Lake District - midweek August holiday special

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Join us in the western lake district, as we explore the beautiful country side around the iconic centres of Grasmere and Ambleside, yet is in the midst of superb walking in quieter countryside. Excellent access to number of iconic walking trails.

The Lake District

An area of immense beauty, great diversity and striking contrast from its high fells to deep valleys, by its cascading rivers, tarns and great lakes, by woods, fields and its lovely quaint villages and hamlets. Cumbria’s mountainous landscape, deepest valleys and longest lakes have provided inspiration for generations of artists, poets and writers from Wordsworth, Ruskin, Wainwright and Beatrix Potter

Walking in the Lakes is a lifelong ever changing experience. It offers a vast range of very good, well maintained paths which give you full access to the hills, fells and lakes. No matter where you walk, whether it be along the valley, or to the crest of a low level hill you are rewarded with a 360 degree panorama of fells and beauty.

Whatever the weather, throughout the seasons the Lake District offers an ever changing kaleidoscope of mood and colour. It really is one of the most special places on earth and really needs to be visited and its paths walked.

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- no single supplement

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

- lovely country hotel with super food


Accommodation and food

This holiday - chosen to show off the magnificent colours of  late summer and early autumn in an area which is renowned for it's fabulous walking, is a joy to the senses.

Set in the centre of the Lakes halfway between Grasmere and Ambleside -, surely one of the UK'S most lovely walking destinations, we experience the glory of this area and the colours that tease the senses and leave you wanting more.

 We stay at Rydal Hall - magnificent gardens, close to the well know coffin path between the twin centres of Ambleside and Grasmere.

See the hotels web site -Rydal Hall | Lake District B&B, Self Catering, Glamping Accommodation

 Five nights accommodation leaving Wednesday morning

Rooms for sole occupancy. Dinner, bed and breakfast tariff 

Sole occupancy rooms with no single supplement

Dinner , bed and breakfast.

Lunch is normally in a lovely country pub, but dependent on walk choices - it may be a picnic lunch.

Rydal Hall started its life as a Christian retreat- but as the years have gone by it is adapting as a hotel for all activities, particularly for walking holidays. Secret Hills have created a good working relationship which benefits both parties.

Rooms for sole occupancy - recently re decorated and updated -  and meals are excellent, and the grounds of the hotel are an added bonus, as is its position at the heart of the beautiful southern lake district.

There is a bar and several meeting and lounge rooms to enjoy- and on a warm evening the lovely grounds are a joy to stroll in- with the magnificent Rydal waterfall to gaze over


Accommodation is single/double en suite rooms - no sharing. All our hotels have a bar, and a comfortable lounge. You can see the hotel accommodation by visiting www.


There is plenty of parking available at the hotel.


Breakfast starts at 8am

Dinner is three course - . all part of relaxing in these hills. All our hotels excel in giving you value for money and very tasty evening meals - they pride themselves on their food, much locally sourced and grown. Dinner is three course at the hotel. Dress code for dinner is smart casual.


We have lunch at some of the area’s lovely country pubs or cafes' They will make sure you have tasty baguettes, baked potatoes, sandwiches or salads, with tasty soups in the colder months. We cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements so please make sure you make these known  prior to arrival .All lunches are included in the holiday. You simply pay for your own drinks.

How to get to Rydal Hall Hotel Hotel

By train - Windermere is the nearest station, some 9 miles away. Taxis readily available.See

By car -  the post code for your Sat Navs is LA22 9LX . A good way of checking a route is using the AA route finder.

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

Getting to the hotel on day one

If you arrive at Windermere station prior to 1.00pm, we MAY be able to transport you to the hotel. You need to arrange this with us well before the date of arrival.

Rydal Hall Estate is unique, with en-suite bedrooms, campsite, cottages and gardens set in 30 acres, at the very heart of the English Lake District, a World Heritage Site – somewhere to experience the beauty of God’s creation.

We look forward to welcoming you to our outstanding venue to take a well-earned moment of

  • Rest and Relaxation in which you can  
  • Retreat from your daily routine to a place loved by the poet William Wordsworth for its awe-inspiring beauty,
  • Recharge in a peaceful natural and historic environment
  • Reconnect with yourself, with friends old and new, with God and with nature


Set in over thirty acres of garden, woodland and natural beauty in the Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rydal Hall is the ideal venue for retreats, events, activity weekends or just a family holiday. With wonderful views over the Rothay valley and with the Fairfield Horseshoe and Nab Scar as a backdrop, the Hall and its grounds are the perfect place to enjoy this beautiful part of the world.

