Yes, really.. 🙂
You might be surprised to find that there are more interesting things to do in Maidenhead than you originally think. In fact, this is a fantastic, historic part of England where you can enjoy a fine time in a number of different ways.
This is a small area in a relatively small country but it is also a very attractive place for travelling around. The wealth of history, tourist attractions, friendly people and easy access to nature make it an ideal place to travel to.
So, what are our top 6 things to do in Maidenhead?
Maidenhead is a reasonably big town close to the River Thames. As is typical in this part of the world, it has a long and fascinating history. Just a stroll through the historic centre is enough to let you feel the centuries of tradition here. There are some fantastic buildings dating back to the 18th century in town, as well as a plaque commemorating the fact that King Charles I came here in 1649, shortly before his execution.
The fact that Maidenhead is so close to London means that many of it’s residents commute to the capital every day. It also means that it is easy to head out for a day trip from London. However, there are enough things to do in Maidenhead to make it worth staying as bit longer. There are some delightful country houses, lots of green countryside and the fascinating Maidenhead Heritage Centre.
Things to Do in Maidenhead 1 – Walk the Thames Path
After you have seen what the centre of Maidenhead has to offer and have soaked up the atmosphere you could go for a walk alongside the river using the Thames Path. This is a wonderful walking route that follows the course of the famous river and for me, is one of the most interesting things to do in Maidenhead.
It passes close to the centre of Maidenhead and offers a scenic way to spend some time and get a bit of exercise. If you have been spending time in London then this is an easy way to get out into the countryside and see a different side of the UK.
Things to Do in Maidenhead 2 – Boulter’s Lock and Ray Mill Island
Ray Mill Island is located just across the bridge at Boulters Lock. You then cross over a footbridge to get to the actual island. A collection of ducks, geese & various water birds are normally there to greet you as you enter.
A really nice path takes you up to the weir, where the roar of the water and the ‘surf’ makes for a spectacular place. From time to time local canoe groups use the water area down from the weir. You can then walk back through another wooded path that will bring you out to the cafe. In the same area are a collection of birds and animals, which the children will love.
It’s a beautiful setting with sweeping river views. There’s usually lots of squirrels and wildlife around as well as heaps of walkways to explore. Most of the area is covered with trees but there are a few open spaces with low level play things for children to go on, like the park on the other side of the road from the cafe, where you can take the kids for hours of fun on the equipment, while the grownups can pop into the cafe for a few drinks on the first floor deck or a meal in the restaurant. It’s interesting to spend time watching how the lock works, and particularly lovely when the sun is out, watching the boats while eating an ice cream from the kiosk.
If the cafe menu doesn’t appeal, you can simply bring a picnic to have by the river.
Little streams of water run all through the island, which makes it very attractive at any time of the year, and fun to walk around watching the birds and wildlife as well as admiring the weir. Autumn is a particularly beautiful time to visit.
There is parking available close by, easily accessible on level ground and not expensive, plus toilets on the island.
Things to Do in Maidenhead 3 – Norden Farm Centre for the Arts
Norden Faem Centre for the Arts is a Community venue with works of art, workshops and performances, it also has an on-site cafe and bar, located in a barn.
The venue has great headliner acts including lots of stand-up comedy, live music, small productions and exhibitions.
There is also an art house cinema often showing things that don’t usually hit the big screen.
With the bar and restaurant, complete with friendly staff, it’s really all you need for a great night out in Maidenhead.
Things to Do in Maidenhead 4 – The Sounding Arch
Brunel’s famous Sounding Arch is a must visit if you are interested in superb engineering and architectural history. The Sounding Arch is definitely an elegant piece of architecture. Thousands of commuters travel across the bridge daily. You can visit it as part of a Thames side walk. If you’re with children, (or even if you’re not) make sure to try out the echo qualities of the arch. It’s one of my favourite places in Maidenhead. Quiet, beautiful, awe inspiring. A great place to sunbath or feed the ducks. It’s also a lovely walk by the river from here to nearby Windsor. You can also take a walk down the tow path towards the village of Dorney or walk the circuit to the foot bridge at Bray marina, then back up through Bray to Maidenhead.
Find out when a steam train excursion is due out of London to get an iconic photograph or even better, take the steam train excursion yourself.
The bridge was built in 1838, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to span the Thames and forms part of the railway line that ran between Bristol and London during the railway boom of the 1800s. It’s the first bridge built from brick with such a low ratio of height to distance between the arches. Experts back then, told Brunel it would not stand the test of time. It seems the railway barons didn’t believe it would be able to take the weight of trains crossing the river, insisting the wooden scaffolding that was used during it’s building should be left in place to support the bridge. Brunel cheated though, by setting up the scaffolding so it was short of the bridge itself. The woodwork was eventually washed away but the bridge has survived pretty much in tact for nearly 2 centuries.
The Sounding bridge is more than just an unusual design, it’s now a part of British history.
Things to Do in Maidenhead 5 – Electric Boat Company
The Electric Boat Company is a great way to explore the River Thames as well as the grounds lining the Thames all around Maidenhead. It offers great value for money and is very easy to book online. They supply life jackets for adults and kids, and plenty of instruction on handling the boats. Just pack a picnic.
The boats are always immaculately prepared, comfortable and easy to use and control. The electric motor is quiet and it’s very peaceful and relaxing gliding along the river Thames. If it’s a sunny day, you’ll want to book for at least 3 hours, trust us 🙂
Things to Do in Maidenhead 6 – Thames Executive Charters
Perhaps, saving the best for last 🙂 If sailing the Thames in a tiny Electric boat is not your cup of tea and you’d prefer something a little more substantial to sail in, you can’t go past Thames Executive Charters (also pictured in our featured image).
A little bit more pricy than the electric boats but a great and luxurious way to see the Thames and Maidenhead.
If somehow, our Top 6 things to do in Maidenhead are not tickling your fancy, never fear, there’s plenty more things to do in Maidenhead for you to choose from with the following list..
We also have an article on the Top 5 Things to do in Windsor, so perhaps it is a good idea to see how to get to Windsor from Maidenhead along the Thames Path. It is a wonderful walk of some 8 and a half miles (about 13 and a half km) and should take you between 3 and 4 hours. You will pass the interesting Maidenhead Bridge and Eton College rowing lake before getting a glimpse of Windsor Castle. If you feel even more active then you can follow the Thames Path further the way along the course of the river.
If you are visiting London then looking for things to do in Maidenhead makes for a great weekend break. Take a short train trip to either Windsor or Maidenhead, walk the Thames Path to the other and get the train back to London feeling refreshed and as though you have seen some unique, interesting places.
This concludes our Top 6 Things to Do in Maidenhead. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.
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