Thames Parks covers a large area by the River Thames near Caversham and Reading in Berkshire. It encompasses several meadows, the Thames Promenade, Caversham Court Gardens and View Island, each with its own appeal, described in more detail below.
Pleasure cruisers operate on both sides of the River Thames making Thames Parks. Big boards show the layout of the area and further information.
The Thames Promenade, accessible all year round, is very popular for walking. It is well suited to pushing prams and wheelchairs, and there are benches to have a rest and enjoy the view of the River Thames. During the summer, a small kiosk offers refreshments.
Several hundred yards along, the river is designated as a swan sanctuary, the kids will just love swan feeding. There also is a large meadow particularly rich in wildflowers. In addition, open grassland as well as shaded areas makes the Thames Promenade an excellent place for picnics and family games.
If you fancy a stroll back into history, take a look at Caversham Court Gardens. It lies within easy walking distance of Christchurch Meadows and has several very old features, primarily from the 17th century. To top it all, you can round of your visit with a nice cuppa from the tea kiosk.
This area offers a children’s play area with lots of different activities, a paddling pool, tennis courts and picnic tables. The riverbank provides safe angling and is safe for wheelchair bound anglers. A variety of wildlife can be enjoyed at the edges of the park: there's a small brook, lined with weeping willows, at the north end, wildflower meadows to the east and water birds, voles, and other wildlife along the river banks. Open grassland and some trees for shade make this a good place for picnics, too.
East of Christchurch Meadows lies Hills Meadow, a comparatively small area much of which serves as a BMX track. Between a small brook and the car park is an area popular with dog walkers, which in summer has abundant wildflowers and insects, especially butterflies.
The main charm of View Island is its unspoilt, informal atmosphere, a sanctuary for wildlife of all kinds. This fairly large island is just downstream from Caversham Lock and can easily be reached via boardwalks from both the lock and Hills Meadow. A circular path, a pond and some benches make this a lovely place to walk and see birds. Please note, dogs are not allowed on View Island.
This water meadow is a good place for some quiet relaxation and outdoor games by the riverside. The edges of the meadow are rich in wildlife, and much of the western waterfront offers a good view of the lock.
How to get there
George Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8BY
Kings Meadow and the Coal Woodland
Napier Road, Reading, RG1 8DF
Caversham, Reading, RG1 8DP
Please note, the map shows the location for Christchurch Meadows, but all Thames Parks areas are fairly close to each other.
There are several large car parks to choose from:
- at the west end of Christchurch Meadows, near Caversham Court (north bank)
- east of Christchurch Meadows, right by Hills Meadow (north bank)
- a small car park at Kings Meadow west end, only a short walk from the lock (south bank)
- a larger car park at Kings Meadow east end (south bank)
- several car parks at the Thames promenade (south bank)
For more information see the Reading Borough Council website.