Situated on the border of the Cotswolds, Lechlade, England is a small market town along the River Thames. The laid-back town features cozy pubs and cafes, antique shops, and even a year-round Christmas store. As a symbol of Lechlade, the spire of St. Lawrence’s Church dominates the town’s view from near or far. And the surrounding Cotswold landscape is scenic and peaceful, making Lechlade, England an ideal location to get outside and explore.
About Lechlade, England
By road and river, Lechlade sat on one of the main trade arteries west from London. Now, it’s a popular mooring spot for leisure boats. And it’s easy to see why with the picturesque surroundings! You’ll see numerous colorful narrowboats boats along the River Thames here. This river has always been the heart of the town. Lechlade even got its name from the the river that joins the Thames to the east of town – River Lech.
Located in Gloucestershire, Lechlade, England is less than 10 miles from both Burford and Bibury and just 13 miles from Cirencester. It’s a great destination to visit for travelers wanting to explore this part of the Cotswolds. Driving is typically the quickest way to get to Lechlade. The nearest bus and train station is 11 miles away in Swindon.
Highlights of Lechlade, England
Located on the opposite side of the River Thames as the town center, Riverside Park offers lovely views of the Halfpenny Bridge and St. Lawrence Church’s spire. The park is the perfect place to begin a walk in the area. And the benches and open grassy area throughout Riverside Park are great for a picnic, snack break, or just a pit stop to take in the scenic surroundings. At this spot along the Thames, you’re likely to see a group of ducks and swans floating down the river.
The Thames Path, one of 15 National Trails in the UK, is 184 miles long following the River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds to the sea. Passing through Lechlade after it starts in Thameshead about 20 miles to the west, the National Trail goes through water meadows, villages, towns, and cities, including the heart of London. The trail is a mainly flat trail with a few natural slopes. In Lechlade, there’s two gentle circular routes you can follow that mainly stick to the Thames Path. I combined these two to make one bigger loop, which takes the average walker about two hours: Lechlade Seven Stiles & St John’s Lock walks.
St Lawrence’s Church
Considered one of the six finest parish churches in Gloucestershire and one of England’s Thousand Best Churches, St Lawrence’s Church was completed in 1476. However, there was a church on this site beforehand but only fragments of it remain. The medieval church’s spire is a beautiful landmark you can see for miles.
The Christmas Store
This year-round Christmas shop was first established in 1985. The Christmas Store is the original and oldest Christmas shop in the UK. The store began selling traditional German Christmas products. Despite visiting in June, I couldn’t resist going in to see the different kinds of holiday decorations the store had. And I even bought a mini tree for my writing table once the holiday season comes around.
Vera’s Kitchen offers a variety of healthy dishes for breakfast and lunch, in addition to delectable treats. The cafe also has vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. Vera’s Kitchen’s cozy interior makes it easy to sit back and savor your meal or snack. I enjoyed a cup of loose-leaf tea and a piece of delicious carrot cake. Vera’s Kitchen also has lodging. There are three rooms on site, which also give you access to the beautiful courtyard garden in the back.
The Riverside is a cozy pub situated along the River Thames. Breakfast is served from 8 am to 10 am, and the all-day food menu is served from noon to 9 pm Monday to Saturday and noon to 8 pm on Sunday. The riverside garden and patio is perfect for soaking up the surroundings of Lechlade. You’ll see plenty of the local wildlife, ducks and swans. I enjoyed a half pint with this peaceful atmosphere. The Riverside also features accommodation on site with a variety of rooms.
The Tea Chest
Another cozy spot in Lechlade is the The Tea Chest, offering tea, coffee, cake, crumpets, and breakfast and lunch dishes. It’s located a stone’s throw from the River Thames right by The Riverside. The inside of the café is beautifully decorated, making it easy to settle in for a cup of tea. There is also outdoor seating if you want to enjoy the ambiance of the River Thames more.
St John’s Lock
As the highest lock on the River Thames and one of the shallowest too, St John’s Lock‘s original structure was built in 1229. However, it was rebuilt in 1830. Situated next to the lock is the current lock house and the famous statue of Father Thames, which was made in 1851 and moved to this location in 1974.
Experience the River Thames first-hand
There are a variety of boat trips along the River Thames usually available in the summer months depending on weather and river conditions. Trips range from an hour or two to a half-day. Additionally, there are options to hire a rowing boat, kayak, or canoe to navigate the River Thames yourself in Lechlade. There are a variety of ways to experience the charming river at the heart of this town.
Lechlade, England is a scenic and laid-back town to explore in the Cotswolds with interesting cafes, pubs, and shops. With its location along the River Thames, it’s the perfect destination to enjoy the outdoors. Also, it’s easy to explore more of the Cotswolds from Lechlade with Burford and Bibury less than 10 miles away and Cirencester just 13 miles away. Would you like to explore this scenic market town?