Cotswolds Beauty

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Cotswolds - guided walking at it's best - Join us on this  "Get Active" walking weekend

Two and half days walking in the lovely countryside of the Cotswolds around Cirencester and  Bourton in the Water, staying at the The Stratton House Hotel in Cirencester. The hotel is close to the centre of "The Capital of the Cotswolds". It has superb grounds, and superb food, with lovely rooms.

A social relxed approach

Walking is moderate - few major climbs, and we cover 9/10 miles a day. 

Our first walk is on Friday afternoon starting at 2.30pm, a two hour "get to know you "walk, with a cuppa at the end.  If you cannot make that walk, then we meet on Friday evenings, at 7.00 pm, for a three course dinner and a discussion on what we are doing during the weekend.  Each weekend’s walking has a different theme, to fit into the time of year, or events going on in the area. Dress code is smart casual.

Great reasons to join us

- meet new friends in a relaxed walking and social  atmosphere

- beautiful countryside to walk through and enjoy

- super value for money

- professional, friendly walk leaders who are passionate and knowledgable about this area

- lovely hotel and super food

- no single supplement

 

Accommodation

 Hotel

We stay at Stratton House Hotel, Cirencester. Accommodation is single en suite rooms - no sharing and no single supplement.  The hotel has a welcoming bar, and lounge.  You can see the hotel accommodation by visiting http://www.strattonhousehotel.com/

Two nights accommodation on Friday and Saturday, with the option to stay Sunday if you have a long way to travel back.

There will be a supplement if you request a double room for sole occupancy - this is £15 per night, and a double room will be allocated.All other rooms are twins for sole occupancy/or single rooms  and do not have a single supplement

Dinner is at the hotel and is three courses. We have lunch at one of the Cotswolds lovely country pubs, or take a packed lunch.  Walking starts at 9.30 am, and we generally finish for that welcome cuppa at 4.30 pm.  This will give you plenty of time to get ready for dinner.

 Lunch

Is taken at one of the lovely country pubs

Station pick up or arrangements. We recommend Kemble - we will arrange a taxi pick up for you and return if you let us know. This is at your cost.

Flexibility

We offer you the opportunity to stay additional nights, and many people extend their weekend as they wish. Just reserve what nights you need.

Getting to Cirencester

By train - Kemble is the nearest station, some 6 miles away. Taxis readily available. This is your cost.See www.nationalrail.co.uk

By car -  the post code for your Sat Navs is GL7 2LE . A good way of checking a route is using the AA route finder. www.theaa.com/route-planner

 Full detailed journey instruction will be sent with your Joining Details prior to the holiday.

 

 

Guided walking Programme

Walking in these rolling hills is brilliant, and we walk for two and half days,

Two and half days walking in the lovely countryside of the Cotswolds around Cirencester and  Bourton in the Water, staying at the The Stratton House Hotel in Cirencester. The hotel is close to the centre of "The Capital of the Cotswolds". It has superb grounds, and superb food, with lovely rooms.

Walking is moderate - few major climbs, and we cover 9/10 miles a day. 

Our first walk is on Friday afternoon starting at 2.30pm, a two hour "get to know you "walk, with a cuppa at the end.  If you cannot make that walk, then we meet on Friday evenings, at 7.00 pm, for a three course dinner and a discussion on what we are doing during the weekend.  Each weekend’s walking has a different theme, to fit into the time of year, or events going on in the area. Dress code is smart casual.

Walking starts on  Friday  afternoons at  2.30pm from hotel reception

Walking on Saturday and Sunday

Walking finishes on Sunday afternoon at 4.00pm

If you have booked an additional nights accommodation, note there is no walk on the Monday.

Walking - Grades and difficulty
We walk between 9 and 10 miles per day.  We walk at a steady pace, we don’t rush.  We want you to enjoy our lovely scenery - these hills and valleys  are a walkers paradise with good paths and an ever changing landscape.

There are hills to ascend  - we go up to a maximum of 200 metres over two miles of walking, but the climbing is gradual and we won’t rush. What’s the point of huffing and puffing, being exhausted then not being able to enjoy this fabulous land.  Descending is not precarious, and is gentle in relationship to many walking areas.

