If you are searching for a tranquil break in the UK, somewhere to escape the daily hustle and bustle, whilst also being able to gallop your horse along sandy beaches, Holidays for Horses run by White Beach Holiday on the Isle of Anglesey is the perfect answer.
Known for being home to the young Royal couple, whilst Prince William was serving as a search and rescue pilot, there is much more to this stunning corner of north Wales. It is a hidden gem for equestrian enthusiasts, as I was lucky enough to find out.
Where did we stay?
I grabbed the opportunity for a weekend of mother-daughter bonding and treated my mum (I say treated, I did ask her to split the driving with me) to a 3-day, 2-night stay in The Cottage (Llain Delyn) — a chocolate box cottage which sleeps up to 5 people, located down a no-through road, surrounded by picturesque countryside and only walking distance from the sea. What more could you ask for?
Well actually, there is more. Not only can you escape to this lovely haven — the most peaceful place I have ever stayed — but Holidays for Horses was set up to allow you to bring your horses (and dogs) along too. Only metres from The Cottage’s front door is a block of 6 immaculate stables, along with paddocks.
Julian Wood, the owner of White Beach Holiday and the brains behind Holidays for Horses, has certainly left no stone unturned.
I was impressed with his fine attention to detail. The Cottage is 5-star quality, from the hi-tech shower to the slippers and dressing gown left out for us, and not forgetting the wonderful hot tub and barbeque in the garden.
Outside in the yard, I could not find fault with anything — Julian had truly considered all angles.
The stables have rubber matting throughout, there is a horse shower, solarium, horse walker and cameras, so visitors can keep an eye on their steeds. Shavings and haylage are also provided.
Sadly, due to last minute travel complications, I was unable to take my horse along with me, but I have no doubt he would have loved the stay — with endless coastal hacks and Red Wharf Bay located not far away, with its long stretch of yellow sandy beach.
Julian also provides visitors with a GPS device, onto which maps can be uploaded, so riders can head off hacking without the worry of getting lost. They can also hire a Go Pro camera to record their hacking experience.
You don’t need to have a horse to stay at The Cottage. If there are guests staying who don’t own horses, there are local stables that can facilitate them.
Wanting to experience the amazing scenery on horseback, I was fortunate enough to borrow 2 great horses from Anglesey Riding Centre, based in Tal-y-foel, about a 25min drive from The Cottage.
What was the hacking like?
On the Saturday, having explored the local area more with mum and stopped for a wander around Plas Newydd, a country house and gardens — there are plenty of National Trust venues, castles and other attractions to visit — we arrived at the Anglesey Riding Centre ready for my first exploration, a coastal bridleway hack.
The sun shone and I had a great 2-hour ride on my trusty steed, Derry, a homebred 15.3hh part-bred Welsh Cob, cantering through the surrounding countryside and farmland, with far-reaching views across the sea.
I was teamed up with a relative of Derry’s, 16hh Gus who was another horse bred at the centre.
When I first got on Gus, he was very docile and laid back, but as soon he got the sand under his hooves and we began to canter, he launched into a lovely big-striding gallop and all I had to do was sit still, be a passenger and enjoy.
It was such an exhilarating feeling and certainly got the adrenalin buzzing — the sun was out and there was a lovely sea breeze. I didn’t really want to pull up.
How much did it cost to ride?
Prices at Anglesey Riding Centre do vary depending on what you want to do, but a 1hr hack costs £20, a 2hr ride is £40, with lessons ranging between £10-30, starting from group half-hour lessons.
How much is the accommodation?
Again the prices for staying at The Cottage do vary, but there is a minimum stay of 3 nights if guests are bringing along horses. A 3-night stay at The Cottage costs around £429, plus the cost of stabling at £15 per night per horse.
In addition to The Cottage, Julian has also renovated The Windmill, which is set up in the hills with panoramic views. This accommodation sleeps 4 people, but does not have any equestrian facilities.
I would highly recommend a stay at The Cottage to anyone. I think it would suit a variety of holidays; from girly weekends to romantic getaways, or like me, a mother and daughter trip — it really was a home-from-home.
Anglesey Riding Centre was very well run, the horses were nicely turned out and they had a range of horses and ponies, catering for all levels — plus an enviable location and great facilities.
You cannot always guarantee the good weather in Wales, but it should not put anyone off visiting this area. The beautiful landscape and the great activities make you feel like you have had a proper break away from it all.
For someone who has never properly discovered Wales, let alone the Isle of Anglesey, it was the perfect introduction and I cannot wait to return.
Find out more
Holidays for Horses from White Beach Holiday
Tel: 01248 490011
Anglesey Riding Centre
Tel: 01248 430377