 Our fabulous hotels position allows us to walk straight from the hotel door and access our trails and to take in fabulous views all day long.

Your walking programme

Our walks will be selected based upon the ability of the group and on the prevailing weather conditions.

We start walking on Friday afternoon. We walk on Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Tuesday  and Wednesday until 3pm 

Walking in the Lake District is always a pleasure - provided you have the correct walking gear, and you will be sent a kit list as part of your joining instructions..Walking is graded as moderate, with some short, sharp ascents and descents.

Our holiday  is graded moderate with some short, steep ascents and descents and is for people who are good walkers. We will undertake walks of between 8 and 10 miles with an average ascent of around 500 metres which we will do at a lovely, relaxed pace to allow you to absorb everything around us. 


We will take transport to other areas close by such as Coniston and Hawkshead.

Walks will be chosen from the many that area available taking in Loughrigg//Wansfell Pike/Grasmere, Easdale and Helm Crag/ Langdale Valley and Lingmoor Fell/Rydal Fell//Brathay Valley, Tarn Howes and Hawkshead/ Troutbeck ,Orrest Head and Windermere/





Whats included

What you get on a Secret Hills break

  • Expert guiding
  • A social, relaxed approach
  • Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite- four nights
  • Three course dinner
  • Lunch
  • Sole Occupancy
  • Transport to walks start and from walks finish
  • Personal service
  • Flexibilit
  • Our social, relaxed style of managing your holiday
  • No single supplement

Great reasons to join us

Great reasons to join us

There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Lake District 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 the beautiful Borrowdale 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.

Holidays highlights

Simply superb vista's every day.

- Some of the best walking in this country

- Lovely country house hotel and fabulous food.

- No single supplement 

- Our relaxed social approach

- Meet new friends that turn into old friends

How to book your holiday

How to book a UK guided walking holiday AND holidays in France, Algarve, Douro Valley  and Ireland

To reserve a place on any of our holidays, please follow these simple instructions.

Reserve online  - once you have chosen your holiday, click on the booking button and complete the online form
OR  contact us by phone or email, and we will send by post or email, a booking form to you
OR  you can call us direct on 01694 723600, and we will take your reservation over the phone. Please note we cannot take credit/debit card details over the phone; you can, however, post us a cheque. Alternatively, you can pay via the Pay Pal system attached to our website, which allows you to pay either by debit/credit card, or by using your Paypal account if you have one.

We will also accept a Bank Transfer and on request we will supply our bank details to you.

It is important that you read the terms and conditions before you sign the booking form.

Note - if you are reserving a holiday within a month of the start date then the full amount is due immediately and no deposit should be paid.


Secret Hills Walking, 35, Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6BH

Customer Reviews

 Kay Gaitskell Lakes August Bank Holiday

I have just returned from The Lake District bank holiday break in Skelwith Bridge with Jill and John as leaders.

What a fabulous time we all had, despite the weather! as per usual everything from booking to checking out was smooth and efficient.

Great hotel, yummy food, and fantastic walks led by Jill and John, who are friendly, approachable and very informative leaders. The group gelled really well and it was a great


 Christine Stevens Lakes August 2018

I cannot fault any aspect of this holiday. We were unlucky with the weather, but the friendly group of people made up for it.
The walks were well planned and the 2 guides were excellent.


Tara Burgess Lakes August 2018

I went on a trip last year after searching on the website.  Secret Hills came up and I thought I would give it a try.  After a lovely trip to Seven Sisters and South Downs a visit to the Lake District was next on my list. Loved the location, off the beaten track and food was delicious.  Staff very friendly. My stay was in the lodge and I had a beautiful twin room with great views from the bathroom and bedroom and was peaceful.Thoroughly enjoyed the walks and the views were to die for! 

It was my first time to the Lake District and I was certainly not disappointed.   We had fantastic guidance from Jill and John who were very supportive to each and everyone one of us and certainly made it a memorable trip for the whole group. 