The Cotswolds rolling countryside willl enchant you  - and is a land of ever changing vista’s - on any walk we get four or five different landscapes to enjoy.   Walking boots or shoes are obligatory, and many walkers find a walking pole useful, especially on the downhills.  You will also need wet weather gear—generally we have a mild climate, lovely springs and mild autumns, and winter walking too is outstanding in theses secret hills. When we send you your joining details a set of walking routes will be included

Walks will include

The Churn Valley circular

Bourton in the Water, The Slaughters, Naunton and the Windrush Valley

Painswick and it's valley Haresfield Beacon, and Toposcope

A circular round Cirencester Great park

Meet New Friends

Its all about meeting new friends. Each holiday is designed to be a friendly, relaxed and stress free occasion. Talking is as important as walking or discovering on Short Breaks for Single Travellers holidays. We don't go in for disco's, we may use an event that is taking place in the area we are in to boost the weekends activities - but its good, old fashioned chat that makes our short breaks successful.

"Make new friends that turn into old friends - that's our motto."

You might be surprised by what fun you’ll have with people who are older or younger than you during a holiday with us, and that’s exactly the sort of atmosphere we encourage; people find it very rewarding.

It doesn’t matter what your reasons for traveling with us are, we’ve had people who are single, divorced or widowed, people who have partners that are unable to travel, and people who can’t holiday with their friends anymore as they’ve all got married themselves. There are people who want to make friends, see sights, and experience something completely new. Whatever your reason, we’ll welcome you with open arms and our friendly hosts will help you to get the most out of your holiday.

Don't worry if this is the first time you have ventured to join a group holiday - its always a bit daunting - but we will look after you, ensure that you get used to being amongst friends again - trust us to to get you back into the swing of things

Oh - by the way - its not a dating agency - over the years we have had people meet and fall in love - but that's just chance. Our aim is that you make like minded friends - just relax and enjoy.

Just arrive and enjoy.

Holiday highlights

- rolling, iconic Cotswolds countryside

- fabulous walking over hill and in valleys

- the capital of the Cotswolds - Cirencester - half a mile away

- lovely country house hotel

- good food, pleasant comany

- no single supplement

- our relaxed, social approach

What's Included

What you get on a Secret Hills break

  • Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite two nights
  • Dinner
  • Lunch- Saturday and Sunday
  • Sole occupancy- no single supplement
  • Personal service - where possible, our walk leader will collect and return to Kemble station. If this is not possible, there are taxis available at the station to take you to the hotel
  • Total flexibility on when you arrive and depart - come for as many or few days as you want
  • Expert guiding
  • Transport to walks start and finish
  • No single supplemen
  • A social, relaxed approach
  • Full joining details prior to your holiday
  • Our administration services to help you enjoy this holiday

Not included

All drinks in the hotel and on our walks

Any additional services you request from the hotel - ie newspapers, bar food

Great reasons to join us

There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Cotswolds but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….

  • We are a small friendly company
  • We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
  • We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
  • Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
  • You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
  • Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
  • We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
  • We always use good hotels. Our hotel in Church Stretton is set in lovely surroundings  and the standard is really good.
  • We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.

Customer Reviews

 

 

Tracey Swinney Cotswolds Beauty October 2020.

Yes, enjoyed guided walking - it was also nice to meet new people and learn of their experiences. Good food, spacious rooms, very clean and tidy and would recommend. All went as planned.

 

Lorraine McMahon – Cotswolds Beauty September 2020.

Hello Alan, We loved the weekend.  It was the first time we have done a walking holiday following our developed love for walking during lockdown. We found your company by searching the internet. The booking process and communications from the company were excellent. We found the hotel very cosy and comfortable with a wonderful flow of the bar, lounge and dining area. It all worked!! Craig, our walking guide was lovely as was the group of ladies who made up our group of six. We had such a laugh and instantly got along. We will be looking at booking another holiday. We loved every aspect of the weekend.  Thank you.

Kind Regards

Lorraine McMahon

 

Angela Fielding - Cotswolds Beauty, February 2020.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dear Alan, I really enjoyed my second holiday with Secret Hills, despite considerable travel problems, resulting from the flooding. Having found SH on the internet, I am so pleased with all that it offers for a single traveller. The hotel was good and Craig took us on some lovely walks, although we were a little hampered by the rivers of mud after all the rain we have had. Our group was small and friendly and we laughed our way through!   Everything was well organised once again and I was grateful to be met at the station. I’ll definitely be booking another weekend and have recommended SH to several friends. Kind regards, Angela Fielding

 
Chris Schilling -  Cotswolds Beauty, February 2020.
Hi Craig really enjoyed walking with you and your caring and fun approach - am already fully recovered
and am off out for a walk in the rain.  Chris
 
 
Hilary Clifford -  Cotswolds Beauty, February 2020.
I am extremely pleased to have found you – perfect for my needs and the weekends are a great idea. I think the range of destinations on offer is great – would love to have the time to try them all! Without a doubt I will book another weekend walk.
Organisation excellent and I will certainly book again... great hotel, comfortable rooms and a good menu. Guided walking excellent.
 
