A day on the North CoastExplore all that the Coast has to offer
A day on the North Coast
|At a Glance:||A day on the North Coast|
|Description:||Spend the day exploring the Irish hills and coast around Ballintoy with its rugged coastline, spectacular beaches, Game of Thrones connections and idyllic village.|
|Duration:||7 – 8 Hours|
|Includes:||Tea, coffee, scones on arrival Knowledgeable Guide, Lunch at a local Establishment, History Overview of Coast, 5* Coastal Riding and Trail Riding|
Our “Day on the North Coast” ride offers a little taste of everything that makes the north coast of Ireland world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant countryside and Irish hospitality!
This ride is available daily with times to be prearranged with the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team. This experience can also be spread over two days if so wished.
Part 1: You will come to the centre for an assessment, have some refreshments, select a suitable horse and go riding in the North Antrim Hills with views over 5 counties, taking approximately 3 hours.
Part 2: You will travel 10 miles to the coastal village of Ballintoy, where you will spend approximately 5 hours riding on the North Coast and taking in the renowned beach of Whitepark Bay, lunch at the Red Door Cottage Tea Room and finishing the day by riding in the hills overlooking the quaint seaside village of Ballintoy. Enjoy the Game of Thrones film locations of Ballintoy Harbour and Larrybane beside the famous Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, while looking out over the sea to Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and the Western Isles of Scotland.
*This ride is all off road and is suitable for all levels of riders.
This coastal riding adventure begins at the McKinley family farm located in the beautiful County Antrim countryside. This magnificent hilltop farm is surrounded by 1,000 acres of rolling hills, lush with grass and dotted with white, fluffy sheep. As you make your way up the long, scenic driveway, it soon becomes clear; this isn’t any ordinary “Irish Farm”.
On arrival Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) team and “Lana” the resident farm dog will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome! Before heading to the stables, we’ll make our way to the converted loft above the stables to enjoy fresh-baked scones and tea/coffee, listen to fascinating stories & history of the area from your host and discuss details of the day’s ride.
We’ll head to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses where, if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking.
After a brief riding assessment and selection of horses, we’ll hit the hills and trails around the farm, where you will get more acquainted with your mount as you ride in the North Antrim Hills and take in views over 5 counties. After an invigorating ride, we’ll load up the horses, enjoy some refreshments and then travel the 10 miles to Ballintoy. Here, we will tack up the horses and follow the old off road track with splendid views of the coast, to the breath taking white sand beach of Whitepark Bay, a 3-mile long beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route. Whitepark Bay is a beautiful stretch of pristine beach located on Co. Antrim’s north coast near the picturesque village of Ballintoy. With a beach so pure it shines for miles (on even the cloudiest of days) it’s the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trot, canter or gallop!
We’ll take our time playing on the beach & in the ocean before cantering over the smooth sands! If we’re lucky the famous “Sunbathing Cattle” will be on the beach basking in the sun’s warmth.
You will spend your time romping and capering along the 3 mile stretch of pristine, resplendent white sand and explore the rolling sand dunes of the area below the backdrop of the rugged surrounding cliff faces which were once home to some of the earliest human settlers in Ireland. Savour the taste of the tantalising sea air, feel the blustering and energising wind on your face and the radiant rays of the Irish sunshine on your back on this invigorating ride.
Afterwards, we’ll make our way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the Red Door Cottage Tea Room, operated by Nigel & Joanne McGarrity and family. This traditional Irish tearoom sits in an idyllic rural area surrounded by grazing cows & sheep one side and the mighty Atlantic on the other. Enjoy a pint, glass of wine or a cup of tea on the outdoor patio or head inside to dine. Expect good, straightforward locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew, terrific sandwiches and, quite literally, the best homemade desserts in Ireland! The Red Door Cottage is the perfect place to rest and recharge before continuing our ride of exploration on private farmland in the hills above the picturesque village of Ballintoy.
We will look out over Ballintoy Harbour which was mainly associated with salmon fishing. In its heyday, cartloads of salmon made their way round hilly roads to catch the train at Ballycastle and onwards to Belfast. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Ballintoy Harbour as the setting for the Iron Islands and Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke. Like most places along the north coast, the views from these hills are spectacular and offer some amazing photo opportunities.
We look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic. Ballintoy Parish Church was built in 1813, in replacement of the original church built in the early 17th century. It is one of the most scenic churches in the country and is often pictured with the stunning view of Rathlin Island in the background. Many notable landed families are buried in the church’s cemetery including The Stewarts of Ballintoy, Downing Fullerton and members of the Stewart-Moore family.
We will now make our way towards the final destination of our journey and as we ride we will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. From here we will take in the vista of this spectacular coastline hugging the wild Atlantic Ocean, looking out over the sea to Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and the Western Isles of Scotland, before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses and team after a full day of off-road riding.
Locations where we ride:
North Antrim Hills
White Park Bay
Private Farmlands overlooking Ballintoy Harbour, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Ballintoy village
Red Door Tea Room
What’s Included in the Trip:
Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival
Knowledgeable Trekking Guide
Lunch at a Local Establishment
History Overview of Coast
Safe Horse for the Afternoon
Full day of off – road riding
5* Coastal Riding
Spectacular Trail Riding
The Best Views in Ireland!