Horseback Riding in United Kingdom

The Causeway Coast Trail

Overview

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.

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:
    English
  • 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 warm welcome from your B&B 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

Today we will transport the horses will be transported and you saddle-up in the rugged hills above Ballycastle. Venturing to Loughareema, known locally as the Vanishing Lake, an area surrounded by Irish myths and legends. This ethereal lake, on the outskirts of a beautiful series of wild, expansive peatlands is often enshrouded by swirling mists. The true mystery of the lake is derived from its propensity to mysteriously vanish overnight, with the usually brimming body of water being no more.

The ’Vanishing Lake’ is an area surrounded by Irish myths and legends. Allow your guide to regal you with these tales, as you hear of the coachman and horses lost in a terrible storm! The group had tried to cross the lake when it was full of water, which they did not notice in the dead of night in this misty, desolate area. Rumors abound that, when the lake is at its fullest, the ghosts of this unfortunate party haunt the lake.

Pass a winding laneway and be transported far away from the hustle and bustle of civilization to explore a hidden gem which has historically been known only to locals. The McBride Family farm has a massive underground spring which leads to the Carey River, whose gentle, flowing waters will accompany you throughout your travels.

Continue the ride on the Old Coach road to the edge of the famed Glen of Glendun, one of the 9 Glens of Antrim. This road was the main thoroughfare from the Coast to the Glens in bygone times, and whilst it has long been abandoned, in favor of more expedient routes, this route is well worth traversing. The Coach Road provides a fantastic vista from which to soak in the surrounding beauty of the Glens and the sea of Moyle, in all its glory.

After exploring the historic route you will head towards the sheltered harbor town at the mouth of Glendun, another of Antrim’s famed 9 Glens. Ride along this short, but beautiful section of beach, trotting and cantering with the ocean spray on your faces, to finish off this day on an exhilarating high.

Day 5

Today take the opportunity to rest your legs and instead make a sea voyage to visit the tranquil, idyllic Irish Island of Rathlin. Hosting one of Ireland’s greatest bird sanctuaries, the chance to spot killer whales or dolphins off the coast, beautiful idyllic walking trails, shipwreck diving, iconic lighthouses, a vibrant history and colorful arts scene, Rathlin is a haven for those with all manner of interests. Enjoy a day in this unique location, meeting the locals in its quaint Irish village with a single pub and shop. With a regular ferry service, boats leave and return to the town of Ballycastle several times a day. Rathlin is a great place to spend a day or more with one of our local guides

Day 6

Today you start out riding at 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 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.

You’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, enjoy some refreshments at the Dunluce Castle Cottage before riding on to the tiny harbour town of Portballintrae on route to the Giants Causeway.
As you ride through Portballintrae and on to the Giants Causeway 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 site is the final destination for today, the horses will be loaded in the trailers and you enjoy a meal in the Causeway Hotel beside the centre.  After you bid farewell to the horses and guides after a fantastic few days, take in the vista of this spectacular coastline hugging the wild Atlantic Ocean. To finish off your week you can check out the new world class visitor’s centre and take in this natural wonder before you return to your accommodation.

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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