 
Jennifer Wright - Cotswolds Beauty, October 2019.
Pre-holiday information very effective. Extremely well organised, everything was thought of! Hotel 5-star, wonderful food! The organisation was superb, I didn’t have to concern myself about anything except arriving on time. The walks were lovely (helped that Craig had ordered good weather.) And the routes were perfect for a weekend walk. I enjoyed Fridays and Sundays walks particularly. The Saturday walk didn’t show us much of the Cotswold Beauty - but Sunday’s showed the Cotswolds off superbly. Thank you.
 
 
Melissa Temple Brown - Cotswolds Beauty, October 2019.
Booking easy and pre weekend info excellent.
Hotel very nice, good food and very helpful and friendly staff. Thoroughly enjoyed walking and thought the distance/routes were pitched about right. Thank you to Craig (walk leader) for his attention and guidance. I couldn’t fault the weekend and would definitely recommend your company to others.
 
 
Deborah Devitt - Cotswolds Beauty, October 2010.
Hotel was lovely my room was perfect, service & food were also good.  Guided walking  nice & easy to follow the guide. I would encourage other first time solo travellers to take the plunge I really enjoyed the weekend & have made new friends.
 
Carole McKenna - Cotswolds Beauty August 2019.
The first time on a solo holiday, I really enjoyed every aspect and look forward to travelling with Secret Hills Walking again.
 
Alison Topliss - Cotswolds Beauty August 2019.
Very good hotel, comfortable and everything needed available. Very well organised. Very much enjoyed guided walking.
 

Jan Ullmer  -  Cotswolds Beauty August 2019.

'Did you enjoy the guided walking experience?' Very much. Thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Hotel brilliant- lovely room, good food, excellent service.

 

Alison Roberts - Cotswolds Beauty  June 2019.

Reservation process very easy. Completed online smoothly. Lovely hotel, friendly staff, good food.
Keith (walk leader) was great and James (back marker) will be good at this too. I would reserve another holiday.  I had a great time and would recommend you to friends.
 
 
Susan Smith - Cotswolds June 2019.
 
A very enjoyable time was had.
Thank you. Hotel very good with delicious food. Keith was an excellent leader. We both thoroughly enjoyed our first walking holiday and also want to say how we though James was a great backstop.
 
 
Carol Long - Cotswolds June 2019
A lovely and enjoyable weekend break. Have previously booked with Secret Hills. Really easy reservation. Very helpful pre-holiday information. Very nice hotel with good service and lovely food. Guided walking; excellent guides with full knowledge of the area. Very good organisation, we just turn up, enjoy the weekend and don’t worry about anything. Just what is required.
 
 
 
Paul Russell - Cotswolds New Year 2019
 
Fantastically well organised holiday. The guides are excellent and well informed; the walks were interesting and varied. I absolutely would reserve again and recommend to otehrs. Keep doing what you do! Thank you and hope to see you all again soon.
 
 
Lesley Dee - Cotswolds February 2019
 
The holiday was very well organised and Craig was very knowledgeable.
 
 
Judith Garfield - Cotswolds February 2019
 
Craig was fantastic, and gave us lots of information about where we were walking. The hotel is fabulous.  It has been updated since I was last there.  The food was great.
I would certainly reserve another holiday, and heartily recommend your holidays to others.

 
 
Judith McDonald - Cotswolds New Year 2019
 
Hi Keith (walk leader) Just to say thank you...I enjoyed meeting everyone and enjoyed the relaxing and interesting walks with both you and Craig. So interesting chatting and getting to know everyone along the way too. 
Best wishes, Judith 

 
 
Jean Smith - Cotswolds New Year 2019
A nice group and the weather was good. I thought the guides were very thorough and knowledgeable and took a great deal of care to ensure we enjoyed the holiday.
 
Lesley Hagger -Cotswolds -New Year 2019
 
Booking the holiday was a doddle. Did this by telephone as it was close to Christmas/New Year.
Leaders were easy going and friendly. Everything went well. A smallish group so communication easy. I would reserve again and recommend. 

 

Carol Kenny - Cotswolds New Year 2019

The hotel staff provided an excellent stay. This is my third holiday with Secret Hills and went very well. I will be booking again soon and would recommend to others. The leaders Keith and Craig were very knowledgeable on the walks and entertaining at the evening entertainment. I would also like to thank their back markers.

 

Paul Russell - Cotswolds New Year 2019

From an email to walk leader. 'Hi Keith,I had another wonderful Secret Hills holiday and just want to say a quick thanks to Craig, you and of course Catherine and Carol for making things so easy as well as so relaxing and fun. Cheers, Paul'
 

Judith McDonald - Cotswolds New Year 2019.

