The final stretch of the non-tidal Thames runs from Old Windsor through bustling and cosmopolitan towns and tranquil countryside, passing historic palaces and national monuments to Teddington Lock, the first non-tidal lock on the River Thames.
From Old Windsor Lock, we pass through a part of Windsor Great Park before reaching Magna Carta Island, a site of historic interest.
It was near here in 1215 that King John signed the Magna Carta, a document that limited the power of the monarch and gave legal rights to all.
On the south bank, across the meadows you can pick out the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial on Coopers Hill.
After negotiating Bell Weir lock beside the Runnymede Hotel, the river passes under the A30 and M25 bridges.
On the approach to Staines, recently re-named Staines-upon-Thames, look out for the London Stone which marked the jurisdiction of the City of London over the river. There has been a bridge at Staines since Roman times. In those days the next bridge downstream was London Bridge.
The bridge over Penton Hook Lock provides access to Penton Hook Island, a nature reserve. Close by is Penton Hook Marina.
After passing Laleham Park, we reach Chertsey Lock, soon followed by Chertsey Bridge with a pub on each side of the river. The seven-arch tied arch bridge was built in 1783-85 and is Grade II listed. The town is some way from the river.
The river twists and turns passing the open spaces of Dumsey Meadow and Chertsey Meads before reaching Pharaoh Island. A complex set of waterways mark the junction with the River Wey as the Thames passes through Shepperton Lock and weir. A ferry links the banks just after the lock.
The Desborough Cut (completed in 1935) offers a straight route to Walton, bypassing the winding natural course of the river. Ahead lies Walton Bridge (the 6th bridge on this site opened in 2013). The first Walton Bridge was constructed in 1750 and is featured in a painting by Canaletto.
After passing the former Walton Wharf dating from the 17th century, we reach Sunbury Lock, start of Her Majesty’s annual Swan-Upping. Look out for the original lock-keepers house on the south bank before the lock.
Large reservoirs and a water treatment works dominate the landscape as we head past Platts Eyot and Garrick’s Ait. Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare is on the north bank with the open space of Hurst Park on the south bank.
Molesey Lock acts as a gateway to Hampton Court Bridge and Henry VIII’s Palace with its formal gardens and famous Hampton Court Maze.
The river loops round the large expanse of the Palace’s Home Park passing Thames Ditton Island and Ravens Ait Island before entering Kingston-upon-Thames. A row of restaurants hides the entrance of the River Hogsmill on the approach to Kingston Bridge. The first bridge here was built in 1150.
Continuing downstream past the John Lewis store and under a railway bridge, a gentle bend in the river leads us to Teddinton Lock with its bow shaped weir and Teddington Lock Footbridge.
Teddington Lock is the largest lock on the Thames and the place where the sea meets the freshwater river. The lock complex consists of three locks, a conventional launch lock, a very large barge lock and a small skiff lock. It also marks the boundary point between the Environment Agency, the navigation authority for the non-tidal river, and the Port of London Authority responsible for the tidal Thames.