Maggie Murphy Lakes August 2018

Both Jill and John were excellent guides . With a great deal of knowledge of the area and routes.

They also were very considerate and walked at a pace to suit all abilities and encouraged everyone to make the most of every opportunity.

 I had never considered a singles holiday before and was quite apprehensive about it. I spent a long time on various web sites looking for inspiration before finding Secret Hills.  I liked the enthusiastic and straightforward presentation of your web site and that ethos pervaded the short break I took with you. Your guides were knowledgeable, friendly and obviously committed to ensuring everyone was comfortable  and well equipped for the walking conditions and led at a pace suitable to the various abilities of the group.


Jayne Wood Lakes May 2018

Well organised, nice range, gorgeous scenery, views explained. Jill was very informative, and the walks were well organized .The hotel food, bar and public areas very nice, my room was a bit small but then it was a single.


Sarah Trevis Lakes May 2018 

Loved the guided walking.  Jill is v passionate about the area and Tom was helpful about plants and birds

I have to say for me personally the pace and the level of walking was just right.  And the guides were fantastic.

Sarah Trevis Lakes

Loved the guided walking.  Jill is v passionate about the area and Tom was helpful about plants and birds

I have to say for me personally the pace and the level of walking was just right.  And the guides were fantastic.

Sally bouwman Lakes Easter break

Some of the best walking I have ever done. Felt in really good hands the walking guides were fantastic... knowledgeable, friendly, sensitive, supportive, fun, very approachable....

Once again I would like to stress how thoughtful and lovely Gill and Tom were. They really made everyone feel at ease, it was great to see their passion for the area. They were sooo helpful and inspiring. I now have a confirmed passion of my own! Loved that Gill leant me her jacket for the weekend. Thought we were so lucky with the group of 9 lovely women and one delightful young chap.

 Glenys Thompson Lakes Easter break

I thoroughly enjoyed the guided walks. Jill is very knowledgeable of and enthusiastic about the area, which was great. She clearly explained the walks and the options and was flexible in terms of changing things around to suit guests and/or the weather.

Freda Caslin

Wonderful,  the guided walking experience was excellent, both Jill and Tom were extremely knowledgeable on the area, wildlife and vegetation. They were friendly and very professional,  excellent guides

Philip Veit Lakes New Year 2017/18

Food very good, customer service good, my room very good. Drinks at the bar reasonable. good selection of local ales. I must conclude and say how I was impressed with Jill and Tom's leadership qualities. Briefings explained well and regular checks during walks if everyone was alright, also I thought the number in group was just right for this walking holiday. thank you.


Ray Ducker Lakes New Year 2017/18

Very good holiday. Hotel room was comfortable. Had a great time as usual with Jill and Tom.


Michael Smith  New Year 2017/18

The staff were very friendly and efficient, there were different walks available. The guides were very knowledgeable


Elaine Millar – Lakes New year 2017/18

Huge thanks to Jill and Tom for organizing a great time . As always everything was efficient effective informative, could not have done any more than the team do and Jill and Tom did, they are amazing !  Everywhere you go is great, well organised planned and lead another BRILLIANT new year with great company, known and new and as always two amazing leaders that cannot help support or do any more than they do. lovely to see everyone new and known. Have a good 2018 and hopefully see you same time different venue but still in Lake District with the top team!xxxx


John Pallot Lakes October 2017 - October 2017

My second Secret Hills holiday and the second time with Jill. I cannot fault the leadership of her, Joe and Di. I felt safe at all times and their local knowledge was extensive. Unfortunately, it was rather boggy in numerous places, which made the going difficult. However, this did not spoil the overall experience which I can only describe as incredible. Thanks to everyone involved in the planning and running of this holiday."


Dr Keith Stonier-Lake District August 2017

The substantial benefit was the proximity to the walks, all of which could be accessed from the front door of the hotel without car travel. The room (in an outbuilding, close to my car) was just right for me. I felt very much at home. The meals were extremely satisfying (especially the ‘sticky toffee pudding’!). I rate the hotel highly – among the most comfortable and convenient of any in which I have stayed. Jill and Tom explained, guided, supported and socialised to the highest levels. I cannot think of anything that they could have done better. I have the highest regard for how they organised the entire experience.


