We’ve decided that our past month in England walking the Thames Path was certainly one of the most enjoyable trips we’ve ever taken. I spent some time computing our actual costs while walking the Path and wanted to share them with you, just in case you might want to take a similar trip. I’ve provided the costs in British £ (GBP) since the currency exchange fluctuates daily. We were on the path for 22 days.
We tended to stay in budget hotels, pubs and Airbnbs. We splurged a couple of times, but pretty much stuck to budget most nights. We opted for places that offered private baths en suite, wifi and when possible, included breakfast. One thing we learned was that Sunday evening rates were significantly reduced. When we wanted to splurge, it was usually a Sunday night. As we progressed on the path and the towns became smaller, accommodations on short notice were a bit scarce and sometimes harder to come by. Midway, when we knew the walking distances would not be an issue, we finally made reservations for all the remaining nights required.
The average hotel cost per night for a double was £62.
If breakfast was served at our hotel/pub, we took advantage of it. We stopped for a tea break most mornings. For the most part, we ate one main meal a day, usually at a pub, then shopped at a local supermarket (Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys … there are lots of them) for snacks, fruit, drinks and dinner, usually a fresh salad. We usually enjoyed a cider or wine with our meals and this is included in meal costs. If no breakfast was served, we purchased either oatmeal or boiled eggs for the next morning’s breakfast. All rooms came equipped with tea/coffee service, but no microwave or fridge.
Average cost/per day for meals/food/libations: ~£44.00
On arrival, we needed to get from Heathrow Airport to Woolwich which involved a rather circuitous, long route via train or Heathrow Express and at least two bus connections. Once we added up the per person costs and inconvenience of this option after a 10-hour plane ride, we chose an Uber ride to Woolwich - £58
Since we were walking the Path, we didn’t require any transportation except the Shepperton Ferry (£5) until we got to Kemble at the end of our journey. We purchased advance discounted tickets on the Great Western Rail (£33) back to London. We also purchased tickets to Gatwick for our departure and found the Thames Link (£35) to be significantly cheaper than the Gatwick Express. Otherwise, we walked most everywhere we needed to go. We did take the Underground when we were back in London, but I didn’t include it since it wasn’t part of walking the path. Also, since we were just considering our costs while in England, no airfare is included in the cost.
Total transportation - £131
Bandaids, blister plasters, Ibuprofen, cold meds, antibiotic ointment - £18
We really didn’t require much in the way of ‘entertainment’ since we were walking every day. We visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which was free admission, but we paid to see the special exhibition ‘Spellbound’. We found plenty of options to keep us amused and entertained that were free. We did donate ~£25 to churches we visited along the way. We also purchased a 4-day on-off bus/boat tour once we returned to London which was not part of walking the path. All told, entertainment ended up being ~£70/per person, but entertainment was not included when considering path costs since they were optional.
I did not include souvenirs, postcards, postage, etc in the calculations as these are all optional costs. Take a look at a previous blog that discussed airfare, convenience and cost savings measures we considered before leaving for England like using a ‘no-currency-exchange’ fee credit card, using contactless payments for purchases and Underground/bus transport, phone, etc. By the way, wifi, ATMs and use of credit cards was rarely a problem. We used very little actual cash.
And the final costs?
Total cost of walking the path (22 days)= £2480 or £1240/pp or ~£56/per day/per person