with a vibrant modern day. When it’s time to enjoy the outdoors during the summer, it’s a destination that draws people from far and wide. And with pastimes to suit any whim or fancy, it’s no wonder.