This horse riding holiday in the Scottish Borders offers a mix of high quality tuition and enjoyable rides out in the rolling countryside for adults and children of all ages and abilities. The riding centre is located within walking distance of a local market town and has great views and riding across swathes of unspoiled Scottish wilderness.
Holidays can be tailor-made to give you the best experience. BHS trained instructors are available to teach dressage, show jumping and cross-country from beginner to experienced level. There are plenty of options both at the riding centre and locally to keep everyone entertained, whether you are traveling solo, with a friend or as a family. Accommodation is in a comfortable en-suite rooms, and there is a bistro serving tasty meals on-site. Many guests return time and again for the fantastic riding and hospitality here, and to see the changes in the countryside across the seasons as they present a new face of Scotland each time.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from CR of Cape Town on 26/08/2019
Arrive on Sunday afternoon, settle in to your room and then meet the horses. You will have a chance to discuss your programme with a member of the team and try a few horses to find the best mount for your stay. Enjoy dinner with your fellow guests as you look forward to the week ahead.
Riding sessions are twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You can arrange these how you like, for example lessons in the morning and trail rides in the afternoon, with lunch at the hotel. If you choose to do an all-day trail ride a picnic lunch will be taken with you.
Tuition consists of 1hr group lessons in dressage, show jumping or cross country with qualified instructors trained up to BHS level 7. There is both an indoor and outdoor arena available, so although the maximum number of riders in a group is 8, there is rarely this number. If you prefer an individual lesson you can pay a supplement (around £20 extra for an hour private) or take a shorter lesson (35mins) for the same price. Please note that this is subject to availability. There is a full BSJA course available on-site for those wanting to work on their show jumping.
Trail rides will take you out into William Wallace country, where the infamous Scot started his campaign for freedom and independence. Rides will usually last for 1-2 hours depending on what pace the group is comfortable with through the local towns and wilds of Scotland. The scenery here changes with the seasons, from fields of daffodils to moors covered in heather. Full day rides of 3-4 hours can be arranged with a picnic stop (15-22miles). These trail rides provide a great opportunity to see native wildlife while still returning to a comfortable and familiar hotel each night. There are many trails available and you might find yourself coming upon some of the region’s most spectacular scenery or historical sites such as New Lanark, Cutlar Fell, Manor Valley, Blackgate Moss and Biggar.
All programmes start on Sunday afternoon and end the following Saturday morning. Riders can be split according to ability to give all guests the most rewarding experience. The programmes are all flexible, and many people choose to have an afternoon off to explore the local area – both Glasgow and Edinburgh are easy to get to and Loch Lomond is just over an hour’s drive away. Additional nights can be added before or after a ride on a B&B basis. Families are very welcome; please contact us to develop a personalised itinerary and for prices.
There is the option to include a 2-day trek on this programme. Guests and their horses will be driven to Biggar to begin the trail. Ride out into the hills so typical along the Scottish borders and breathe in the fresh air. If you’re lucky you might see deer, foxes, hawks and rabbits along the route. There is a lunch stop before reaching an overnight stop near Peebles. Once the horses are settled into their stables you are taken a short distance to your impressive lodgings at Stobo Castle. Perched on a hill in the rolling grounds, surrounded by trees and with its very own loch, this castle hotel also boasts a spa, tennis courts, fitness centre, swimming pool and Japanese garden. Guests are welcome to use any of the facilities for the remainder of the afternoon and in the morning before departing for the stables (please note spa and fitness activities are not included in the price and some options require advanced booking). Mounting the horses again at 10:30, you ride back to the hotel, once more enjoying the wild sights and sounds around you. Estimated arrival time is 16:30. Please note that a minimum of 4 people is required for this trek. An additional supplement (£300 in 2018) payable on site applies to this option. A single supplement is payable for the stay at Stobo Castle if no sharer can be found, or you are unwilling to share.
There is a range of activities available for non-riders. Mountain biking, water sports and country walks can all be arranged through the hotel. Lanark racecourse and the World Heritage site of New Lanark are close by and the Falls of Clyde are within walking distance. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both less than an hour by car with many activities available including various museums and whiskey tours. There are several golf courses near-by (St. Andrews is approx. 2hrs by car). The Carmichael Estate and visitor centre are approx. 20mins by car. Glentress Forest, which has a range of mountain biking trails, is approx. 1hr by car. M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park is less than an hour’s drive.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 30 horses at the riding centre including Appaloosas, Warmbloods and cobs - there is a horse suitable for all levels of rider. For complete beginners and novices there are schoolmasters that will inspire trust. For more experienced riders there are bolder and more powerful horses available. There are also many ponies for children of all ages and experience.
The tack and riding style is English. The pace of the riding is dictated by rider experience and goals, and in the case of trail rides the terrain. The terrain on the trail rides is either flat or rolling hillside. The facilities at the riding centre include: outdoor arena - 80 x 30m; indoor arena - 71 x 25m; full set of BSJA show jumps
The tutors are all experienced and certified BHS instructors, and all hold the British Equestrian Tourism Certificate. Safety is paramount and riding is done in traditional English style.
