Barnes Bridge (Chiswick) to Embankment
|Upstream: Putney to Richmond||Back to Main Page||Downstream: Island Gardens to Embankment|
|Upstream: Barnes Bridge to Teddington||South: The London Eye to Putney||Downstream: Greenwich to the London Eye|
This walk follows the Thames east from Barnes Bridge passing through Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham and Chelsea. Continuing east from Chelsea the walk takes in the sights of central London including the Tate, Houses of Parliament and London Eye, finishing at Embankment.
Getting to the Start
This walk starts from the north side of the Thames by Barnes Bridge. As this walk is close to central London it is recommended to travel by public transport if possible, as parking is also very limited. If you do travel by car it is best to head for Barnes on the south side of the river. Barnes is reached from the A316 (which is the continuation of the M3 motorway). Continue on the A316 until you cross Twickenham bridge. Go straight on along the A316 at the junction ahead in Richmond and at the next junction fork right onto the A3003 into Mortlake and along the river. From the M4 motorway at junction 1 continue forward onto the A4 and at the next roundabout (The Hogarth Roundabout) turn right onto the A316 and cross via Chiswick Bridge. Turn left at the junction ahead onto the A3003 into Mortlake and on beside the Thames into Barnes. There is no off-street parking as far as I am aware in Barnes. There is on-street parking around Barnes green and by the Thames but much of it is all either restricted to 1 or 2 hours or residents only, although the restrictions at the time of writing only apply from 10am to midday on weekdays. South of Barnes Bridge at the time of writing (February 2008) there are no parking restrictions although the local council is consulting to introduce restrictions here too so if these are introduced it is likely to be residents only too.
By public transport, the nearest station is Barnes Bridge, on the bridge itself. Barnes Bridge has frequent train services from London Waterloo (for London UndergrounD Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo and City Lines), Vauxhall (for London UndergrounD Victoria line) and Clapham Junction. There are also direct trains to Barnes Bridge from Richmond (for London UndergrounD District line) and to Hounslow, Feltham, Staines, Chertsey and Weybridge. All trains to Barnes Bridge are operated by South West Trains. The journey from London Waterloo takes around 20 minutes.
If you start from Barnes Bridge railway station (or park in Barnes), cross the Thames via the railway bridge, which has a footpath running along side the tracks and take the steps down onto the north side of the river. Follow the promenade north past the boat houses on the left, which can be a hive of activity at weekends.
|The Thames at Barnes||Barnes Bridge|
|Barnes||The Thames at Barnes|
There is a pleasant promenade here with playing fields to the left and the Thames to the right through the trees. Follow the promenade north and when the walk leaves the recreation area you can continue north along a river side promenade past Chiswick Pier. On the opposite bank here is a nature reserve. Ahead the path continues by the river and turns left, continuing on the river bank near the church. You turn right and follow the road, Chiswick Mall east. This is a lovely area of London with huge houses on the left some of which have private gardens on the right. Although this stretch of the path is along a road there is very little traffic and it is a lovely and peaceful stretch of the path. This is clearly a desirable place to live and that is certainly reflected in the local house prices! Soon you have Chiswick Eyot to the right a small un-developed island in the river.
Continuing along Chiswick Mall you soon have some houses to the right, blocking views of the river. Continue along Chiswick Mall as you soon have views of the river again and the road becomes Upper Mall with houses to the left. Follow this road east past Hammersmith Pier to enter Furnival Gardens. This park has a pleasant riverside promenade along it's length which you follow and at the end of the park continue straight on along the riverside path towards Hammersmith Bridge. This is a lovely and quite ornate green bridge that has been the scene of several attempted terrorist bombs over the years. To the right of the bridge on the opposite side of the river can be seen the Harrods Depository, now converted to flats.
|Hammersmith Bridge||Harrods Depository|
Beyond the bridge there is a brief section of river side path before you must briefly leave the rivers edge. Take the road (Queen Caroline Street) and take the first right, Crisp Road. At the end of this road turn left into Chancellors Road and then take the first right, Distillery Road. At the end of this road turn right into Wilnslow Road to rejoin the river. Turn left and you can now continue along the river side past some modern developments. When the path comes to an end turn left around the building then follow the Thames path sign beside the beer garden of a pub to return to the riverside where you turn left. You can now follow the river side path again all the way to the ground of Fulham Football Club. This is (at least at the time of writing) a premiership club and they certainly have a lovely location for the ground! Take the path left with the back of the stand to your right and then turn right into Stevenage Road at the end to pass the front of the ground, which now also includes a cafe. The front of the ground has clearly not changed for many years - some of the entrance doors are very narrow!
|Fulham Football club|
Once past the ground turn right to enter Bishops Park where you return to the river and follow the riverside promenade. This is a lovely park that is quite large and the river side promenade is dominated by the famous Plane trees. To the left is Fulham Palace, open to the public (free of charge at the time of writing) and worth a visit. Continue through this attractive park until you reach Putney Bridge.
|Bishops Park||Bishops Park|
On the opposite side of the bridge is Putney town centre. Turn left beside the bridge and then right where you can take the tunnel through the bridge.
