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the maidenhead riverside, boathouse at boulters lock and the taplow bridge

The Maidenhead Riverside: Family Things To Do

The Maidenhead Riverside is Maidenhead’s beauty spot and a great place to take the kids for a day out or go for a family walk.

Ray Mill Island is a hidden gem, and there are many iconic structures and buildings – such as the Maidenhead Bridge, The Sounding Arch and the Boathouse at Boulters Lock.

The Maidenhead Riverside by the River Thames is a great way to spend a summer’s day, or even head out on a winter walk. You could even have a low cost or free day out if you choose to. Or book one of the local activities – even have a spot of lunch.

We have rounded up some of our favourite family things to do down by the river.

the aviaries at ray mill island

Ray Mill Island

Maidenhead’s own little island is a big attraction. Ray Mill Island is situated behind Boulters Lock and can be accessed by walking over the bridge by The Boathouse at Boulters Lock (Lower Cookham Road, SL6 8JN) or by walking over the Taplow Bridge from the other side of the river.

Ray Mill Island has plenty of picnic spots, either on the grassy areas or picnic benches. There is also the Island Piazza Cafe, which is a kiosk with outdoor seating (there are toilets situated there too). It sells icecream, drinks and hot and cold snacks.

There are large bird aviaries and guinea pigs on the island that are great to see at no cost.

Around Ray Mill Island is the river and further up is the weir. You can also spot some sculptures, including the Maiden with Swans and the Berkshire SANDS Memorial Tree.

the little green boat company at Ray Mill Island

The Little Green Boat Company on Ray Mill Island

In the summer of 2023, The Little Green Boat Company set up on Ray Mill Island with their self-drive motor boats and rowing boats.

They invited us to try out a self-drive boat trip, and it was a lovely way to see the sights from the river and was part of a great family day out. We headed towards Bray, going under the Maidenhead Bridge and the Sounding Arch and came back again.

They offer one hour hires or half a day. The motor boats seat up to six people and the rowing boats are for three or five people. Well behaved dogs are welcome.

The Little Green Boat Company are at Ray Mill Island from the spring time and are there throughout the summer. Pre-booking required.

paddleboard maidenhead on ray mill island

Paddleboard Maidenhead

In the warmer months, why not book a paddleboarding session with local company Paddleboard Maidenhead? They typically set off from Ray Mill Island or Boulters Lock, and can take you to the stunning Cliveden Reach (a part of the river that inspired Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows) or towards Bray.

They offer sessions for any ability, including absolute beginners. Paddleboard hire and buoyancy aids are available if you don’t have your own.

There is always a qualified paddleboard instructor with the group, and they only use the Thames when the river conditions are safe to paddle on. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult – one child per adult.

A perfect family activitity! And in the summer holidays, they offer kids clubs for children aged 10 and over.

the boathouse restaurant at boulters lock

Boulters Lock

Boulters Lock is on Lower Cookham Road (close to Ray Mill Island) and it is a lovely spot to sit in the warmer months and watch the boats going through the lock.

Get yourself an icecream from the Island Piazza Cafe and spend some time on the riverside watching the boats go by.

You can also walk down by the river on this side, either heading in the Cookham direction, or down towards the Maidenhead Bridge. The scenery is very pretty.

The Boathouse restaurant at Boulters Lock is lovely to go in, and it overlooks the Thames. Either book a table for lunch or dinner, or pop in for a coffee or light bites (during less busy periods). The nearest carpark is on Lower Cookham Road, SL6 8JN.

ray mill island and taplow bridge

Taplow Bridge and Riverside

When you head over to Ray Mill Island, you will see the bridge that goes over the river to the Taplow Riverside. This steel footbridge opened in 2018 and takes you across to Taplow.

You can then head towards Bridge Road, going via the Hall and Woodhouse pub – which is set by the river if you want food or drinks. Or by Roux at Skindles, both on Mill Lane. There is also a large grassy area nearby.

You can either head back, or continue to do a circular walk. Take a right by Roux and head over the Maidenhead Bridge, then you are back at the Maidenhead Riverside.

Keep walking along Ray Meade Road and this will eventually take you back to your starting point.

maidenhead bridge and bridge gardens

Bridge Gardens

Across the river from Roux at Skindles is Bridge Gardens. This small and pretty area is a nice spot to sit and relax by the river.

There is a great view of the Maidenhead Bridge and it is close to the attractions along the riverside and close to the town. The Maidenhead Bridge was built between 1772 and 1777.

You can also see Roux at Skindles which historically was the Skindles Hotel, a local landmark founded in 1833.

The Ada Lewis Memorial is also situated in Bridge Gardens. It was originally built and placed by the Thames Riviera Hotel and used as a drinking trough for horses in 1908. It has since moved to Bridge Gardens and was converted into a fountain, which is illuminated at night.

riverside gardens

Riverside Gardens

Riverside Gardens is on Raymeade Road, SL6 8NP. There is a large play park suitable for children up to the age of 12 – and includes a sandpit, swings, slides, picnic benches and a hammock in the palm trees!

Behind the park is a recreation area, and next to the park is an 18 hole crazy golf and riverside cafe belonging to Jenner’s Cafe.

Jenner’s Cafe is open all year round (check their website for details) and they sell hot food (breakfast and lunch), icecreams and drinks.

There is also a large pay and display carpark


the maidenhead sounding arch

Guards Club Park

Further down from the Maidenhead Bridge is Brunel’s Sounding Arch, and can be seen from Guards Club Park, which is easily accessed off Oldacres (off Oldfield Road). There is also a small free carpark.

The park is a small open grassy space next to the river, and is a perfect spot for paddleboarding.

There is a unique close up view of the Sounding Arch – also known as Maidenhead Railway Bridge, designed by Brunel and completed in 1838.

There is also a footbridge that leads over to the Island (and the Maidenhead Rowing Club is based on the other side) but the footbridge is shut between December and June.


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