Copy of an email to walk leader 'Hi Keith, Just to say thank you for the lovely new year break. I enjoyed meeting everyone and enjoyed the relaxing and interesting walks with both you and Craig. So interesting chatting and getting to know everyone along the way too.  Best wishes Judith'

 

Miriam Whelan - Cotswolds New Year 2019.

The hotel was very comfortable, friendly, and great service.
Guided walking was perfect, the weather wasn’t bad either. The entire four days were excellent, walking and entertainment. I would recommend.

 

Emma Barker - Cotswolds New Year 2019.

Loved the walking, always fun leaders on the holidays...was organised very well and was stress free. I would definitely recommend and will come on another holiday in the future. Great customer service and activities.

 

Patricia Schmid September 2018

Hotel very comfortable, Food good and the service excellent

I enjoyed the Guided walking experience very much, lovely weather and an interesting guide  

Glenys Thompson Cotswolds August 2018

The guided walking was good. Craig is pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable and made sure everyone was OK

Lorraine Bassett Cotswolds June 2018

It was my first experience having a holiday on my own and I was made to feel very welcome. It's inspired me to go away again on my own

 

Dorett Watt Cotswolds June 2018

I have no issue it was my first every walking holiday and I would recommend it to others.  Organisation was good no issue. Keep doing what you have been doing it is wonderful as a single female to find and enjoy this secret.

 

 

 

This was my first experience and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Was prepared to leave on the first eve if I hated it. Lovely company. Hope other weekends will be just as friendly

- Heather Kellett - March 2018


 

Craig was a great walking guide and kept a good pace for the group. His knowledge is amazing and he is friendly, a great conversationalist and involved everyone in the group. We had a great weekend with lots of laughs. Saturdays walk was wonderful and just what we expected for a walk in the Cotswolds- villages/views/green hills etc. 
 llyris Young - March 2018

 

Paul Russell Cotswolds February 2018

Craig was really good and very knowledgeable. A genuinely nice bloke. I would just like to say a big thank you to Craig for a fun weekend - and of course to my fellow guests. I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

 

Jenny Bryant- Cotswolds October 2017 - November 2017

 

Craig was an excellent guide and had chosen great pubs for lunch, beautiful scenic and fairly easy trails, making the walks very relaxing and enjoyable- as well as good exercise.

 


James Betteridge- Cotswolds September 2017 - October 2017

 

Keith is an excellent guide and entertaining company. We were amused to find that we had a lot in common including a resemblance!

 

To all,

 

Just to thank you for a really super walking weekend. This was a first for me and will  definitely not be the last...

Thanks once again

Kind regards

Melanie Gillard - Cotswolds August 2017

Just to thank you for a really super walking weekend. This was a first for me and will definitely not be the last... Thanks once again

 

Paula Robinson- Cotswolds June 2017 - June 2017

Very well organised, and Keith our leader also adapted the last day to suit all the group which I know must have been extra work for him

 

Derek Hayward- Cotswolds February 2017 

 

The hotel was good - had all the necessary requirements for a short stay. I will be looking to reserve another at some time in the future, happy to recommend to others. It was my first experience of a walking break. Thank you

 

Anne Barge- Cotswolds New year 2016/17

I enjoyed the guided walking, lovely not to have to navigate and good company.

 

 Christine Paice- Cotswolds New Year 2016/17

The pre-holiday information was well informed so knew what to expect and appropriate clothing/footwear to bring. The guided walking was excellent, well led, well informed, sensible pace, sensible timed food stops with suitable food. Good awareness of safety for the whole group.

After being on many walking holidays of various 'sorts' I have found a group/holiday that suits my needs. For the New Year celebrations I didn't feel alone. I have been in groups before for New Year but still felt alone. It was a lovely way to see in 2017.

 

Paul Gaskell- Cotswolds New year 2016/17

I thoroughly enjoyed the walking even in the mist, fog and rain!   Two of my friends have taken holidays with you following hearing about how much I enjoy my time on your holidays.

 

Sheila Green – Cotswolds New year 2016/17

 

It was my first time with Secret Hills and indeed my first organised walking holiday.  Being on my own I was initially apprehensive but I need not have worried as Alan and the other team members made everyone welcome.  I really enjoyed meeting friendly like-minded people and the walks were good.  Pity about the weather!  I will certainly be joining another holiday, hopefully before too long.  Well done Secret Hills!

