The Boulter’s to Bray Swim takes place on a famous – and, in Edwardian times, notorious – stretch of the River Thames.
START – 0 metres, Boulter’s Lock: The Start of the Boulter’s to Bray Swim. Once a popular place for messing about in boats, Maidenhead’s lock was made famous by JE Gregory’s painting ‘Boulter’s Lock: Sunday Afternoon’ (1895). Upstream from here is Cliveden, set into the cliffs 200 feet above the Thames. Once the home of Nancy Astor – and famous for the Profumo scandal – it is now a luxury hotel.
Ray Mill Island: Behind Boulter’s is Ray Mill Island, a popular picnic venue. Take some bread for the ducks and check out the weir at the far end of the island.
Jenner’s Café: Traditional café fare situated next to a playground and crazy golf course.
1000 metres – Maidenhead Bridge: Originally made of wood, this bridge is Grade 1 Listed and one of the most famous landmarks of the town. Nearby in Bridge Gardens is the newly restored Ada Lewis fountain, beautifully illuminated at night.
Blue River Café: A wide array of food and drinks, and great river views.
Maidenhead Rowing Club: Hosts of the Boulter’s to Bray Swim and a great place to get your post-swim breakfast.
Guards Club Island: In Edwardian days, Maidenhead was a recreation ground for members of the Guards Club, who kept their ladyfriends in a row of riverside terraced cottages known as Gaiety Row, visible shortly after the Rowing Club.
1300 metres – The Sounding Arch: Halfway point (well, almost) of the Boulter’s to Bray Swim, this railway bridge is one of the most iconic sights on the River Thames and features in Turner’s painting ‘Rail, Steam and Speed – the Great Western Railway’ (1844), displayed in the National Gallery. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1838, it is known as the Sounding Arch because of its extraordinary echo. At the time of building, its arches were the widest and flattest of any bridge in the world.
1400 metres – The Boulter’s Mile Finish Point: The Boulter’s Mile finishes at a set of steps 100m downstream of the Sounding Arch, the finish point of Maidenhead’s original Mile Swim.
2800 metres – The Boulter’s to Bray Swim Finish: opposite the Waterside Inn. Owned by the Roux brothers, this beautifully situated restaurant offers a world-class culinary experience.