Things to see and do at Runnymede and Ankerwycke
Walk, picnic or just relax by the river – with its meadows, woodlands, wetlands, and accessible stretches of the Thames, Runnymede is a great place to reconnect with nature. The site of the historic signing of the Magna Carta is also home to poignant memorials and arresting artworks reflecting on democracy and freedom. Across the river at Ankerwycke, you’ll discover the remains of a Benedictine priory and the oldest tree in the National Trust’s care.
Explore the countryside at Runnymede
With flower-filled meadows, lush wetlands, ancient woodlands and historic parkland – plus views worth the climb – the countryside at Runnymede is the perfect place to get back to nature.
The Anglo-Saxon ‘Runemede’ means ‘meeting meadow’. For centuries known as a place for people to come together, today these meadows remain a pretty, open space for countryside walks. On a summer's day, look out for a dazzling array of wildflowers, buzzing with insects, birds and other wildlife.
Follow a walking trail
- Egham to Runnymede countryside walk
- A circular walk of almost 4 miles around Runnymede nature reserve, through woodlands, wetlands and wildflower meadows.Find out more
- The park walk at Ankerwycke
- A leisurely circular stroll through the park at Ankerwycke, over gentle terrain. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.Find out more
Visit Runnymede’s memorials
Over 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons in these very fields. It was here he signed the Magna Carta, seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy.
In this spirit, Runnymede is home to several memorials recognising the ongoing struggle for liberty.
Magna Carta memorial
This monument to the historic signing of the Magna Carta was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and erected in 1957 by the American Bar Association in appreciation of the Magna Carta’s role in founding the rule of law.
Enjoy the River Thames
This newly resurfaced stretch of the Thames Path is now fully accessible for all visitors. It's a great place to walk, cycle or simply relax on a riverside bench with a book or a picnic.
There's plenty for wildlife fans to enjoy, too – look out for kingfishers, ducks, geese and swans, and a host of different butterflies.
Tour the outdoor artwork
As you walk around Runnymede, you’ll come across a number of artworks by world renowned and award-winning artists.
Writ in Water
Set in the heart of this historic landscape, this architectural artwork by Mark Wallinger and Studio Octopi reflects upon the founding principles of democracy and provides visitors with a space for quiet contemplation.
Cross the river to Ankerwycke
On the opposite bank of the Thames is Ankerwycke, whose ancient woodland, fields and ponds are steeped in history.
The Ankerwycke Yew
This gnarled and ancient tree is the oldest cared for by the National Trust and is thought to have stood here for as long as 2,500 years.
As well as being a valuable habitat for invertebrates, the yew is said to be the spot where King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn.
Look out too for the clootie boards where visitors hang strips of cloth carrying prayers.
St Mary’s Priory
Ankerwycke is home to the ruins of St Mary’s Priory, a Benedictine nunnery built during the reign of Henry II and dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the surviving building fell into disrepair, and today only a few walls remain.
Look out for wildlife
There’s plenty of wildlife to look out for at Ankerwycke. Listen for the loud, laughing calls of the green woodpeckers, or see if you can spot them feeding on insects in the woods.
Emerald and large red dragonflies are often visible darting between the ponds. And in spring, the ground is carpeted with snowdrops, thought to have been planted here in Victorian times.
There are limited parking spaces at Ankerwyke. If the car park is full, please come back when it's quieter.
Note that access is always required along Magna Carta Lane, for emergency vehicles and residents.
Twelve intricately carved bronze chairs celebrate the endurance of Magna Carta at Runnymede. Discover the artwork and its inspiration here.
Reflect upon the history of Runnymede inside this immersive architectural installation, which celebrates the sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede over 800 years ago.
Learn about the historic sealing of the Magna Carta, a medieval priory, an ancient tree where Henry VIII wooed Anne Boleyn – and the site of a 1930s nightclub.
Delve into the history and significance of Runnymede’s varied landscape in this immersive audio tour.
Stay refreshed with hot and cold drinks, light meals, snacks and cakes in the Magna Carta tea-room at Runnymede.
Runnymede and Ankerwycke is a three pawprint rated place. Enjoy riverside walks and open countryside on a dog walk at Runnymede and Ankerwycke. Find out where dogs can explore and read the Canine Code.
Discover far-reaching views, quiet woodlands and an ancient Roman road at Finchampstead Ridges – a cluster of hidden gems nestled in the countryside of Berkshire.