South Downs - a summer midweek special

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Open for walking

We are open to guide you round our great British countryside.

Yes – there is a panic about the Corona virus, but we will still run our holidays – unless stopped by Government edict. Getting out into the countryside after such an awful winter- must give a lift to the depressed times we face.

The South Downs

A super  four and half days of walking in the lovely Sussex countryside enjoy the lovely countryside with like minded people- dinner in stimulating company- a social,relaxed approach

This area is rich in history, and the walking is superb - a magnificent panorama with much variety in the walks we plan for you. And the sea ever present on the horizon, or close by your walks.

From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breathtaking views and hidden gems. A rich tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, tranquillity and visitor attractions, weave together a story of people and place in harmony.

Discover the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, rolling farmland, ancient woodland and lowland heaths or enjoy our ‘picture perfect’ villages, traditional country pubs or flourishing vineyards. Let the South Downs National Park subtly seduce you.

Secret Hills Walking use this landscape as the backdrop to great walking - Green rolling pastures, open spaces, ancient woodlands and river valleys truly encompass the National Park’s ethos of being one of ‘Britain’s Breathing Spaces’. While bustling towns and traditional villages steeped in history offer a multitude of cultural opportunities.


Accommodation and meals

Our hotel is the in Hydro  Hotel, Eastbourne, on the promenade.- Four star

Rooms are single or twin allocated as single. No single supplement. Staying Sunday/Monday/Tuesday.Wednesday nights

There are single rooms with a balcony available - the extra per night charge is £20, please ask if you wish to avail your self of these rooms. There is a limited number available..

There will be a supplement if you request a double room for sole occupancy.- this is £25 per night, and a double room will be allocated.


Evening dinner

We eat in the hotels dining room - three courses.Dress code is smart casual.


We have lunch at one of the South Downs lovely country pubs,  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.


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

Walking Programme

This is a four and half day summer walking week starting on  Sunday  afternoon  from hotel reception.

Walking on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday until 3pm

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

Walking - Grades and difficulty
We walk between 9 and 11 miles per day.  We walk at a steady pace, we don’t rush.  We want you to enjoy our lovely scenery - this countryside is a walkers paradise with good paths and an ever changing landscape.

Four night weekend walking programme

Walk One- Sunday afternoon- starts at 2.30pm - please meet at 2pm ready to walk.

4 miles circular walk at Seaford Head - excellent views across to the Seven Sisters to see the whole of what we will be walking the next day, opportunity to hunt for fossils on the beach.  Dropped off at the Cuckmere Inn at Exceat Bridge, walk via Chyngton Farm and Hope Bottom to beach, return via Vanguard Way to Exceat for a drink at the Cuckmere Inn before returning  to the hotel..


10 miles linear walk from Beachy Head to Alfriston, taking the South Downs Way along the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, Sussex's unspolit Heritage Coast.  Opportunity for drinks / cup of tea break at Birling Gap after 3 miles - to help break the hills up.  Lunch after 6 miles at the Cuckmere Inn at Exceat Bridge The route then takes in the meanders of the Cuckmere River, and the beech wood of Friston Forest, finishing in the beautiful village of Alfriston for afternoon tea


10 mile linear walk starting high on the ridge of the South Downs Way and walking west to Firle Beacon, enjoying the far reaching views before descending.  Underneath the escarpment, the walk will continue past Firle Place Manor House and Charleston Farmhouse with its literary associations, before heading to the Barley Mow in Selmeston for lunch.  Then gently undulating through the historic villages of Alciston and Berwick to finish at the charming old village of Alfriston for afternoon tea.


9.5 mile circular walk from Wilmington village, taking in the historic chalk figure of the Long Man of Wilmington, then up on to the South Downs Way.  We explore Lullington Heath Nature Reserve, then head west via the smallest church in England to Alfriston for lunch at one of Alfriston’s historic establishments after 5m.  After lunch we take in some historic earthworks on the way back to Wilmintgon


7-mile circular walk from the medieval castle in Lewes, the county town of East Sussex. We head past the ruins of Lewes Priory towards the impressive chalk hills of Malling Down, with its views of the town and the expanse of Low Weald farmland. We continue to the ancient hillfort of Mount Caburn, overlooking the South Downs, the River Ouse and surrounding meadows. We head back through a wide, grassy valley. After lunch in Lewes  to celebrate our final day’s walking, we finish around 2.30pm.  

