Peak District Weekender, England

3 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom £1,250 GBP?Tour costs £1,250 GBP which is approximately $2,298 AUD

Saddle up globetrotters! This 3 day, 3 night mini-break gives you the chance to live out your period drama dreams where the hero canters up to a beautiful historic mansion on a glossy hunter. This will be YOU!

Let’s be honest: we’ve all seen those period dramas where the hero canters up to a beautiful mansion on a glossy hunter and thought ‘I wish that was me!’ Well saddle up, globetrotters, because it soon will be! This three day, three night mini-break takes in some of the most magnificent scenery and dazzling estates you could ever hope to ride through.

The Peak District is England’s first and oldest National Park, boasting some 1600 miles of trails and over 200 miles of open access land where you can ride wherever the wind takes you. On top of that, the region is home to no less than 2900 stately homes and listed buildings where you can fulfill your manor-house riding fantasies. BYO period costumes!

Each departure date is unique, with offerings to suit all tastes both on and off the horse. The Four Shires Hunt is a BIG (but optional) highlight, and grand balls, dinner parties, opera festivals and pagan rituals make every moment of this holiday shine like gold.

You’ll eat like kings on incredible local produce, and stay in utter comfort and contemporary luxury at a beautifully appointed cottage complete with a hot tub and a view over the dressage arena.  Sundowners and a dressage display, anyone?

Whether you’re keen to race across the countryside with the hounds in pursuit of a (human!) quarry, or looking for easygoing trail rides where you can truly sit back and soak up the serenity, you will LOVE this holiday.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:A mixture of KWPN (Dutch Warmblood), Selle Francais (French Sport Horse), Welsh and Irish crosses, Connemara and Dales ponies.
  • Pace:The pace is variable, depending on the nature of the terrain. There are plenty of opportunities to trot and canter each day.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 90kg / 198lbs.
  • Type of tack:English style general purpose saddles.
  • Seasons:February, May, November & December.
  • Group size:A minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:On average between 2 to 4 hours each day.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for all riding abilities, however only strong intermediate to advanced riders will be able to take part in the hunt. Less experienced riders will enjoy a day ride in the area, or can attend the hunt meet as spectators. Not sure what your riding experience is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:Guests will be staying in a private English cottage they’ll get to call their own for the duration of their stay. There are three rooms and 2.5 bathrooms. All bedrooms are tastefully furnished and cosy. Within the cottage is a kitchen/dining area, a sitting room and a lovely outdoor deck with BBQ area and hot tub, which leads right out to the dressage arena.
  • Ride Length:3 days, 3 nights.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes all meals (from first day lunch through to last day breakfast), some alcohol (the cellar will be stocked with wine, beer and some spirits – if you run out, you’ll need to pay for your top up), twin share accommodation, riding, Hunt Cap fees and tickets to flagship events each departure.

    NB: The December departure incurs a surcharge of £100 for tickets to the Chatsworth Masquerade Ball.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include international and domestic flights, travel insurance (compulsory) and transfers to/from the ride.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

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February 11 to 14, 2022

Four Shires Hunt, Valentine’s Dinner Party – Grit & Glamour

February 14, 20226 spots left
£1,250 GBP ?Tour costs £1,250 GBP which is approximately $2,298 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook

May 20 to 23, 2022

Four Shires Hunt, Well Dressing at Tissington

May 23, 20225 spots left
£1,250 GBP ?Tour costs £1,250 GBP which is approximately $2,298 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook

November 4 to 7, 2022

Four Shires Hunt, Bonfire Night in Eyam Hall or Chatsworth House

November 7, 20226 spots left
£1,250 GBP ?Tour costs £1,250 GBP which is approximately $2,298 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook

December 2 to 5, 2022

Four Shires Hunt, Chatsworth Masquerade Ball – Christmas Grit & Glamour

*£100 surcharge for tickets to the Ball.