Once under the bridge turn right to rejoin the river side path. Follow the river path over a dock until you get to Putney Railway bridge ahead, carrying the District line over the Thames. Here you turn left and then right into Ranleigh Gardens under the railway line. Follow this road and ahead you can see the entrance to Hurlingham Park but the bit ahead is private and staff prevent access. Instead turn left along Mapier Avenue and at the end of this road turn right into Hurlingham Road. Turn right just after this point to enter Hurlingham Park which mainly consists of sports pitches and fields. Take the main path until it turns left and then right towards the car park. Before you enter the car park turn left and then follow the path around the running track. and then turn left to take the grass between the football and rugby pitches to leave the park and enter Broomhouse Lane. Turn right and follow the road with it's narrow traffic calming all the way back to the Thames beside a small dock area. Turn left and you can briefly follow the river but when the way is blocked ahead turn left along the path and when it meets a road (Carnwath Road) turn right past the disused wharf on the right and then take the path back right down to the Thames beyond. Once you rejoin the Thames turn left and follow the path beside industrial units to Wandsworth Bridge ahead, a more modern affair with blue painted squares. The road is very busy and you must climb onto the bridge and turn left beside the road. Cross at the crossing ahead and go straight on into Town Mead Road. Follow this road until you come to a Sainsburys supermarket on the right. Walk through the car park here (this is the official route) and you'll find a riverside path which you take and turn left past the shop. Continue north along the Thames past some houses and soon you come to the modern Imperial Wharf development around Chelsea Harbour. A new riverside path has been created here so if you are using the official guide book note that the route shown in here now differs. You come to the railway bridge carrying the West London Line over the Thames and continue into Chelsea Harbour. You turn left and cross the bridge over the entrance to the marina, usually packed with expensive yachts.
|West London Line railway bridge||Differing generations of buildings in Wandsworth|
Once over the path return to the Thames and follow the river side path ahead. The path ends as it comes towards the former Lots Road power station. This power station used to power the entire London UndergrounD system, but was closed in around 2000, with the UndergrounD now taking power from the National Grid. The power station will I presume be redeveloped. Here though we must divert from the river front to get round the power station. Turn left into Admiral Square and then follow the road as it becomes Chelsea Harbour Drive. At the end turn right and take the first road on the right, Lots Road with a pub on the left and then houses and the old power station to the right. Continue along Lots Road until you see a small park (Cremone Gardens) on the right. There are seats and toilets here as well as a small jetty to view the Thames from. Continue straight on along the road to join the main road where you turn right. The path now follows beside the busy Embankment all the way to central London. Originally, the buildings on the left would have fronted the Thames, but the Embankment was built over the river, forming a new river bank. Ahead you have Battersea Bridge which you need to cross via the pedestrian crossing. Once over continue along Chelsea Embankment with the beautiful Albert Bridge ahead. This is a particularly attractive and very ornate bridge.
|Battersea Bridge||Battersea Bridge|
Follow the tree-lined embankment all the way to the next bridge, Chelsea Bridge. On the south side of the river is Battersea Park and you can see the gold Peace Pagoda roughly half way between Albert and Chelsea Bridge. When you reach Chelsea Bridge cross the busy road and continue straight on beside Grosvenor Road.
|Chelsea Embankment||Battersea Power Station|
Almost immediately you pass under Grosvenor bridge carry trains into London Victoria station. Beyond you have railway sidings to the left. Continue along the tree lines street past Westminster Boating base on the right. Just beyond this you must briefly leave the river side past some office buildings and then you can return to the river as you now approach Vauxhall Bridge. On the opposite bank is the huge St Georges Wharf development of very tall glass and metal flats and the brightly coloured Vauxhall Bridge ahead. Cross the bridge via the pedestrian crossing to the left and then pass the river side gardens on the left. On the opposite bank is the MI6 building (also known as Vauxhall Cross).
|Vauxhall Bridge||Vauxhall Cross|
You continue on the path beside Millbank passing the Tate Britain art gallery on the left.
Ahead you now have the sights of Central London. Continue over the crossing to Lambeth Bridge and you can then enter a park to the right, Victoria Tower Gardens with the beautiful Palace of Westminster ahead. There is a river side path through the park so follow this until the Palace of Westminster (or houses of Parliament) block the way ahead.
|The Palace of Westminster||The Palace of Westminster|
|The Palace of Westminster||Parliament Square|
Here turn left to re-join the main road where you turn right and pass the Houses of Parliament. Suddenly you'll find the streets thronged with tourists coming to visit this beautiful part of London. To the left you pass Westminster Abbey and them come to Parliament Square with Big Ben on the right. Cross the road ahead and then turn right along Westminster Bridge with the Government offices to the left and lovely Big Ben to the right.
|The Palace of Westminster||Big Ben|
Before you come to the river take the steps down to the left and follow the river side path with stunning views of the London Eye on the opposite bank with the old County Hall behind (now housing an Aquarium).
|The London Eye||County Hall|
You pass the RAF Memorial on the right, with it's gold top and a couple of boats now used as floating pubs. Ahead is the railway bridge into Charing Cross station, Hungerford Bridge. Two new foot bridges have been built either side of this offering lovely views along the Thames and back to Parliament. On the left is Embankment station where the walk ends.
|The RAF Monument||The Thames from Hungerford Bridge|
The walk ends at Embankment station which is served by the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo UndergrounD lines. To the left is Charing Cross station with over-ground trains to south London, Kent and Surrey. If you are returning to Barnes take one of the footbridges beside the Hungerford Bridge over the river and then follow the signs to Waterloo station, around a five minute walk away. From here you will find frequent trains (generally 4 times an hour Monday - Saturday, less frequent on Sundays) back to Barnes Bridge. Trains from Waterloo to Barnes and Barnes Bridge are operated by South West Trains. For details of London UndergrounD services and local bus services see Transport for London.
The following web sites provide information on the area.
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