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A Day on the North Coast

Explore all that the Coast has to offer

A day on the North Coast

At a Glance

A day in 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

Cost: From £230

At a Glance: A day on the North Coast
Description: Spend the day exploring the Irish hills and coast around Ballintoy or Ballycastle 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
Cost: From £230

 

Ride Details:

Spend the day exploring the Irish hills and coastline around Ballycastle or Ballintoy and enjoy our world famous white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, Game of Throne connections, verdant countryside and Irish hospitality!

*The ride has 2 options, depending on what start time suits you and your group:

Option 1 – 7am start: You will come to the centre for an assessment, have some refreshments, select a suitable horse and enjoy an assessment ride in the verdant North Antrim Hills. 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.

Option 2 – Flexible starting time: You will come to the centre for an assessment, have some refreshments, select a suitable horse and enjoy an assessment ride in the verdant North Antrim Hills. You will travel 8 miles to the coastal town of Ballycastle where you will spend approximately 2.5 hours riding on the beach and along the coast before loading up and heading to the Red Door Cottage Tearoom for a hearty lunch. Finish the day off in the hills overlooking the Game of Throne filming location off Ballintoy Harbour and Larrybane beside the world 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.

 

Detailed Itinerary:

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”.

Option 1 – 7am start at our Centre:

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!
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 while you can enjoy Mary McKinley’s fresh-baked scones and tea/coffee, while listening to fascinating stories & history of the area from your host.

After enjoying the traditional hospitality, we will travel 10 miles to the coastal village of 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.

Option 2 – Flexible starting time:

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!
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 while you can enjoy Mary McKinley’s fresh-baked scones and tea/coffee, while listening to fascinating stories & history of the area from your host.

After enjoying the traditional hospitality, we will travel 8 miles to the quaint fishing town of Ballycastle.

Here, on the edge of this quaint little seaside town stepped in folklore, myths and legends and close to the 14th century ruins of the old Franciscan Monastery at Bonamargy Abbey, we will unload our horses looking over Ballycastle bay, Rathlin Island and to the Western Isles and Highlands of Scotland.
On mounting, we will make our way down onto the beach where the Margy river, known locally for its Salmon fishing, flows into Ballycastle Bay and meets the blue waters of the Atlantic.

We will take our time playing on the beach and in the ocean before walking, trotting or cantering (depending on rider’s abilities) across the white sand.
We will continue to ride towards the imposing basalt rock headland known as Fairhead, given its name from the folklore and story of Deidre the beautiful golden-haired maiden who, at her wedding banquet, was danced over the cliff edge to her death by a rival lover’s faithful servant.

We will then leave the beach and follow a quiet, paved road with its sea wall defence, mainly used by walkers, to where it ends at Marconi’s cottage. Here in 1898, Guglielmo Marconi sent the world’s first ever radio signal across the sea to Rathlin Island.

As we make our way back, watching out for seals and marine life, we take in views of some Game of Throne film locations along the beautiful Causeway Coast and towards Donegal on the Wild Atlantic way. We will return to the beach and ride to the other end, crossing the Margy to get a photograpgh of the sculpture of the Silver Swans, representing the myth of the Children of Lir who were turned into swans and fated to swim the sea below Fairhead for 999 years. 

Afterwards, we’ll load up the horses and drive 5miles to 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 quality riding.

*Ride routes may vary due to availability of beaches, weather or other circumstances. Alternatives beaches are available.

Locations where we ride:

North Antrim Hills
White Park Bay 
Ballycastle Bay
Marconis Cottage
Private Farmlands overlooking Ballintoy Harbour, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Ballintoy village
Red Door Tea Room
Irish Countryside

 

What’s Included in the Trip:

Tea and Fresh Baked Scones on Arrival
Knowledgeable Trekking Guide
Lunch at a Local Establishment
Horse Transport
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! 

 

2020 RATES AND DATES

£230pps to join a group ride starting on any of the below dates:

Every Monday year round

*The above group rate is based on a minimum of 2 riders. In the event of only one rider being booked in, the ride can still take place however an additional supplement of £110 will be added to bring the price up to the one person rate below. Check out our T&Cs for more details:

Flexible starting dates

This ride is also available to start on the date of your choice at the following rates:

4 Persons – £230pps

3 persons – £245pps

2 persons – £275pps

1 person – £340pps