This ride is suitable for all abilities from complete beginners to experienced riders. Riders do not have to assist in the preparation or care of the horses, although you may help to groom and tack up if you wish.
The minimum age for riders on this programme is 8 years. Horse riding experiences are available for younger children, please contact us to discuss options.
The weight limit for this ride is 210 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is in a 4 star bed and breakfast with comfortable double and twin rooms. All rooms have an en suite with shower, toilet and sink; towels are provided. The rooms also come with a flat screen TV and DVD player, complimentary tea and coffee, kettle, iron and board, and hair dryer. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel. Garden Rooms can sleep up to 4 people and include a microwave, fridge and toaster in addition to the usual amenities. There is a lounge for guests to relax in and various entertainment facilities for children. Laundry and drying services are also available. There is also a fitness centre on site for guests to use.
Meals are served in the reception restaurant area with table service. Menus vary throughout the year but are always creative using good quality ingredients. Breakfast can be pre-ordered the night before with the option to have a continental buffet, traditional Scottish breakfast or your choice of cooked items. The on-site bistro is also open Wednesday to Sunday and serves a selection of meals including homemade pizzas and burgers. Children’s menus are also available.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
European Union nationals do not require a visa for the UK. In addition a visa is not required for stays of up to six months in the United Kingdom for nationals of many countries.
Winters are cool and overcast, with a January mean of 5.0 °C (41.0 °F), though lows sometimes fall below freezing. Snowfall accumulation is infrequent and short-lived. The spring months (March to May) are usually mild and often quite pleasant. Many of Scotland's trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with spring colours.
During the summer months (June to August) the weather can vary considerably from day to day ranging from relatively cool and wet to quite warm with the odd sunny day. Long dry spells of warm weather are generally very scarce. Overcast and humid conditions without rain are frequent. The warmest month is usually July. Autumns are generally cool to mild with increasing precipitation. During early autumn there can be some settled periods of weather and it can feel pleasant with mild temperatures and some sunny days.
There are no special vaccinations required for travel to the UK. Ask your doctor for specific information.
England use 3 pin plugs, 240V, 50Hz. You will need to bring adaptors.
All rooms have electricity for charging cameras and batteries. There are shops in Lanark where you can purchase extra batteries if necessary.
Hard hats are compulsory but if you do not have one they are available to borrow.
• Jodhpurs or similar.
• Riding boots or strong boots with a low heel.
• Warm jumper
• Waterproof coat.
• Riding gloves are advisable.
• Casual clothes for the evening.
• Insect repellent
• Swim suit if taking the 2-day trek to Stobo
These programmes are 7 days/6 nights with 5 days riding starting every Sunday throughout the year. Tailor made stays are also available on request, please enquire.
2019/20: Arrival every Sunday throughout the year (excluding Christmas and New Year). Other start dates available for tailor-made stays.
Single rooms can be provided for no extra charge subject to availability. When no single rooms are available, or if two people travelling together would like separate rooms, a supplement will apply.
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In the footsteps of William Wallace - Alan Young
Mountain biking, water sports and country walks can all be arranged through the hotel. Lanark racecourse and the World Heritage site of New Lanark are close by and the Falls of Clyde are within walking distance. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both less than an hour by car with many activities available including various museums and whiskey tours. There are several golf courses near-by (St. Andrews is approx. 2hrs by car). The Carmichael Estate and visitor centre are approx. 20mins by car. Glentress Forest, which has a range of mountain biking trails, is approx. 1hr by car. M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park is less than an hour’s drive.
Hares, rabbits, deer, badgers, foxes, hawks and various other birdlife.
Riding for the disabled is available on site although the rooms are not wheelchair friendly. Please enquire for more information.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants. Together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union.
The capital of the United Kingdom and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. Other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the conurbations centred on Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952.
England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain (which lies in the North Atlantic) in its centre and south; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the southwest (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). England has a temperate maritime climate: it is mild with temperatures not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.
Scotland's only land border is with England, which runs for 60 miles (97 km) in a north-easterly direction from the Solway Firth in the west to the North Sea on the east coast. Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands, predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Scotland is the most mountainous country in the UK. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles. The climate of Scotland is temperate and very changeable, but rarely extreme. Scotland is warmed by the North Atlantic Drift and given the northerly location of the country, experiences much milder conditions than areas on similar latitudes, such as Labrador in Canada - where icebergs are a common feature in winter.
Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales. Wales has a maritime climate, the predominant winds being south-westerly and westerly, blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the weather in Wales is in general mild, cloudy, wet and windy. The country's wide geographic variations cause localised differences in amounts of sunshine, rainfall and temperature. Rainfall in Wales varies widely, with the highest average annual totals in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, and the lowest near the coast and in the east, close to the English border.
In July 2007, England is introducing a smoking ban in pubs and other public places, following on from the success of the scheme in Ireland. Be aware that there may be large fines for smoking in banned areas.
The UK is on GMT time. Although most weights and measures are now metric (celsius, litres and kg) some imperial measures remain and distances are indicated in miles.
The international dialling code is +44.