If you’re planning on making the trip to North Carolina for this autumn’s World Equestrian Games (11-23 September), here are five ways to make the most of your trip

The flight time from London Heathrow to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina, is a hefty 
9hr 25min, so we recommend looking beyond the confines of the Games to make the most of your trip to the States.

1. Hit the road

Marvel at the Blue Ridge Mountains by taking a road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which travels 252 miles along the ridge of the mountains. Stop along the way to go hiking or cycling, and don’t miss crossing the Linn Cove Viaduct — an engineering wonder seemingly suspended in mid-air along the southern face of Grandfather Mountain.

2. Pull a pint

There are more than 230 breweries and brewpubs in North Carolina — the largest number of craft breweries in the American South. And what better way to calm your nerves after the adrenalin of the Games than by paying one a visit? A 40-minute drive from Tryon is the Sierra Nevada Brewery (sierranevada.com), where you can take a behind-the-scenes tour following the hops-to-brews process — crucially with a generous tasting at the end.

3. Foodie heaven in Asheville (pictured, above)

Refuel in picturesque Asheville, perched in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Not only does it boast more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the States, but it is fast garnering a reputation as a haven for foodies, going well beyond its southern cooking roots. Head downtown for a vibrant mix of food, from organic, hormone-free beef to mountain-trout caviar and sweet potato salad.

4. Get your adrenalin fix

Just 20 minutes from Tryon in the tiny town of Saluda is The Gorge (thegorgezipline.com) — which claims to be the steepest and fastest zip line canopy tour in the States. Get a different take on the surrounding countryside as you reach speeds of 40mph and descend a total of 1,100 vertical feet through the forest.

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5. Don your breeches (or jeans…)

Haven’t had your sufficient fill of equestrianism? Get ready to lengthen your stirrups and sit back in a Western saddle to explore the North Carolinian mountains from horseback. Located on a secluded ranch minutes north of Asheville is Sandy Bottom Trail Rides (sandybottomtrailrides.net), where you can head off through the high country, scenic mountain meadows and wooded areas of Madison County. It caters for all abilities, so your non-horsey family members needn’t be left behind for the trip.

For our full World Equestrian Games preview, where we take a behind-the-scenes tour of Tryon Equestrian Center, don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (18 January 2018)