Buxton. Credit: Simon Harrod
Horseback riding is a great activity to incorporate with holidays or weekends. Fun for both children and adults alike, our editor’s have picked out the top 5 spots for horseback riding near London.
Close to the city so they can be reached easily, yet just remote enough to showcase scenic country charm. To make arranging your rides easier, we’ve included names of BHS-approved riding schools in the area and the approximate price of 2 hour rides for two.
Peak District National Park, Buxton
What better way to explore lesser known areas of the Peak District National Park than from the back of a horse? Miles of lush preserved forestland and fields make this an excellent riding spot. Northfield Farm in Buxton is the best known riding school in the area. The rides, mostly 2 hours in length follow the old pack horse trails to the area’s hidden beauty spots. This includes the Three Shires Head, where the 3 county boundaries meet, (Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire). Longer rides can be arranged upon request.
Normally starting at 10.30am or 2.00pm, all rides are accompanied by qualified staff. The farm has over 30 of mostly home bred horses and ponies, which will suit all ages and standards, from the first timer to the more experienced rider. Price for two: £76
Wylye Valley, Wiltshire
The White Horse Trekking Centre lies in the hidden Wylye Valley. This 30 year old riding school stands between the open spaces of Salisbury Plain and the woods of the Great Ridge. This scenic location provides the ideal setting for riding: bridleways, unspoilt plains and ancient woodland.
Individual or group lessons can be arranged. There are special ‘day pub rides’ available. These interactive hacks take riders past the areas well-known local pubs. Riders can grab a pint at the the last stop. All hacks are accompanied by trainers and any level of competency is welcomed. Although a minimum level of riding knowledge and comfort is advised. Rides usually range from 1-2 hours. Price for two: £100
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Wellgrove Stables is a family-run business that has been established for 40 years in Kent. The farm’s location in the village of Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells, offers some great countryside for hacking.
Hacks are available either on some of the many bridlepaths around the area or, for those less experienced and younger riders, a jaunt in the farm’s own small area of woodland. Over 50 horses are available to choose from and instructors take great care when it comes to matching riders with the right horse. There are special rides available for children under 8 years. Hacks last around 45 – 60 minutes. Price for two: £80
Wimbledon Common & Richmond Park, Greater London
Despite being close to the city roads, Wimbledon common still makes for a delightful riding experience. Totalling over 1000 acres, the commons boasts of a large lake, forestland, old windmills, golf course and jungle area. Ridgway Stables is the riding school that locals prefer. With over 40 horses, the school prides themselves in providing personal and attentive riding lessons to all. The stables can also arrange for rides through Richmond Park in the summer. Keep an eye out for the famous red deer if you’re in Richmond.
Hacks can be arranged for groups or individuals throughout the day. The stables are located just 5 minutes from the common by horse, so time spent on roads will be minimum. Rides will operate regardless of weather, infact riding through the commons when the land is covered with snow has its own special allure. Hats and boots can be rented upon arrival. Price for two: £160
White Cliffs of Dover, Dover
Riding by the open sea is a experience worth embarking upon. In Dover riders have the added joy of spotting the area’s famed white cliffs. The Braeside Equestrian Centre is a qualified riding school, close to Dover’s top attractions and beaches.
Hacks usually take place in the mornings and afternoons. Qualified instructor’s ride out with groups or individuals across miles of virgin wilderness. With the cool sea breeze in your hair and fresh scent of forest, hacks in Dover are excellent in the summer months. Price for two: £90