December 5, 20226 spots left
£1,350 GBP ?Tour costs £1,350 GBP which is approximately $2,482 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderBook

NB: The December departure incurs a surcharge of £100 for tickets to the Chatsworth Masquerade Ball.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes all meals (from first day lunch through to last day breakfast), some alcohol (the cellar will be stocked with wine, beer and some spirits – if you run out, you’ll need to pay for your top up), twin share accommodation, riding, Hunt Cap fees and tickets to flagship events each departure.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international and domestic flights, travel insurance (compulsory) and transfers to/from the ride.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments. Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.

WHY IS THE PRICE QUOTED IN GBP?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • Day 1

    Welcome to England’s oldest national park, globetrotters – the Peak District – a rider’s paradise, and your home for the long weekend!

    You’ll need to arrive at The Homestead no later than 1pm today, where you’ll have a light lunch, get changed into your riding clothes, then head out to meet the horses and enjoy an orientation ride before it gets dark. For riders who are returning to the saddle or are a little nervous about ‘speed dating’ your new steed, there’s a beautiful arena on the property where you can gain your confidence before venturing out into the surrounding countryside.

    Come late afternoon, the sun will be setting and it will be time to light the fire, heat the hot tub and stir the hot toddies, depending on just how wintery your weekend looks. In November, December and February, you’ll make the very most of the stark contrast between (probable) tough conditions out on the horses, and the lap of luxury and whiff of glamour off them. That said, the Opening Meet weekend in early November is often bathed in the finest autumn sunshine and may feel like a throwback to summer. You never know!

    Tonight you’ll enjoy a hearty meal cooked for you at the cottage. You’ll bond as a group and talk horse, then retire to your cosy bedroom.

  • Day 2

    After helping yourself to the ‘breakfast basket’ the fairies have delivered to your cottage kitchen (think freshly baked croissants, bread, yoghurt, fruit, other local yummies, plus some fresh eggs to fry), you’ll enjoy a 2-3 hour hack straight from the property. There will be river crossings, some dry stone walls, gates and logs to jump, and sheep and cows to dodge. The aim of the day is to ensure everyone is comfortable on their mounts and to prepare for the BIG ride tomorrow, leaving plenty in the tank.

    Now if you’re booked on either the November or December departures, Saturday night will be the flagship Big Night Out (don’t worry February & May departures, your turn is coming).

    November 5 is Fireworks night in England and a whole lot of fun. True to form, there are some quirky celebrations on offer in the Peak District, and also some grand ones. The choice is yours which celebration you attend!

    In December, your Saturday night will be the most glamourous night of the year – the Masquerade Ball at magnificent Chatsworth House. This will be the opener to the festive season that you often read about in fashion magazines or see in festive adverts and think “who is that happening to? Where is MY magic and sparkle?” Well globetrotters, the answer is right here! It’s happening to YOU! If you’ve ever wanted to don your best ball dress and a dashing mask, descend the grand staircase under twinkling chandeliers and feel like you might have arrived in some kind of Downton Abbey Christmas Special, now’s your chance. You’ll drink, dine, dance and soak up the glamour, and your hosts will whisk you away at the end of the evening so you can get some rest before the big day that follows tomorrow.

  • Day 3

    It’s time to go hunting with the Four Shires Bloodhounds, globetrotters – our flagship ride! (NB: Not a traditional hunting day on the May departure, further notes below). And for guests who are not of the appropriate riding ability or don’t wish to take part in the hunt, you’ll actually be able to follow on foot! It’s a brilliant day out and a wonderful spectacle, you won’t be disappointed!

    But back to the hunting and the meet of the Four Shires Bloodhounds. The November weekend will most likely be the opening meet, a doubly special occasion. Your hosts will plait up the horses, while you polish your boots and don your hairnet. Arriving at the meeting location early, you’ll have plenty of ‘gawp time’ and a chance to monopolise the sausage rolls and port to keep your courage and blood sugar levels up.

    Then it’s time to mount up and HUNT! The meets are always at 12 noon, and while the locations do vary, what is absolutely guaranteed is this: a fun, fast, varied ride in a wonderful friendly group, covering between 12 and 20 miles (19-32km) of some of the finest countryside England, nay, the world has to offer. Your trusty steed will canter in open country, stand and wait while the hounds work, give you confidence if you want to try some of the jumps, and truly revel in the hunt.