Debbie Tasker- August Bank holiday Lakes

Very straightforward. I had a couple of chats with Alan beforehand, who was very helpful in providing useful information as well as handy hints and tips on travel etc.

 The Skelwith Bridge hotel was a great base for the holiday. All the staff were friendly and welcoming.

The room was comfortable and clean - not that you spend a lot of time in it, making the most of a full day’s walking. Special mention about the evening meals - the quality of the food was excellent during the entire weekend

Jill and Tom were excellent throughout the weekend - very friendly, welcoming and have great local knowledge to make the experience even more special. Each day we were given a clear explanation of the day's walking locations, as well as the option of a low/mid level or higher level walk. This enabled all levels in the group to be catered for. Jill was very good at checking that we were ok throughout the weekend, so I always felt well looked after. For me, Jill and Tom made the weekend special - thank you both


Claire Houchin - August Bank holiday Lakes

The hotel was excellent. Staff friendly and helpful.

Food excellent, and good choices.

Brill, after my visit last August I returned Easter and again this August. Jill goes out of her way to accommodate all levels and is very perceptive. There were plenty of stops to look at the scenery which is emphasized by both Jill and Tom. To add Toms knowledge of the local plants.


I did feel more relaxed returning, but only did so because of my previous experience.

Thanks for a great time. It felt it was  like going home. Two great people who put everything into making the holiday great.


Thanks Jill and Tom, see you in the new year.



Judith Hanks Lakes April 2017 - May 2017

Jill and Tom were so enthusiastic,and took great care to ensure flexibility, choice, and safety at all times.Really excellent guides!"



Harriet Aitchinson - Lakes March 2017

Gill and Tom were magnificent and were constantly attentive to our comfort and safety in adverse weather conditions; whilst ensuring we were actually offered walks.


Joanne French Lakes March 2017

This was my first Secret Hills holiday and I am almost certain I will book another. My concern before booking was that I would find the distance difficult, as it's been many years since I've walked over about 8 miles, but my mind was put at rest so I booked! From the moment I arrived I felt welcome and included. The whole group were very friendly. The service at the hotel and the food were excellent. The full day walk on the Saturday was probably the furthest I have walked for many years and although I was mostly the 'back marker' I was encouraged by Jill and Tom all the way and therefore didn't find it as difficult as I thought I might. It is a shame that the weather was so wet as another member of the group mentioned that there are usually a few more stops to admire the view etc. along the way. The rain also meant the walk had to be cut short on the Sunday but it didn't spoil my enjoyment in any way!! Thank-you everyone for a most enjoyable weekend


Graham & Morag Hartwell Lakes March 2017

We have just returned from our weekend walking in the lake district. Our first Secret Hills holiday...Won't be the last. The weather was awful but if anything it added to the experience. We would of never ventured out on our own. We felt safe and supported by Tom and Jill and saw some sights in the rain that we would of never seen any other time. I have to say that the rain soaked Sunday was our favourite. Thank you for a wonderful time.

Pauline Nicholson Lakes New year 2016/2017
The two guides Jill and Tom did a fantastic job. They explained the plan for each day and gave options. They were excellent company and looked after everyone in the group very well. Excellent organisation so that I didn't have to worry about anything.
Keep up the good work. As someone who has done a lot of group travel over the years, it is a challenge to get the balance of these trips right.
 But you seem to work your magic to make these trips a really enjoyable experience for everyone.

Elaine Millar- Lakes New Year 2016/17

The holiday was very well organised as always and as always a brilliant time with Jill and Tom . Thank you for the choccies and everything else 


Judith Mulcahy Lakes New Year 2016/17

Hotel was excellent. Room was comfortable and the standard of food exceptional. New Year’s Eve entertainment was just right & created a very lively party atmosphere. The walks were superb and enhanced by wall to wall blue skies and sunshine. Tom & Jill provided interesting & varied walks along with informative snippets of information en route without information overload!

Jill & Tom as ever went the extra mile to ensure the trip was enjoyable for everybody. It is obvious they care about their clients. A thoroughly enjoyable trip at Newby Bridge & I’d be very happy to return there next New Year. It was a nice size group of 10 which was much more manageable & easier to get to know people. Also Jill & Tom definitely know how to arrange a good party!!


