What to Expect

Hiking is done at a brisk calorie-burning pace in the stunning English countryside. We explore the beautiful trails and charming countryside around the Surrey Hills and Sussex Downs. The villages, hills and forest in these areas have an authentic rural feel to them, yet they are conveniently close to London. Your guide will give you a brief background and will be happy to answer questions on the area. Generally commentary is kept to a minimum to maximize the cardio benefit of the walk. The average person burns around 1000 -2000 calories on one of our specially selected hilly routes. You will definitely earn your right to indulge after completing these guided hikes! For those participating in just a day hike during the week these will vary between shorter gentler scenic hikes and hilly challenging walks.

Outdoor Activities are arranged on the second day for overnight scheduled events. They will vary by weekend but may include cycling, vineyard tours, water sports, countryside ‘boot camp’, clay pigeon shooting or a more relaxed second walk. No previous skills will be required just a positive attitude. They will always involve fun, fresh air and socialising.

Great Food & Drink is your reward for completing the rigorous countryside workout. We have sought out the coolest dinner venues in the countryside known for their delicious menus. Indulgent 3 course dinners are included in our weekend breaks. Healthy, yet tasty menu options will always be available for those who want to have a total fitness weekend. Evenings at Hike to Indulge events are an excuse to scrub up, put on your stylish gear and let your hair down. You will be socialising with other active and like-minded women and men with busy urban lifestyles. Many of our guest come on their but have hooked up with new friends during the day.

Accommodation will be at the best available countryside inns, manors and boutique hotels near the trails. These will be comfortable and often stylish places with good food and warm, friendly atmosphere. It will definitely be a big step up from those old lodges and hostels! We make sure there are plenty creature comforts at the end our trails.

Little Extra Touches like a complimentary bottle of water, tissues and hand warmers will be supplied if needed. Other extras will vary by weekend but may include homemade Banana bread on the hike, hot coffee or tea along the trail, a binge box of snacks at the end, or small gifts of locally produced goods like Ale or Cupcakes.

Your Host will greet you warmly and make sure you are well looked after. They will ensure all guest feel part of the group and everyone has an opportunity to meet as many new people as they wish. This is particularly useful on our singles events.

Value is very important for all of our discerning and savvy guests. With weekends from £169, you'll receive a guided countryside hike, lunch, snacks, gourmet dinner, one night’s accommodation (based on sharing a twin room), breakfast and a further outdoor activity on the second day. In the evening, you will be encouraged to relax and socialise without the expense and worry of taxi back home. With a short journey back into London, the travel time and cost will be minimal.

Guided Day Hikes are also available on a regular basis on Wednesday mornings from only £10 and occasional Saturdays and Sundays from £15. They are a great way to get a bit of fresh air, exercise and socialising in a short time. We also build in a stop for lunch (not included in the cost) after or during the day hikes. All group hikes are within 60 minutes of London. See schedule

PRESS ARTICLE in LUNCH MAGAZINE

By Amy Hughes

While it’s been said that when a man tires of London, he is tired of life, even us hardcore city slickers need a break now and then.  And I’m not talking about the kind that requires military precision planning to get the most out of a 48-hour weekend, with well-researched hotels and lots of logistics.  I’m talking about an easy escape … the kind you don’t even have to think about.

Alex Murphy can guarantee that.  There’s only one catch.  You have to be willing to earn it. Alex is a certified personal trainer who organises hikes within 60 minutes of London, and overnights further afield.  Her website (www.hikingtoindulge.com) boasts the fact that her hikes are a great form of fitness and can burn as many as 1500 calories.  It takes a lot for me to give up my Saturday morning spin class, but Alex assured me I wouldn’t sacrifice my workout.  And she was right.  If you’ve been hitting the expense account hard, and can’t bear more time at a hotel gym where it feels like the walls are closing in, this is just the antidote.

Alex is a sparky American and she is nothing if not organised.  Using software which grades ascents, Alex carefully maps out a range of hikes to suit easy, moderate and challenging levels of fitness, amidst great scenery.  Ours consists of a few steep inclines, with one in particular which really got my heart thumping.  I have to remind myself it was all part of the thousand-plus calorie promise.

Armed with her maps and printouts,  Alex does a dry-run of every hike, ensuring there’s a gastro-pub en route, which passes muster, preferably at the half-way point.  Our group of 10 gathers at Denbies Vineyard (England’s largest), a beautiful spot  just under an hour’s train ride from Central London.

With an 11am start time, I dodn’t need a wake-up call to make my train.   I signed up for a four-hour hike, lunch at a gastro-pub, and a hill-top wine tasting, all included in £30 cost for the day.  And I’m not disappointed.  Alex is like a cross between Girl Guides Mom and Concierge.    Her planning and attention to detail means the rest of us didn’t have to think about a thing – just follow the leader.

She and her partner carry rucksacks filled with goodies.  First, granola bars and water were doled out to make sure everyone was fuelled up for our first hill.  Later, we stop to enjoy sweeping views of the valley below while sampling Denbies ’wines.  Fellow hikers range in age from late 20s to 50 and we are easily distracted getting to know each other.  It is a diverse and social group representing at least five different countries.  Any tourist would fit in, and find this a great way to dip into local culture.   In fact, the groups are so social, I’m told there have been a few happy endings from these hikes.

We stopped for lunch at a gastro-pub well frequented by Alex and her groups.   There were mixed reviews about the food, but it is clear this is the first time things were sub-par.  And judging the by way Alex runs things, she’ll either have a word with the manager, or re-direct her route to a different pub next time.   Skimping is not what these hikes are about.

If anyone leaves hungry, it isn’t long to wait before we are treated to another stop where Alex breaks out locally made loaves of chocolate ganache cake and lemon drizzle.  They are enough to tempt even my will of steel.  I said “tempt” not break.

We return to the winery about fourish, and those who want to can head into Denbies’ shop for a formal tasting, or a browse.  The rest of us heading back to London are back in the urban jungle by 6pm.  Just in time for a soak and a quiet night in, or out.

Alex posts hike dates on her website, but it’s best to email her directly if you’re interested.   Hikes are organised for Saturdays, Sundays, weekend overnights and weekdays/weeknights.  She also runs corporate events and tailors hikes as well as other outdoor activities according to the group.

If you’re desperate for a break from the Big Smoke, and keen to work off your guilty pleasures, try these hikes.  I think I’m hooked.

www.hiketoindulge.com

Short URL: http://www.lunchmag.com/?p=2402

 

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TO BOOK OUR NO- FRILLS FAST PACED LARGE GROUP HILL HIKES check out:

 Hike to Indulge at MeetUp


PRESS Coverage

GUARDIAN Features Exodus UK Hikes 
in Travel Section

WANDELUST Magazine
 writes
5 Reasons group hiking is cooler than cocktail hour !
 July 2012

Hike to Indulge featured in Lunch Magazine August 2011
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