01694 723600 info@secrethillswalking.co.uk
We meet as strangers and depart as friends

South Downs – a summer midweek special

July 17, 2022
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Why Book With Us?

  • Value for Money
  • Personal Service
  • Hand-picked Tours & Activities
  • No single supplement (UK only)
  • Flights from local airports (Europe only)

Make an Enquiry

Do not hesitate to contact us. We are an expert team and we are always happy to talk to you.


01694 723600

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.

From rolling hills to bustling market towns, our solos guided walking holiday introduces the South Downs National Park’s landscapes which 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.

Our unique speciality is solos and singles guided walking in magnificent locations in the UK and Europe. We have an extra speciality in that we also design bespoke holidays for special groups.

  • Five Days
  • Refund guarantee
  • Expert Tour Guides
  • Four Nights
  • Location: South Downs
What you get on a Secret Hills Break
  • Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite two nights/ three nights if the holiday falls on a Bank Holiday – Spring Bank or August Bank Holiday
  • Dinner- three course.
  • Lunch- except first day
  • Sole Occupancy
  • Personal service
  • Expert guiding- friendly, local guides that know the area superbly well
  • Transport to walks start and finish as needed
  • Flexibility
  • No single supplement
  • A social, relaxed approach
  • Full joining details prior to your holiday
  • Our administration support from the point of booking to you joining the holiday

Hotel and Meals

We stay at the Hydro Hotel in Eastbourne, close to the sea front with excellent views over the English Channel.

The hotel is within easy walking distance from the centre of Eastbourne and has lovely en suite rooms and spacious public areas. Parking is either in the small hotel car park or off road outside the hotel.


We eat in the hotel’s dining room – three courses. Dress code is smart casual. We have lunch at one of the South Downs lovely country pubs.

Great reasons to join us

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

  • We specialise in organising guided walking holidays for single and solos travellers
  • 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.
  • 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 at one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.



By train – Eastbourne  is the nearest station some half a mile away. Taxis are readily available. See National Rail website for train times.

By car –  the post code for your Sat Nav is BN20 7HZ for the Hydro Hotel. Full detailed journey instruction will be sent with your Joining Details prior to the holiday.


This is a four and a half day walking holiday, starting at 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon from the hotel reception. We walk on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and finish on Thursday  afternoon at 3.00pm.

If you have booked an additional night’s accommodation, note there is no walk on the Friday.

Grade and Difficulty

We walk between 8 and 10 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.
Paths are well walked and maintained, sometimes on grassy slopes. We walk through forests and these paths can be muddy. Some steep ascents and descents but we will take those gently.

Sample Walks

Here are a selection of walks that may happen, there are many others to choose from though.

3.5-miles circular walk with fantastic views of the chalk cliffs that we will be walking along the next day, and an opportunity to hunt for fossils on the beach.  Circular walk at Seaford Head, with excellent views across to the Seven Sisters where we will be walking the next day, and an opportunity to hunt for fossils on the beach. From the Cuckmere Inn at Exceatbridge, we walk via Chyngton Farm and Hope Bottom to the beach at Hope Gap, then head inland via part of the Vanguard Way to Exceat for a drink at the Cuckmere Inn before returning to the hotel.

10-miles circular walk, taking in the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, the meanders of the Cuckmere River and the beech wood of Friston Forest, finishing with drinks in the charming village of East Dean.  Circular walk, taking the South Downs Way along the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, Sussex’s unspoilt Heritage Coast. There is an opportunity for drinks / comfort break at Birling Gap after 3 miles. We have lunch after 6 miles at the Cuckmere Inn at Exceatbridge. The route then takes in the meanders of the Cuckmere River, and the beech wood of Friston Forest, finishing with drinks at the locally popular Tiger Inn in the charming village of East Dean.  

10-miles circular walk from Firle village to Charleston Farmhouse and Berwick church (both associated with the Bloomsbury Group of artists, writers and intellectuals).After lunch in Alfriston, we enjoy far-reaching views from the South Downs Way. Circular walk starting in Firle village. Walking eastbound underneath the South Downs escarpment, we continue past Firle Place manor house and Charleston Farmhouse (where the Bloomsbury Group of artists, writers and intellectuals once lived). We pass through the historic villages of Alciston and Berwick to the ancient village of Alfriston for lunch. We then walk westwards on the ridge of the South Downs Way to Firle Beacon, enjoying far-reaching views before descending back into Firle for afternoon drinks.    

9.5-miles circular walk from Alfriston, taking in the historic chalk figure of the Long Man of Wilmington, plus the villages of Folkington and Jevington. We explore Lullington Heath and visitone of the smallest churches in England.  Circular walk from Alfriston village, taking in the historic chalk figure of the Long Man of Wilmington. We continue on the South Downs to Combe Hill Neolithic Camp via Folkington, Wannock and Willingdon. After lunch in the charming village of Jevington, we explore Lullington Heath National Nature Reserve (a rare habitat of chalk heathland), before heading west via one of the smallest churches in England and back for afternoon drinks at one of Alfriston’s historic establishments.  

 7-miles – Our walk on the last day is a circular Downland walk from Lewes (including the historic castle and priory), to Malling Down and the ancient hill fort of Mount Caburn. 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 hill fort 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.  

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

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 on Secrethills Walking Holidays. We don’t go in for discos, 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 and 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.

How to Book

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

Reserve online  – once you have chosen your holiday, click on Proceed Booking and complete the online form. If you have difficulty reserving online, please  contact us (tel: 01694 723600, email: info@secrethillswalking.co.uk) and we will assist you to complete your booking.


Please note we cannot take credit/debit card details over the phone. You may pay by the following methods when you book online…

  • Paypal – if you have a Paypal account, simply click on the link to the Paypal website.
  • Credit / Debit card – we use Paypal to host our credit/debit cards facility because it is a very secure system. So if you want to pay with a card, simply click on this option which will take you to our page on the PayPal website. Check in there as a “Guest” to enable your card payment. You do not need to have a Paypal account for this transaction.
  • We will also accept a Bank Transfer – you will find our account details on the booking form.
  • Finally, we will also accept a cheque payable to Secret Hills Walking Holidays and sent to: Secret Hills Walking Holidays, 35 Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6BH

Please note than an initial deposit is required with each booking regardless of which payment method you choose. Your booking will be accepted when your payment (deposit or full balance) is received. 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.

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.


From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breath taking 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. It is located immediately east of Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in the United Kingdom and part of the South Downs National Park. 






3 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Vanessa Decker

Solo Traveller

Did you enjoy the guided walking experience? Yes, very much so. Both guides were fantastic. Professional, friendly, well organised and informative. Would you reserve another holiday with Secret Hills Walking? Definitely.

July 21, 2021

Jocelyn Middleton

Solo Traveller

Thankyou excellent holiday, excellent leaders, and I like your format stopping in local pubs for lunch. Enjoyed stopping at historical sites. The hotel was very good the pool was a bonus for me. I thought there was a good choice of food. I am sure I will do another Secret Hills trip in the future and I will recommend you to other walkers. Many thanks Jocelyn Middleton

July 21, 2021

Karen jennings

Solo Traveller

Hello Alan. Had the super best time! Hotel was great. Alison and Neil (walk leadres) were faultless, caring, informative (their knowledge was astounding) and great fun! I completely switched off under their care! I will definitely be looking at another break. All the pubs were great, transport was easy. I cannot think of anything you could have done differently to ensure I had a great time! I would not hesitate in rebooking with you. Best wishes, Karen Jennings 

July 21, 2021