Ray Ducker Lakes New Year January 2017.
Another really good holiday with smashing guides and friendly walkers.
A great way to spend the new year weekend

John Kent September 2016

Definitely the best Secret Hills break yet (not easy - they've all been great) due to a combination of expert guiding (thanks Jill and Joe) and a fun group.

CTYuen May 2016

Guided walking experience was Fantastic.  Jill and Graham our leaders were wonderfully considerate with everyone and Jill's knowledge of the area is amazing. She knows everything!!
The guided treks suits all either "moderate" or "easy" and we all had a choice.  Well done

Jill Kent May 2016
A big thank you to Jill. She's brilliant. And Graeme too. A pleasure to meet him and his guiding skills are perfect. All together a wonderful weekend with lovely people. I'm so glad I booked.”

Jeanette Stark June 2016

I enjoyed the guided walking experience very much. Our guides were flexible and able to offer different levels of walks. They were also informative, encouraging and enthusiastic.

Ruth Holmes

Lake District June 2016

Jill and Graeme both made excellent guides and could not have done more to make it a wonderful holiday. Lovely weather and great company as well as fantastic walking. Thanks very much indeed.

Barry Gregory Lakes August Bank Holiday 2014

Very well organised by Jill and Tom.  Very clear programme with options for split walks on most days. ?  The Newby Bridge Hotel was comfortable with helpful staff and good food. It's nice to have a pool to unwind after a days walking.

Pam McEwen Lakes August Bank Holiday weekend 2014

 Fabulous weekend. Great location, lovely hotel, fabulous group of people and wonderfully attentive walk guides. The attention to detail was incredible, they arranged everything …. even the weather apparently. What more can you ask from a weekend? :) FAB, FAB, FAB xxx

Vejay Pal Lakes August Bank Holiday 2014

Thanks for email. Was a great weekend thanks . Have sent feedback form by email. 

Jane Smallwood Lake District April 2014

It was great group and the weather was excellent.  Altogether a really enjoyable break.

Shirley Turner Lake District April 2014

The holiday was very well organized, we were met by Jill as soon as we arrived and made to feel very welcome. The hotel was fantastic and our Group Leaders Jill, Tom and Dawn were great. They were friendly, encouraging and nothing seemed too much trouble. We really appreciated having options on different walks to fit individuals’ abilities’


I wanted to say what a lovely experience I had staying in the Lake District over the weekend. Jill was a fantastic guide and host, I can't praise her enough. She was knowledgeable, attentive, and ensured our holiday was comfortable and stress free. Just a lovely person! We made the most of the sunshine from Friday and throughout Saturday before the rain set in, and even then we had an entertaining tour around the lakes! Saturday was a full day and the views were gorgeous. A well-deserved mid-morning tea break was enjoy

The Local area

The Local area

 Simply stunning scenery and walking - it is all here.

At 885 square miles the Lake District is England’s largest national park just waiting to be explored.

We are home to England’s deepest lake, Wastwater; longest lake, Windermere and highest mountain, Scafell Pike. In-fact there are only 5 peaks over 900m in England and they are all here in Cumbria.

With 50 stone circles, and Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you want to delve into our deep, sometimes dark past or simply enjoy some stunning surroundings, there's plenty of local history and heritage to keep you interested in the scenic highlights of the Lake District

Rydal Village

Rydal is a small village strung along the main road between Grasmere and Ambleside. The nearby lake – Rydal Water, was a favourite with William Wordsworth, who would often have picnics here. The lake lies between Nab Scar and Loughrigg Fell.

Rydal Mount

:  Rydal Village

Rydal Mount, in the heart of the Lake District , commands glorious views of Windermere lake, Rydal Water and the surrounding fells. It was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 to 1850.


image of the exterior of Rydal Mount, once william wordsworth's home in the Lake District ?

The house, which now belongs to the descendants of the poet, retains a lived in family atmosphere, and has changed little since Wordsworth and his family came to live here. They rented the house from Lady le Fleming, of nearby Rydal Hall.


image of a rare manuscript on a window ledge at Rydal Hall in the Lake District ?

Nearby is a dedicated filed - called Dora'a field- to Wordsworth's daughter Dora- daffodils in spring.



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Our Promise To You
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...

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.

Tracy Swinney