Where can I go horse riding in London?
Amid the hustle and bustle of London life lie hidden gems of quiet serenity and relaxation; however, they can be hard to find. Horse riding may not seem an easy fit among the capital’s acres of concrete and shiny skyscrapers but there are plenty of places to enjoy a gallop through the city’s green spaces. Here’s a few places to look out for:
1. Richmond Park
Richmond Park in southwest London is part of the royal estate and it was a personal favourite of Queen Victoria. There are a number of stables you can approach including: Barnfield Riding School, Kingston Riding Centre, Riding in London, Wimbledon Village Stables and Ridgway Stables. Hacks are available throughout the day from stables situated right around the vast expanse of green space. You’ll enjoy the scenery alongside the park’s local residents – deer and other British wildlife.
2. Hyde Park
This 350-acre park sits right in the centre of the city but is well-organised to offer a taste of the countryside. There is a specialist horse riding arena and two designated routes for horse riding – one to the north and the other to the south – that takes you through the delights of one of London’s largest green areas. There are two stables on-site which you can book through: Hyde Park Stables and Ross Nye Stables. Both offer lessons and daily hacks.
3. Wimbledon Common
The last of the large parks in this list is Wimbledon Common, this sits close to Richmond Park and stables on this site stretch their hacks to include nearby Putney Heath. There are around 16 miles of trails for riders to follow and has been a popular spot for equestrians for at least the last century. Local stables include the Ridgway Stables, Wimbledon Village Stables and Stag Lodge Stables.
4. The Docklands Equestrian Centre
The high-quality riding facilities constructed for the 2012 London Olympics now house this indoor/outdoor riding school by London's traditional waterfront. It offers riding lessons and training all year round and is particularly well-equipped to cater for persons with disabilities. Lessons are available throughout the day and you can choose either private tuition, or to share the experience with a larger group.
5. Lee Valley Riding Centre
If you work in or around London’s financial centre, then the hacking opportunities out towards Essex are within easy reach. The Lee Valley Riding Centre in Leyton has an indoor arena, flood-lit outdoor arenas, facilities for show jumping and space for spectators and refreshments. Thanks to the floodlit arena, classes and sessions are available outside of office hours.
6. The Riding Club London
The next option for equestrians living in London is to consider specialist services to fit riding into their schedule. The Riding Club London offers opportunities at a range of different sites as well as social events and lessons. There’s an annual membership fee of £240 and an initial sign-up fee of £50 and this offers access to exclusive events like riding the horses of the Household Cavalry. It’s a great way to meet new people while also improving your skills.
7. The Pony Club
If you’re under the age of 25 then the Pony Club can be a great option for hacking. It’s a voluntary youth organisation that links riding centres across the city and offers facilities for those that may or may not have their own animal. Once you’re a member you have access to sites across the country and can contribute by sharing your skills and knowledge with the next generation of keen riders.
8. The London Polo Club
If you’re looking for new ways to meet people, and enjoy the competitive edge of team sports, then it’s worth considering getting involved in polo. The London Polo Club is located in Richmond-upon-Thames, making it an easy travelling distance from the centre of London. Lessons from qualified coaches run between April and September if you’re keen to expand your skills. Or if you would rather just soak up the atmosphere with like-minded people then you can watch a match on a Sunday afternoon for less than the price of lunch.