Part of the Hampton Court Palace Estate
Managed by Historic Royal Palaces
Discover the sights and stories along Barge Walk
Barge Walk runs for 5 km alongside the River Thames from Hampton Court Bridge to Kingston Bridge. This historic towpath has been part of the Hampton
Court estate for 500 years.
Until the eighteenth century, the river was the main transport to Hampton Court Palace from London and royal visitors travelled to the palace in magnificent
state barges. When the palace was opened to the public by Queen Victoria, many visitors arrived on pleasure boats.
Sport and recreation
From the early nineteenth century, pleasure boats punts and rowing boats became a common sight along the shoreline beside the Palace. Waterborne tourists still shared the towpath with horses pulling barges, as well as carts and carriages.
After the opening of Hampton Court railway station in 1849, Barge Walk became increasingly valued by visitors and artists, enjoying its mature trees and grazing horses and cattle. It is a popular spot for boating, walking, cycling and fishing today.
Many species of trees and plants grow here. You might see Great Hairy Willowherb, Water Figwort and several uncommon London
species - Purple Loosestrife, St John's Wort, Great Water Dock and Common Skullcap.
The river is also an important habitat for wildlife. Look out for rare sand martins along the river banks of the Thames at Raven's Ait. Freshwater fish of the Thames include eels, brown trout, chub, dace, roach, barbel, perch, pike, and flounder.
How we care for the area
Historic Royal Palaces is the charity responsible for the care of Hampton Court Palace and its estate. Our team of 42 gardeners and specialists looks after 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres of royal parkland and Barge Walk is an important part of the estate.
We conserve the Barge Walk area to maintain wild flowers and wildlife, managing trees with traditional methods like coppicing and pollarding and maintaining the cycle track.
How you can help us
Please respect the natural environment of Barge Walk and help us to maintain this beautiful area for the benefit of everyone.
By becoming a member of Historic Royal Palaces, your membership will help us to conserve and maintain Hampton Court Palace and its estate, now and in the future.
Historic Royal Palaces is the charity that looks after:
Tower of London
Hampton Court Palace
We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers.