7 Days of Castles, Coast and Countryside Experience
7 Day Castles, Coast and Countryside Horseback Adventure
At a Glance
7 Days of Castles, Coast and Countryside
Description: Experience Traditional hospitality in top quality B&Bs and enjoy some of the world’s best horse-riding opportunities.
Duration: 7 Days, 6 Nights, 5 Days Riding
Includes: See the details further down the page
Cost: From £1950
|At a Glance:||7 Days of Castles, Coast and Countryside|
|Description:||Experience Traditional hospitality in top quality B&Bs and enjoy some of the world’s best horse-riding opportunities.|
|Duration:||7 Days, 6 Nights, 5 Days Riding|
|Includes:||See the details further down the page|
This exciting 7 Day, 6 Night riding holiday is made up of everything that makes the north coast world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant country sides, enchanting forests, mountainous trails and Irish hospitality! You’ll spend your time in and around the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route stopping at key iconic locations & sites along the way. There are no other treks in Ireland that include such spectacular sites and scenery– this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime riding holiday.
Each day you’ll be in the saddle approximately 5-7 hours with several breaks throughout the day but you are welcome to vary the amount of time that you ride with us (perhaps with shorter rides each day) and we will happily arrange for you to be transported to where ever, or whatever you wish to do.
This ride is for Intermediate to Advanced riders. Not suitable for beginners.
This exciting 7 Day, 6 Night riding holiday is made up of everything that makes the north coast world famous: white sand beaches, rugged coastlines, verdant country sides, enchanting forests, mountainous trails and Irish hospitality! You’ll your time in and around the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route stopping at key iconic locations & sites along the way. There are no other treks in Ireland that include such spectacular sites and scenery– this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime riding holiday.
Each day you’ll be in the saddle approximately 5 to 7 hours (or less if you’d like a little less riding time) with several breaks throughout the day but you are welcome to vary the amount of time that you ride and we will happily arrange for you to be transported to where ever or to whatever you wish to do.
This ride is for Intermediate to Advanced riders. Not suitable for beginners.
Welcome to Ireland! You can arrive in either Belfast or Dublin. We can arrange for our driver to collect you from either location and whisk you off on the beginning of your Irish adventure. You will journey northwards and, if it tickles your fancy, you can opt to travel along the renowned Causeway Coastal Route, lauded as one of the top 5 road journeys in the world. This beautiful drive will give you a taste of the rugged coastlines and sweeping sea views that you will experience over the course of your holiday.
The coastal route is dotted with historic castles and a changing canvas of natural landscapes–incredible fishing villages, quiet beaches, rolling green hills with lush hedges, mountain streams and rugged coastlines with majestic cliffs—all overlooking the magnificent sea.
On arriving at your accommodation someone from the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland team will meet with you to provide information and advice about the area. We will arrange to take you to our centre the next morning to begin your Irish horse riding vacation.
You can spend the night at your leisure in your accommodation or by exploring the beautiful coastal town of Ballycastle.
On arrival Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) team and “Lanna” the resident farm dog, will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome before heading to the barn for a stable tour and to meet the team of horses (if you wish, you can assist with grooming and tacking)
After selecting a horse and a riding assessment we have two options:
The first one is for those who want to get their muscles adjusted gently and build up their fitness in preparation for the next four full days of riding. With this option, you can spend 3/4 hours riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking down on to green pasture away below with panoramic views over the North Coast and 5 counties of Ireland.
You will stop at the glass sided mountain side cabin, high in the hills where a sumptuous picnic awaits you. Enjoy your picnic while absorbing magnificent views of the Northern Irish countryside and a toast to the experience of a lifetime!
We will be riding past the old peat banks that were once the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations and can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs before making our way back to the stables. Get a good night’s rest and be ready for four more full days of riding.
You can choose a longer ride, 5/6 hours, riding higher and further out into the Antrim Hills to the summit called “Croaghan”. With a 360-degree panorama, the view from the summit is widely regarded as one of the best views in Northern Ireland, if not, the whole of Ireland!
From Croaghan, take a long look out over the Glens of Antrim, looking north to Scotland and Scotland’s Ayrshire Coast, Mull of Kintyre, Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles. Also looking over to Rathlin Island, an island off the coast of County Antrim and the northernmost point in Northern Ireland. Additionally, take in County Donegal’s Inishowen & Malin Head—the northernmost point in Ireland. Western views look out over the River Bann to the Sperrin Mountains and south to County Down’s Mourne Mountains and to Slieve Beagh in County Monaghan in Southern Ireland.
As the team descends Croaghan, making their way over the trails and hills, one thing will become clear–the aura of the surrounding lands are serene and tranquil, mystical and awe-inspiring.
Overnight: Castlerock, County Derry
Enjoy a hearty full Irish breakfast before setting off to begin your adventures in County Derry. Your driver will transport you to the seaside village of Castlerock where tacked horses await. It’s time to warm up the horse’s legs, and you’re own, with a short ride on Castlerock’s idyllic stretch of sand. Take in the views and experience your first spray of the Atlantic Ocean.
Now that we are awake, its time to make our way towards the iconic Downhill beach where miles of open sand, waterfalls and iconic views await.
Enroute, we will pass the ancient trees of Mussendun before the journey continues past the ruins of Downhill House which was Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol’s, 18th century home.
Downhill beach is best known for its magnificent mountain backdrop, cliff scenery and views across to Scotland & Donegal. As we enter the beach, we can stop at the foot of the cliff where Mussendun Temple is located for an ideal picture opportunity before taking a swift canter or gallop across miles of flat, open beach crossing the river on to Benone Strand, with miles of more sand beach to enjoy. As we pull up at the end of the beach, we stretch our legs, stop for a toilet break and give the horses a rest before riding back across the golden sands, through sand dunes, stopping to view the waterfalls cascading of the majestic cliffs of Bennnevanagh mountain and enjoying some time in the spray of the Atlantic.
We’ll leave the beach and, after a brief hill climb, with panoramic views of ocean and landscape, will sneak past the Bishops Gate on our way towards the seaside town of Castlerock. We’ll stop for lunch at a local coffee shop and restaurant, Crusoe’s, renowned for its unique Panini’s and homemade soups, to rest and recharge before heading out again.
After transporting the horses 5 miles to Binevenagh Mountain, you will work off lunch with a leisurely ride through the forest to Binevenagh Lake, high up on the plateau which has magnificent panoramic views looking out over the North coast, Lough Foyle, Donegal, Derry city, the Antrim Hills, south to the Sperrin mountains and was also used by HBO as a filming location for the TV hit series Game of Thrones!
We’ll dismount for the day and drive back to your accommodation for the evening to reflect on the beauty of the spectacular landscape where we have just spent the day.
Overnight: County Antrim
Today we will start our ride at the White Rocks beach so named because of the white chalk cliffs and caverns set back from the water’s edge. The west end of the strand is adjacent to the sea side town of Portrush and backs on to one of the top grass links golf courses in the world, the famous Royal Portrush Golf Club, host to the British Open which is part of the 2019 Masters Competition. The White Rocks beach also looks out over the Skerries (a small group of islands off the coast of Portrush) and the iconic Dunluce Castle, Donegal and the Western Isles of Scotland. While riding here there is the opportunity to ride along the edge of this famous golf course for photographs or to get photographed with your partners if they happen to be playing on this fabulous course.
We’ll ride on to Dunluce Castle and take a tour of the castle learning some of its intriguing history (especially the bit about the kitchen & staff plunging into the sea during a storm in 1639).
While here, we will we will have some refreshments at the Dunluce Castle Cottage before riding on to the tiny harbour town of Portballintrae on route to the Giants Causeway.
As we ride through Portballintrae and on to the Giants Causeway we will cross the River Bush and follow an old tram trail across sand dunes and past the stately Runkerry House before arriving at this world heritage site.
This unique world heritage site is the final destination for today, here we will load up the horses and have a meal in the Causeway Hotel beside the centre.
Afterwards you must explore this unique heritage site and take in the natural wonder before returning to your accommodation.
Overnight: County Antrim
Today we will start off at Ballintoy on the coast, where after tacking up we will follow an 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 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.
As we ride to our destination, 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.
Overnight: County Antrim
If it is variety you are looking for then today is full of it. This morning we’ll transport the horses and saddle-up in the hills above Ballycastle close to Loughareema known locally as the Vanishing Lake, an area surrounded by Irish myths and legends. Allow your guide to regal these stories to you including the one of the coachman and horses lost in a terrible storm!