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 iconic South Downs landscape

- Beachy Head, Cuckmere Haven, the Seven Sisters

- lovely villages and woodland walking

- walking along the chalk cliff coast

- sea front hotel

 -excellent food

-no single supplement

-our relaxed social approach

arrive and enjoy.



What's included on your holiday

What you get on a Secret Hills break

  • Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite two nights for weekend breaks and three nights and days for the Spring Bank Holiday break
  • Dinner-three course each night plus coffee
  • Lunch
  • Sole occupancy- no single supplement
  • Personal service - includes train pickup and set downs, individual holiday planning for you
  • 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 supplement
  • A social, relaxed approach
  • Full joining details prior to your holiday
  • Our administration support throughout the process of booking and prior to the holiday

Holidays Highlights

Fabulous Coastal and downs scenery-  Seven Sisters/ Burling Gap/

- Simply superb vista's every day.

- Some of the best walking in this country

- Lovely sea view hotel and fabulous food.

- No single supplement 

- Our relaxed social approach

-Meet new friends that turn into old friends

Great reasons to join us

Great reasons to join us

There are other walking holiday companies that cover the South Downs 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 Eastbourne is set in lovely surroundings with fabulous views of the sea 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.

What our customers say

Denise Martin  -  South Downs May 2019

Guided walking; Loved it.  Our guides were brilliant; knowledgeable, friendly, caring, inclusive.  The walks themselves gave me a real sense of the place; they were demanding enough for me – so that I felt I’d really expended some effort.  Lunch arrangements and drinks at end of walk were well thought through. Hotel was fine, no complaints. Reception staff were very helpful.  Good location.


Pam McNish South Downs August 2018

I had a wonderful weekend and Lou was a perfect guide, attentive enough regarding comfort, health and safety, informative regarding the flora, fauna, geology and history of the area and organised everything very well and smoothly without feeling we were 'being' organised too much

Thank you very much


Alison Irwin South Downs August 2018

My booking was last minute, but I had all the information I needed. this was my first try at this sort of holiday and it has given me the confidence to do this again.

With Secret Hills? Why not? Would I recommend it to others? Yes!

Lou, our guide was helpful and a font of knowledge on the area. She consolidated the group and made sure everyone was included, thanks again for a memorable weekend.

 I really liked the addition of the pub lunches and evening meals as a group as this is one of the times that you can feel quite lonely if you choose to holiday alone.


Emma Peacock South Downs August 2018

Lou was great, thoroughly enjoyed the walks, varied and able to walk at our own paces, especially along the up and down of the cliffs on a very hot day.


Mark Ford South Downs August 2018

 Lou is an excellent guide who knows her area and subject very well. 


 Dear Mr Garner-

Just a note to say how much i enjoyed my break in the South Downs.

Lou was fantastic, so friendly and full of local knowledge. The weather was wondeful,and our food delicious.Thank you.

Clare Hook South Downs - JUNE 2018


Hi Alan,

I am writing to express how much of a lovely time I had this weekend just gone with Lou and the rest of the ladies on our trip.

Lou was an excellent tour guide and made everyone feel at ease.

Everything was planned perfectly with no stress and no worry of rushing.

I have attached a few photos which I took, and am happy for you to use them if you wish.

I just wonder if you'd be able to forward them on to the rest of the ladies in my group and Lou? As I didn't get the chance to get everyone's contact details.

Many thanks Melanie Lovegrove SOUTH DOWNS JUNE 2018


Coral Fuller South Downs

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Felt I was challenged without being pushed.  Louise, the guide, was brilliant. She set the pace right for us and gave us different options to choose from. She wanted to make sure we enjoyed the experience.

Very nice hotel. Friendly staff. Room had everything and was very clean.


