Horseback Riding in United Kingdom

The Causeway Coast Trail


Clinging to Ireland’s rugged northern coastline between Belfast City and Derry-Londonderry, County Antrim has a mix of remarkable geology, pristine beaches and exhilarating cliff top walks. Think vast ocean views, rolling green glens, sea arches and butter-colored coves. And there is no better place for epic non-riding adventures as well – visiting the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle or the Carrick-a Rede rope bridge to name a few.

The Causeway Coast Trail offers all that you would expect from a world class riding holiday. Enjoy exploring 2 beautiful beaches of County Antrim in Balintoy and Glenariffe as well as riding on coastal paths, in mystical glens, across ancient coach roads and through heather clad mountain tops. This allows you to see the Causeway Coast from a unique and personal perspective as well as taking you to some stunning ‘off the beaten track’ locations. An included day of sightseeing brings you to the top tourist attractions along one of the top 5 road journeys in the world.

Accommodations are at An Caislean Guesthouse in Ballycastle or at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle which is an upgrade.

Breakfast is served at your accommdations. Lunches are either taken on the trail as picnics or in local pubs.
Dinners are not included in the itinerary or price, and there are many options in the town of Ballycastle.

  • Overview:
    The horses are Irish Cobs, Irish Draughts Sport Horses and Connemaras. Bred for their gentle temperament, they are fit and surefooted. They are between 13.2 and 16.2 hands. The tack is English.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Connemaras, Irish Sport Horses, Irish Draughts and Irish Cobs
  • Trip Pace:
    All paces
  • Tack:
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs/ 95kg

A non-riding itinerary can be put together depending on interests, or you are welcome to explore independently.

Accommodations in Ballycastle. Public transport is available by bus and train to Ballymoney. Taxi or guided transfers from Dublin or Belfast airports can be arranged as well.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Ireland! You can arrive at either Belfast or Dublin. Public transportation by bus and train is available to make your way to Ballycastle. A car and driver can be arranged to collect you from either location and whisk you off on the beginning of your Irish adventure. 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.

Arrive in Ballycastle at your accommodations and you can spend the day at your leisure. Enjoy a traditional welcome from your hosts, take a walk through the town, get a taste of the beautiful views you will become accustomed to as the trip goes on, and then enjoy some food and drink in a local pub or restaurant. You may even get a chance to hear some live music before you retire for the night to be ready for what tomorrow has in store. Dinners are an out of pocket expense during the week and there are lots of options in Ballycastle to savor the local cuisine.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast at your accommodations, transfer to the farm. On arrival Mr. McKinley, members of the Bespoke Equestrian Ireland (BEI) team and “Sheba” the Border collie farm dog, will greet you with a warm, genuine welcome. Enjoy some welcome tea and scones 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 a quick riding assessment, you will spend 4/5 hours riding out into the wilderness of the North Antrim Hills with its heather clad slopes, looking with panoramic views over the North Coast and 5 counties of Ireland – if the weather cooperates.

Stop at the glass-sided mountain side cabin, high in the hills where a sumptuous picnic lunch awaits you. In the afternoon ride past the old peat banks that were once the traditional source of fuel in Ireland for generations. You can stop and do some peat cutting with the old traditional peat spades and get a few photographs before making your way back to the stables.

After your initial day’s introduction and riding you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the nearby coastal town of Ballycastle for dinner and overnight. Get freshened up before heading into town for some food, drink and to experience a bit of craic with the locals. Enjoy a good night’s sleep and be ready for what tomorrow has in store.

Day 3

After a hearty breakfast, begin the day in the idyllic seaside village of Ballintoy. 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 pristine beach on the famous Causeway Coastal Route. 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! If you’re lucky the famous “Sunbathing Cattle” will be on the beach basking in the sun’s warmth. Spend your time playing along the 3 mile stretch of pristine 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. Savor the taste of the tantalizing sea air, feel the blustering and energizing wind on your face on this invigorating ride.

Afterwards, make your way over sandy dunes and across lush farmlands for lunch at the village of Ballintoy. Expect good, straightforward, locally sourced main dishes such as seafood chowder or Irish stew.

After lunch ride in the hills above Ballintoy, overlooking Ballintoy Harbor 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 Harbor 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. Look down on Ballintoy’s most distinctive site, the white Ballintoy Parish Church, perched on a hill overlooking the vast Atlantic.  The 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 families are buried in the church’s cemetery.

As you are finishing today’s route you will be looking down on to the cliffs surrounding one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge, before finally stopping and saying farewell to the horses after a full day in the saddle.

Day 4

Your day begins at Watertop Farm, which was once a bustling ceili house.  Trot and canter through this unique landscape on the edge of the Glens of Antrim, before you head onwards towards the coast where you will soon be exploring the meandering trails through the beautiful countryside, bordering the remarkable Glens of Antrim. Ride close to the resplendent Ballypatrick forest, a woodland renowned for being home to a wide variety of local wildlife. If you are lucky you might spot some of the elusive Red Deer which make the forest their home. They, and their fawns, are known to venture out of the safety of the treelines and you may catch a glimpse of these cautious creatures as they wander the area. You are likely to see some birds of prey circling above as they patrol the skies looking for their next meal. Lunch in a traditional Irish Pub where you can enjoy some of the traditional, hearty fare you have come to know.

