Looking to combine your love of horse riding and staycations into one fantastic getaway? Here Katie Allen-Clarke, Director of Marketing at Horse & Country, shares some of the best areas for a horse-riding holiday in the UK.
Whether you’re looking to improve your equestrian skills or simply enjoy exploring the natural beauty of the UK on horseback, a horse-riding staycation is sure to make for a great getaway. Fortunately, in the UK, we’re blessed with plenty of natural beauty hotspots – from mountains to beaches and a variety of landscapes in between. We’re also lucky enough to have hundreds of miles of horse trails across the country, so wherever you go you shouldn’t be far from a trail or bridleway.
Don’t overlook the importance of your outfit and your horse’s gear when planning your time together. Ensure you have essential items like a high-quality saddle pad, protective brushing boots for horses, bridles, and all the necessary equipment to ensure a delightful experience with your pet.
With so many choices available, you may struggle to narrow down your search to find your perfect equestrian escape. To give you some inspiration for your next staycation, I’ve rounded up five of the best areas for a horse-riding holiday in the UK.
One of the most underrated areas of natural beauty in the UK, Northumberland is a fantastic choice for your horse-riding staycation. The Northumberland Coast is a designated Area of Natural Beauty, making it a particularly popular choice amongst horse riders. From these picturesque beaches, you can view many of the area’s landmarks, including Holy Island and various historic castles. There are plenty of places to enjoy riding here as well, from award-winning national parks to a selection of quaint countryside bridleways. When it comes to accommodation, you have ample choice throughout the county, with a range of boutique cottages and rural cabin retreats available.
You aren’t short of riding centres to choose from in the region, either. Slate Hall Riding Centre is a great base for rides along the Northumberland coast. These rides will reward you with fantastic views from Bamburgh Castle to the Farne Islands. Kimmerston Riding Centre is another popular choice amongst equestrians. Based near the Cheviots, this centre offers a range of picturesque moor rides. You can also enjoy exploring Kielder National Forest, with stabling and plenty of accommodation nearby.
One of Wales’s most picturesque tourism hotspots, this rural area is one of the most popular in the UK for walking holidays. And the good news for horse riders is that there are plenty of trails for those looking to explore the region on horseback. In fact, there are over 600 miles of bridle paths and tracks in the national park, so you shouldn’t be short of areas to explore. Some of the most beautiful and pleasant to ride routes in the region include the four circular riding routes in the Black Mountains, with stunning landscape views, and the 70-mile Radnor Forest trail, full of beautiful upland scenery.
There are a number of stables and riding centres in the area, so no matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find the perfect option for your getaway. If you’re taking your little ones with you for your staycation, Llangorse Multi Activity Centre offers pony rides for children as young as four, plus they have plenty of indoor activities to try out on rainy days. For those most looking forward to exploring the Black Mountains, Tregoyd Mountain Riders Centre is conveniently located for doing so.
There is plenty of different accommodation throughout the area too. If you’re looking to get back to nature on your staycation, the Brecon Beacons is full of picturesque campsites with plenty of amenities for a comfortable stay. If you’re looking for a little more luxury but still like the idea of sleeping in the great outdoors, you’ll also find numerous glamping sites across the region too.
Causeway Coast and Glens
Northern Ireland is full of scenic horse-riding trails, but some of the best in the country can be found on the Causeway Coast and Glens. Perfect for both beginners and more experienced riders, there are various ways to explore the region. The beaches are (of course) one of the main attractions for tourists and horse riders alike, with a stunning rugged coastline perfect for sandy canters. You can also go riding through the picturesque countryside and quaint rural villages.
For coastal rides, one riding centre which may suit for your getaway is Sheans Horse Farm. They offer a range of coastal routes with views of a variety of landmarks, from Dunluce Castle to Giants Causeway. Crindle Stables could also be a base for your UK horse riding holiday. They offer countryside treks and forest rides, as well as beach rides.
There is a wide choice of inns throughout the region, any of which are sure to make for a cosy and comfortable stay. Alternatively, there are various camping and glamping sites, as well as rural cabins that can provide a serene and peaceful staycation.
This is one of the most popular UK staycation destinations, and it’s easy to see why, with quaint, picturesque villages and stunning coastal landscapes. This is also a fantastic spot for a horse-riding staycation, with numerous routes and bridleways to explore. One of the most popular rides is the Kernow Horse Trail, reaching all the way from Cardinham Castle on the Devon border down to Lands’ End. Comprising of five separate routes, this is the perfect journey for those looking to cover a lot of miles. The most popular section of the Kernow Horse Trail is the Tinners’ Trail, the last stretch of which ends at Lands’ End.
You’ll find a great choice of riding centres and stables throughout the county. For coastal riding, the Reen Manor Riding Stables offer beach rides for both beginner and more experienced riders, as well as rides for children. Hallagenna offers horse riding experiences for adults and children as young as five, as well as moor rides for more experienced riders.
When it comes to accommodation in Cornwall, a cosy cottage is the perfect way to enjoy this corner of the country. One of the most popular forms of accommodation, there are plenty of picturesque cottages to choose from throughout the county, many of which have stables nearby.
A rural county full of picturesque countryside landscapes, Cheshire is the perfect peaceful getaway. And with a wide range of stables and riding centres to choose from across the region, it’s the ideal area for a horse-riding staycation too. One of the most popular areas to explore on horseback in Cheshire is Delamere Forest. This vast 972-hectare woodland has plenty of bridleways to explore, and horse-riding centres also offer guided tours of the forest. Cheshire is home to a number of renowned horse-riding centres and stables, including the BHS-approved Willington Hall Riding Centre, which offers various horse-riding tours.
Looking to have a luxurious staycation experience for your getaway? Cheshire is the perfect place to combine your horse-riding escape with a spa retreat. There are numerous four- and five-star spas in the region to choose from, many of which are within a short driving distance from stables.
If you’re planning a horse-riding staycation, hopefully, the regions above have given you some inspiration for where to book your trip. For more holiday inspiration, make sure to check out the rest of the travel articles at British Style Society.