A trip from Isleworth to Hammersmith passing some iconic and historic sites

SyonHouseThe Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is responsible for the world’s largest collection of living plants. The organisation employs more than 650 scientists and other staff. The living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plants, while the herbarium, which is the one of the largest in the world, has over 7 million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. The Kew site includes four Grade I listed buildings and 36 Grade II listed structures in an internationally significant landscape. Syon House derives its name from Syon Abbey, a medieval monastery of the Bridgettine Order, founded in 1415 on a nearby site by King Henry V. The Abbey moved to the site now occupied by Syon House in 1431. In 1539, the abbey was closed by royal agents during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the monastic community was expelled.

Touring details

  • Isleworth to Hammersmith return (12 miles with some tidal assistance both ways). Land at Hammersmith at high tide for an hour’s break and arrive back at Isleworth mid afternoon. Paddlers must be on the water promptly as this is a tidal tour and the tide will not wait for you!
  • Keen kayakers can start at Teddington which is three miles upstream from Isleworth. Please allow an extra hour for this and let your trip leader know your intentions.
  • Andrew says “It’s actually not a hard trip, but occasionally you’ll need your brace stroke. One Star or similarly capable paddlers, paddling a boat they do not find challenging, will (very probably) have a good time”.


Keen kayakers may wish to start from Teddington (let your trip leader know)
At Isleworth, we get in off the slipway near the London Apprentice (TW7 6BG). There’s parking at the top of the slipway; if that’s full, the road leading away from Isleworth past Syon House can be parked on.

Check the tide times carefully to make sure you are travelling down stream with the ebb tide – but see important note below. Also note the tidal range (high tide height minus low tide height) as this varies between about 4m (neap tides) and 7m (spring tides) and affects the speed of the river flow significantly.

Very Important : check the ebb tide flag warning before you set off as currently (March 2014) the record high river flows are making conditions during the ebb tide dangerous and the PLA advises that when the red flag is flying that ‘all man-powered vessels are advised not to go afloat on the Ebb Tide.’

From Bell Hill take either the A316 or the Hampton Hill, Twickenham road. Turn left at the St Margarets roundabout onto the A3400 and follow the signs to Syon house. The London Apprentice is by the river just before the entrance to Syon House.

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