If lying poolside sipping a piña colada is not going to cut it for your honeymoon, up the tempo with our pick of horsey options — complete with a get-out clause for a non-horsey new spouse. Start dropping your hints now...
1. The luxury option
The strains of organising a wedding will be a distant memory once you’re cooling off in one of Singita Sasakwa Lodge’s infinity pools, overlooking the endless plains of the Serengeti.
The attached equestrian centre at Singita Grumeti can tailor-make three- to eight-day safaris, moving on horseback between different lodges and camps. Guests do need to be riding fit to cope with travelling at speed across variable terrain.
The romantic twist? Enjoy sundowners and a picnic for two overlooking the game reserve.
The get-out option: track down the wildlife with a game drive around the 350,000-acre reserve with your own guide. Singita Grumeti is located on the epic wildebeest migratory route, giving you the chance to glimpse this spectacle during your stay. And for the days when leaving the lodge seems too much like hard work, a spa, gym and tennis court are on hand, as well as private tastings with your own Singita sommelier.
From $1,425 (approx. £930) per person per night. Excludes flights.
2. For the explorers
Put your relationship to the test and sign-up to crossing the Andes on horseback. You’ll follow in the footsteps of General José de San Martín and his army of 5,000 troops — who in January 1817 set out to overthrow Spanish rule in Chile — navigating your way across the rugged landscape of the Andean massif.
The romantic twist? Set up camp under the star-studded skies of the southern hemisphere and experience the luxury of the Hotel Plaza El Bosque in Santiago at the beginning and end of your trip. Think room service, saunas and marbled hallways.
The get-out option: soothe sore muscles by savouring the world-famous wines of Viña Errázuriz, and while away time immersing yourself in Santiago’s culture.
From $4,195 (approx. £2,700) per person for seven days. Flights excluded.
3. The mini-moon
Short of time post-wedding? Take a mini-moon at Berkshire’s Coworth Park.
On the one-hour “Champagne celebration ride” (£85) you’ll be escorted by an instructor around the estate, stopping off for a glass of Veuve Clicquot and a photo opportunity on your steed.
Time your stay right and you can get your equestrian fix without unpacking your jodhpurs, with a Guards polo match on the Coworth grounds.
The romantic twist? Book into the Stable Premium Suite for uninterrupted views of the polo fields and woodland beyond, a wrought-iron two-poster king-size bed and two baths in the marble bathroom — complete with under-floor heating. And it’s just a short walk from the spa if you’re in need of some post-wedding relaxation.
The get-out option: golf, tennis and croquet are on the agenda. Sounds like over-exertion? Chocolate-making or champagne-tasting should fit the bill.
From £865 a night.
4. For the wannabe cowboys
Wyoming’s Brush Creek Ranch & Spa covers 30,000-acres of the cowboy state in the heart of the Platte river valley. Ride Western-style across 50 miles of private trails and open range on a string of sure-footed quarter horses and paints, or try your hand at cattle drives with the wranglers.
The romantic twist? Wind down with a spa treatment in your own cabin, and watch the sunset from your deck when the evening draws in. Cookouts are available at the chuck wagon, or newlyweds can head to the creekside dinner camp on the banks of Brush Creek.
The get-out option: gear up for mountain biking, clay shooting, archery and fly-fishing on over 20 miles of waters.
From £3,045 per person for six nights. Excludes flights.
5. For sporty duos
If life is one long competition and sitting still is a chore, pitting yourself against your new spouse to master the game of kings could be the solution. Immerse yourself in the life of a gaucho at Estancia Los Potreros, set in Argentina’s secluded Sierras Chicas hills, where you can explore the 6,500-acre farm — before getting down to stick and balling practice.
The romantic twist? A honeymoon cottage is available, offering more privacy than the main estancia. And you can compare polo notes while relaxing in the pool or swinging in a hammock. Newlyweds can also look forward to a bottle of champagne in their room and a private ride to a nearby natural pool.
The get-out option: this is a working estancia, which means you can spend the morning in the corrals watching the young horses being worked, or head to the cattle station to see the gauchos at work.
£1,560 per person for seven nights. Flights excluded.
6. For sun-seekers
Soaking up the sun on the beach needn’t mean lying horizontal for a week. Head to Mozambique to explore the coastline on horseback, riding along the beach and up and down sand dunes, before taking your horse for a swim in the crystal-clear water after a long, hot day in the saddle.
The romantic twist? Benguerra Lodge sits on its own island with a main house and 13 private chalets, each built on raised wooden platforms, with verandas looking out onto
the sea and the option of a plunge pool.
The get-out option: a fully equipped diving school, snorkelling, boat rides, big game-fishing, salt water fly-fishing and bird-watching should be a good enough excuse to bypass the riding.
£1,859 per person for seven nights. Flights excluded.
7. For all-weather riders
Skip the long-haul flight, pack your waterproofs and head to Castle Leslie in Ireland to recover post-wedding. Sign up to a cross-country ride for a splash in the lake and a burst of adrenaline, or opt for more sedate side-saddle action.
The romantic twist? Whether you stay in the lodge by the equestrian centre, or in the main castle, you can look forward to old-school hospitality, with luxurious king-sized double beds, stand-alone baths and hearty food. A 7oz fillet of Irish beef is the perfect fuel for another day in the saddle.
The get-out option: with 1,000 acres of the estate to explore, there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs. Nearby there’s golf, fishing, and clay pigeon shooting — and if you find yourself at a loose end, pull up a stool in the local village pub to get your Guinness fix.
£587 per person for three nights. Flights excluded.