England, UK Horse Riding Ranch Holidays

UK horse riding holidays reflect the country's long history with the horse. A country steeped in tradition, England is nothing if not diverse, but you'll find horse riding tours in the hustle and bustle of the city in London - at Hyde Park Stables and other London equestrian centres - and also in the calm of the English countryside. England is famous for its Royal traditions and the world watched as Prince William and Kate Middleton married in 2011. (Did you know Princess Kate is allergic to horses?!) But whether you decide to go horseback riding in London or find UK ranch holidays in the peaceful countryside, you’re sure to come across the tradition the England is most proud of: horses and riding.

To truly immerse yourself in English tradition, take a horseback riding ranch vacation at Exmoor National Park – a former Royal hunting ground and home to stunning landscapes, moors, wooded areas, streams and coastline. Saddle up your horse each morning to amble through woodlands, trot along streams and canter across the open moorland – all the while taking in the stunning wildlife South West England has to offer – from red deer and badgers, to foxes and hawks – and not forgetting the Park’s local equine residents, the wild Exmoor Ponies. The north of England is no less a holiday hot spot for horseback riding tourists: explore the Lake of Cumbria from the saddle as you ride through dramatic fells and experience horseback riding tours through sleepy shores.

If you prefer the bright lights to the sleepy villages and hamlets, you’ll be pleased to know the iconic capital city of London offers something for horseback riding enthusiasts. Not just a popular tourist destination for culture, arts, monuments, shopping and nightlife, London is home to several parks and equestrian centres where you can take horseback riding tours in some if the capital’s greener spots. Ride through Hyde Park on one of Hyde Park Stables’ trusty mounts and you might even spot the Royal Household Cavalry on parade or training on your trail!

For a happy mix of town and country, head to the traditional university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, or venture to Stonehenge and Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon. Experience ‘real England’ in the north at the historic industrial cities of Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester, but don’t miss York and Durham while you’re up there – two of England’s best hidden treasures. Those seeking a horseback riding vacation in the rural locations of Jane Austen or Lord Tennyson should visit the stunning Lake District or the dales of Yorkshire – and rest assured you’ll find plenty of horseback riding experiences on offer here. If you like to gallop, then saddle up with the Cumbrian Heavy Horses and race along the beach on an 18hh gentle giant! Horse riding doesn’t get better than that.

You don’t have to be a competent rider to saddle up at a dude ranch in the UK, and many horseback riding holiday providers take complete novices out on the trail on trusty cob mounts. And those more experienced riders will find something for them, whether it’s a highly strung Thoroughbred or a graceful British Warmblood. Take it at a walk, or go galloping and jumping – the choice is yours! If you’re really brave, why not try traditional English Fox Hunting? Just remember England has strict laws when it comes to safety, but most registered riding holiday companies will make sure you’re fully insured and geared up in the necessary helmets and boots where necessary – so there’s rarely a need to bring your own.

Where ranch holidays and vacations are concerned, England has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reputation for its wet weather. Granted, England has its fair share of rainfall, but catch it on one of its many days of glorious sunshine and you’ll soon discover England is much more pleasant than you might imagine... and none more so than from the back of a horse! If you’re planning a horseback riding vacation in England, bear in mind that the North is generally colder and wetter than the southern counties – although Exmoor does have a reputation for its milder conditions. But rest assured, when the sun peeks through the clouds you’ll see why England is a horse riding hotspot and a must for all horse riders. Horseback riding vacations are best taken in the warmer months between May and September – steer clear of January and February, when temperatures can plummet to zero and the country is often enveloped in heavy snowfall. Sunseekers will be pleased to know that July and August average at around 25°C – perfect for horse riding – and can even peak above 30°C!

Wherever and whenever you go, and whatever your riding ability, you’ll be swept off your feet by England’s charm – and its passion for horses.

If you have any suggestions for an amazing riding holiday in England, please contact us!

- Jody Dahl

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