It’s time for a little change of scenery as we meander our way through one of the coasts mature forest. Enjoy the serene atmosphere of the forest and take in the almost magical nature of the trails as you walk, trot and canter your way through towering trees and ancient pathways while catching views of Ballycastle Bay, Rathlin Island and Scotland in the clearings. As we leave the forest, our ride continues through the McBride family’s glen to join an old disused coach road through the hills into the Glen of Glendun, one of the famed Nine Glens of Antrim, on our way back to the days starting point.
Walk, trot and canter along while taking in the stunning fauna & flora, towards the beautiful Glen characterized by bright green rowans, purple heather and soaring birds of prey.
We will load up and travel 5 miles down the glen to the scenic village of Cushendun. Cushendun was designed in 1912 by Clough William Ellis at the request of Ronald John McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun. The village’s Cornish appearance was deliberate–designed to please the Baron’s wife, Maud, who was born in Cornwall, England. After Maud’s death in 1925, he erected a row of whitewashed, quaint cottages in her memory—affectionately known as Maud’s Cottages.
Riding on Cushendun Strand we will pass the ruins of Carra Castle before making our way to the famous Cushendun Caves—an impressive system of caves formed over 400-million years ago. More recently, the caves doubled as the caves of ‘Storm’s End’ in the HBO hit series, Game of Thrones.
An unusual character of Cushendun is “Johann the Goat”, a bronze sculpture situated close to the mouth of the River Dun. Johann lived in the harbour area for many years, grazing the riverbanks and welcoming visitors bearing apples or carrots. In 2001, he was the last animal to be culled during the foot and mouth outbreak. His statue remains a memorial to the farmers in the district who lost their livestock. Today, another goat carries on Johann’s tradition and can be seen resting beneath the feet of Johann’s sculpture or grazing along the banks.
Savour every minute as you walk, trot and canter along the strand at Cushendun with your trusted horse and the guides whom you have spent the week with. Enjoy your last time in the waters of the Atlantic before journeying through the ancient beech trees surrounding Cushendun’s old Church and manor house on your way back. As you dismount with a smile on your face, the sense of accomplishment, the memories, the bond with your horse and the bond with the people of the area you have made will never leave you as you once more, take in the beauty of the wild and rugged landscape.
You will be taken back to your accommodation and tonight we will gather for a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour and finish off with a memorable evening in a local pub, usually with traditional music. Here, you will strengthen your connections with the place and its people as we introduce you to the regulars and you enjoy the music, dance and the local craic.
Overnight: County Antrim
After an enjoyable evening socialising with the BEI team and a good night’s sleep, it’s time to leave the North Coast of Ireland after having connected with this area in a very special way and taken part in one of the world’s greatest horse riding experiences.
Locations where we ride:
|Downhill Beach||Binevenagh Mountain|
|Orra Mountain||Benone Beach|
|Mussenden Temple||Downhill Demesne|
|Dunluce Castle||Portballintrae-Bushfoot Strand|
|Giant’s Causeway||Whitepark Bay|
|Cushendun Caves & Strand||Glendun River|
What’s included in the trip:
|6 nights of B&B accommodation||5 days of riding.|
|Daily Full Irish Breakfast||Lunches at local eateries x 5 plus refreshments|
|Daily Ground Transport on the North Coast (To and From accommodation each day)||Welcome From BEI Guide on Arrival|
|Horse Hire||All Tack & Equipment|
Knowledgeable, informative and sociable Trekking Guides
|Daily Horse Transport Around Coast|
|Farewell dinner||Itinerary planning for your free time|
Every Monday year round: £1950pps
Flexible starting date of your choice: £2150pps
*The above group rates are based on a minimum of 4 riders. Check out our T&Cs for more details.
If there are less than 4 persons on the ride, the price you pay will be:
Every Monday year round:
2/3 persons – £2120pps
1 person – £3200
Flexible starting date of your choice:
2/3 persons – £2320
1 person – £3400
If an additional person joins the ride for the full 5 riding days, we are happy to give a refund where applicable in event of someone having overpaid.
*Prices are based on two people sharing a room. A Single Room Supplement of £30 per night applies for those who require a single room.