After lunch load up the horses 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 pass by the ruins of Carra Castle before making your 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. Journey 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.

Day 5

Today you are going to take the opportunity to rest your legs and instead allow the drivers to open up the Causeway Coastal route to you by car. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the spectacularly scenic Causeway Coastal Route taking in some of Northern Ireland’s key visitor attractions along with many of the dramatic Game of Thrones film locations.  Our tour guide will collect you after an early breakfast and visit many of the key attractions plus a lot of off the beaten track locations.

Take in the beautiful Dark Hedges, better known as a Game of Thrones filming location (the Kings Road) but its beauty and character make it a must see even if you have never watched the show. Continue around the coast to the impressive Dunluce Castle. Enjoy a tour of the 13th Century Castle ruins and learn some of its intriguing history (especially the bit about the kitchen & staff plunging into the sea during a storm in 1639). Next up is Northern Ireland’s most famous UNESCO world heritage site. Allow the visitors center to open the site up to you before taking the short scenic walk to the famous hexagonal rock formation for the perfect photo opportunity. Enjoy a hearty lunch and a well deserved pint of Guinness with your group before continuing on the Coast road to Ballintoy Harbour, Murlough Bay and Torr He.

Day 6

Your final day’s riding begins at the ruins of the iconic Redbay Castle. The castle was once a McDonnell stronghold in the Glens and acted as a strategic lookout point for invaders coming from the North. Find yourself in one of the famous Nine Glens of Antrim, a range of narrow picturesque valleys running down to the sea. The Glen today is Glenarriffe known as the Queen of the Glens for its beauty with the waterfalls at the top of the glen, cascading down the gully between the leafy trees.

Your ride starts off on the beach today at the village of Waterfoot at the foot of Glenarriffe Glen. As you make your way onto the beach, you will be treated to views of the Western Isles and Highlands of Scotland. Look out for the dome shaped isle of Ailsa Craig and the oddly shaped Sanda Island known to locals as spoon island. As you make your way onto the golden sands of Glenariffe beach, you will begin to get a first proper glimpse of the Queen of the Glens. The massive U-shaped valley, carved out by a glacier 20 thousand years ago is a sight to behold. The rugged cliff tops sloping down to green pasture and tree lined edges make for a stunningly beautiful vista as it sweeps down to the sea of Moyle.

Walk, trot, canter and gallop your way across the bay while enjoying stunning views of the area whose beauty inspired the iconic song ‘Danny Boy’. After an invigorating time spent on the beach and surrounding area ride the quiet and windy road to the waterfalls. Meet some locals along the way and allow your guide to fill you in on some of the rich culture and folklore of the area. The story of ‘Tir na nóg’ or, in English the ‘Land of the Youth’ is a particular favourite.

As you meander up the Glen and through this oasis of tranquillity become enchanted by its beauty. Ride this spectacular trail to the summit, soaking in views over the wild Irish Sea, stretching all the way to Scotland. As you ride closer to the top of the Glen, you arrive at the quaint Lara Lodge where the horses will be tied up. It’s time to enjoy some local food and have a drink after an exhilarating morning in the saddle. Chill out, relax and enjoy the company of your guides and the locals in the heart of the Glens. After lunch take a short walk to view the waterfalls behind the lodge. The beauty of the boardwalk to the waterfalls provides visitors with an abundance of panoramic landscapes, peaceful riverside walks and three spectacular waterfalls.

After your refreshments ride down the glen and take in the vista from a different perspective. Enjoy another ride across the beach and a splash in the water before returning to our starting point at the imposing ruins of Redbay Castle.

Take time to say goodbye to your trusted steed, your guide and the people you have met along the way. Allow the sense of accomplishment to wash over you as the memories of the week come flooding back. As the Irish say ‘Slán go foil’ or in English ‘bye for now’. Onward travel.

If you would like to extend your stay for the overnight, this can be arranged with extra notice.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Year round, every second and forth Sunday of each month. Perfect for small groups or single riders who want to avail of group rider rates.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Apr 28, 2024
May 3, 2024
May 12, 2024
May 17, 2024
May 26, 2024
May 31, 2024
Jun 9, 2024
Jun 14, 2024
Jun 23, 2024
Jun 28, 2024
Jul 14, 2024
Jul 19, 2024
Jul 28, 2024
Aug 2, 2024
Aug 11, 2024
Aug 16, 2024
Aug 25, 2024
Aug 30, 2024
Sep 8, 2024
Sep 13, 2024
Sep 22, 2024
Sep 27, 2024
Oct 13, 2024
Oct 18, 2024

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,725double/ twin occupancy in B&B accommodations, per person price, minimum of 4+ riders
  • Pricing Variation
  • $3,110per person price with 2- 3 riders booked in
  • $195 extra night in Ballycastle after the ride, cost is per room
  • Single Supplement
  • $490

  • Transportation
  • Upon arrival at Ballymoney train station, a taxi can take you to the accommodations in Ballycastle. - this is something the outfitter can arrange with advanced notice. Out of pocket expense, typically costs around 20-30 GBP and takes about 30 minutes.

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