    The meet should be wrapped up by sunset, by which stage you’ll be muddy, exhilarated, grinning from ear to ear and totally in love with your horse.

    Tonight your hosts will put on a killer dinner party at the cottage. You’ll no doubt be ready to throw back a stiff drink and jump in the hot tub!

    On the February ‘Valentine’s Weekender’, you’ll pay absolutely no heed to this strange non-festival, instead enjoying a wonderful, convivial dinner party with friends old and new. That said, if you do fall in love and subsequently get together with one of your fellow guests, we’ll give you a full refund! Either way, you’ll have better Valentines’ plans than anyone else on earth.

    Please note: only strong intermediate to advanced riders will be able to take part in the hunt. Less experienced riders will attend the hunt meet as spectators.

  • Day 4

    It’s home time, BOO! After a final breakfast in your cottage, you’ll head off on your merry way with stories of grit and glamour from the most wonderful weekend of the year.

  • Notes about the May Weekender

    The May Weekender has a much gentler vibe.  While you’ll still have a FAB group ride on the Sunday, likely led by the Four Shires huntsman Chris Kane and covering much of the same stunning scenery, the hunting season itself will be over. This has its advantages, with no need to wear formal hunting attire or plait the horses.  The riding will be more like a really well-paced trail ride, where you don’t have to worry about navigation and have a great horse and rider to follow if you fancy getting a lead over any of the jumps. The dress is still smart casual and the horses will still be polished to a high gloss. It’s a great way to build confidence riding in a bigger, faster group, and many folks who are now hard riding hunt enthusiasts cut their teeth doing the summer hunt rides. As a bonus, every now and again these rides are hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House itself.  One of those ‘pinch yourself, I am riding over the lawns of a stately home’ moments for sure!

    There is also the chance to see the Well Dressing, a quintessentially Peak District tradition involving groups of villagers creating elaborate mosaics with flowers, seeds, moss and leaves to give thanks for their fresh water springs.

    The May weekend is flexible and enjoyable for less experienced riders, or even non-riders: longer days, kinder weather, and slower, more relaxed riding. Hard-riding hunt enthusiasts and off-season eventers can still be accommodated with some wonderful, fast-paced rides, but if you are looking for leisure riding and perhaps a more tranquil atmosphere off the horse, this weekend will deliver.

  • What to expect when hunting

    We’ve all heard the stories, the heart-in-your-mouth moments as you fly after the hounds on a scent, and now’s your chance to take part in this age-old tradition.

    For the Four Shires Bloodhounds, the routes are pre-planned, and the hounds are ‘hunting’ a human fell runner, which is fascinating to watch and great for visiting riders, as you and your hosts will know where you’ll be finishing up, so you can regroup at the end of the day rather than being scattered to the four winds like after a traditional day’s hunting.

    You can expect to jump stone walls from field to field, and hunt jumps (man-made obstacles like tiger traps, pheasant feeders, rails, tyres, hanging logs etc). There are no ditches in High Peak country (phew!). And yes, you can ALWAYS go around the jumps, without exception; they are entirely discretionary. The huntsman has a joint master who looks after the non-jumpers and less experienced riders. If you do want to jump, Chris the huntsman and his horse will jump pretty much anything, so you can follow his lead over the jumps if you wish.

    Don’t forget your hip flask filled with port! It’s an essential hunting item (dutch courage is often required).

  • Transfer Information

    Self drive is recommended so you can explore the local area at your leisure when out of the saddle. However, round-trip transfers are available for an additional £60 GBP per person from Manchester Airport or Stoke-On-Trent train station (approximately 45mins away from the Homestead). This is payable in cash direct to your hosts upon arrival.

    If flying into Manchester, please ensure your flight arrives no later than 11.30am on day 1, and departing flights can be booked anytime after 11am on the last morning.

    If catching the train to Stoke-On-Trent station from London Kings Cross, please ensure you arrive no later than 12 noon.

    If driving yourself to the ride, please aim to arrive at The Homestead, Alstonefield, Ashbourne, DE6 2FT no later than 1pm on the first day.

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