Jenny Bryant - South Downs September 2017 - September 2017

This trip was great and made special by a really nice group of walkers and Lou's brilliant leadership. The dinners out were really good and we liked both restaurants.


Ute & Christoph Leibrandt - South Downs – July 2017

The room was very nice, and we enjoyed having a comfortable room with enough space.

Breakfast was good. Your nice guides were the best of the tour besides the great countryside.

Regan Mills - July 2016

Lou was lovely and I found her enthusiasm infectious.  She always had interesting information and facts to tell us throughout the 3 days walking.

I found the hotel pleasant, and the staff friendly.


Ruth Davis- July 2016

The two guides were great — really lovely, friendly, very informative about the terrain, its ecology and history, and very supportive of less experienced walkers such as myself. Their encouragement and support was invaluable. When I didn’t feel up to doing the second full day they were completely understanding and respected my decision. The company of the other walkers was great too. 


Janet Simmons - July 2016

The guided walks were very good. Lou was extremely good and took care of all participants.


Regan Mills South Downes July 2015

Louise was lovely and I found her enthusiasm infectious.  She always had interesting information and facts to tell us throughout the 3 days walking. I will be booking another holiday and hopefully will bring a friend with me and
I thoroughly enjoyed my walking holiday in Eastbourne. Thank you


Paula Robinson South Downes July 2015

I enjoyed the guided walking very much. Excellent leaders and very knowledgeable


Anthony Carden South Downs July 2015

I have been on many walking holidays in the UK and Europe with different companies, but the location, time and competitive price of the holiday offered by Secret Hills fitted my schedule. Lou was a good knowledgeable leader.

Marian Hawksworth

 A brilliant, first time experience walking with secret hills walking/short break for singles. I liked the pace of the walking set and meeting interesting people. I liked the setting of the South Downs Way footpath, looking out to the Channel from clifftop viewpoints, in particular, Beachy Head. At other points, flinty tracks, ancient field patterns, heath, woodland, grassland, supporting a huge variety of downland flowers, the Long Man hill figure, and more, seems to me a great way of refreshing the person. 



The South Downs and Eastbourne

From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breathtaking views and hidden gems. A rich tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, tranquillity and visitor attractions, weave together a story of people and place in harmony.

Discover the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, rolling farmland, ancient woodland and lowland heaths or enjoy our ‘picture perfect’ villages, traditional country pubs or flourishing vineyards. Let the South Downs National Park subtly seduce you.

Stop anywhere in the South Downs and it is hard not to find an inspiring view. There are stunning, panoramic views to the sea and across the weald as you travel the 100 mile length of the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne, culminating in the impressive chalk cliffs at Seven Sisters. From near and far, the South Downs is an area of inspirational beauty that can lift the soul.

But the landscapes that can take your breath away are more than just scenery, they are living, working, ever changing places shaped by human use over thousands of years and natural factors such as geology, landform, soils and biodiversity. Our landscapes also give us food, wildlife, clean water and access to the countryside in one of the busiest parts of the UK.

The geology of the South Downs underpins so much of what makes up the special qualities of the area: its diverse landscapes, land use, buildings and culture. While most people immediately think of chalk when they think of the South Downs, greensands and clays form the Western Weald. In this relatively small area a rich diversity of landscapes exist. Within these diverse landscapes you can discover hidden villages, thriving market towns, farms both large and small, and historic estates, connected by a network of paths and lanes, many of which are ancient.


Eastbourne is a large town, seaside resort, and borough in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex on the south coast of England, 17 miles (27 km) east of Brighton. Eastbourne is located immediately east of Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Great Britain and part of the South Downs National Park. With a seafront consisting largely of Victorian hotels, the pier, and a Napoleonic era fort and military museum, Eastbourne was developed by the Duke of Devonshire in 1859 from four separate hamlets



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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...

Many thanks for the weekend - very enjoyable - you put in more effort than is needed - but it's much appreciated. You even managed to organise the weather . Ill look at the list and see about joining you in the Berwyns some time.

Lesley Walton, Liverpool