 

Becky White Cotswolds New Year January 2017

It was all brilliant. Loved the walks even in the rain and mud loved the party’s and the people were just lovely.

Thank you to Alan and all the team who worked so hard to enable us to have a good time. As I know for many of us we were not looking forward to New year. But I think it is safe to say we saw it in with gusto. Not sure what the other residents of the hotel thought!

Many thanks    

 

Lisel Simpson New year Break January 2017- Cotswolds
Excellent hotel and fantastic experience, good walks, well paced walks.
Brilliant job and can't wait for the next one!

 

Sorel Arrow - Cotswolds New Year Break January 2017

Hi all

I would like to thank Alan and Keith for a lovely New Year at Stratton House Hotel. Despite the weather on New Year's Day, the walking was good, the hotel comfortable and welcoming, and the company fantastic!

All in all, I couldn't have wished for a better New Year.

Many thanks, and hope to see you again soon.

Sorel

 

Kay Gaitskill - Cotswolds New Year Break January 2017

A Really nice fun group with a few familiar faces. Please thank Alan  for such a fun filled festive break, it was great. Despite the rain and mud the walking was also most enjoyable, led by smashing walk leaders, Keith, Tristan, and Cathy.

Best withes
Kay.

 

Susan Gideon- Cotsworlds 2015

"Interesting walks through nice scenery and pretty villages.  The pub meals were good.  Paul Watts was very knowledgeable about the local area and once again was a very pleasant and entertaining leader.   An extremely entertaining and enjoyable weekend spent with some lovely people.
The Statton House Hotel was very compfortable and the food was excellent"

 

Cathy Curtis - Cotswold Oct 2014

The Cotswolds’ Holiday walks far exceeded my expectations.  I thoroughly enjoyed the walking for the actual walks themselves and for the beautiful countryside, friendly and fun people to share the walks with, and everyone at Secret Hills that conducted the holiday with expertise and professionalism.  

 
 

 

Stephanie Coleman - Cotswolds October 2014

I thought your organisation of just about everything was excellent. I knew exactly
where to go. Was welcomed warmly. Everything was explained and the routes we took
were super.

 
 

 

Michael Smith

Thanks for a great holiday Alan - Much needed!!

 
 

 

Liz Williamson - January 2016 New Years Break

Thank you for a fantastic New Year break. I can honestly say it's been the best new year for me in a very long time. Thank you to you all also for letting Tilly come and being so accepting of her, now have a very tired little dog "

 

 Ann Were - January 2016 New Years Break

"Many thanks for a good time at New Year in the Cotswolds, despite the mud! And thank you too for the Secret Hills gilet - I shall wear it walking with the Ramblers and see if it tempts a few away from HF holidays! Ann "
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cotswolds and Cirencester

The Cotswolds area is one of England's favourite destinations; famous for hundreds of honey-colour limestone villages in a beautiful rural setting. 

In summer time, the Cotswolds offers fantastic walking and cycling, beautiful gardens, bustling farmers' markets and a delightful cafe culture. 

The Cotswolds is great walking country with over 5000km of footpaths and rights of way. For serious walkers, the Cotswold Way and Thames Path are on offer. For recreational walkers, most towns and villages have a choice of shorter circular routes. Find out more about Walking in the Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds are situated in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with thousands of miles of footpaths and bridleways, a walker’s paradise. Walk through rolling countryside dotted with picturesque villages full of history and follow winding river valleys with some great views.

Cirencester

Cirencester, known as the "Capital Of The Cotswolds", is an historic Roman town in the heart of the Cotswolds with attractions from a Roman Ampitheatre to the nearby Chedworth Roman Villa. The Corinium Museum in an important source of information on the local history.

Come and experience life in a real country market town full of Roman and medieval history which also boasts an
amazing selection of independent shops and restaurants. Cirencester is in a great location to tour the Cotswolds making the perfect base from which to discover this iconic English landscape and its historic buildings,.

Cirencester is full of tastefully restored courtyards, alleyways and lovely old streets and many places to visit and sites to enjoy, including the magnificent Church of St John Baptist, the Abbey Grounds, St. Michael's Park, Cirencester Park (owned by The Earl Bathurst)

How to book your holiday

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You matter to us & we promise to provide you with a superb walking & social holiday, tailored specifically to your needs. We provide walking holidays for walkers & as walkers ourselves, we appreciate & understand the requirements of a walking holiday.

What Others Said...

Just a note to thank you very much for an enjoyable holiday over the past five days. All right no apologies for my struggles uphill, but I would like to say how much I sppreciated the ways in which you and your walks leaders found methods of helping and accomodating me each day - thank you all.

Muriel Tibbs

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