Thirlestane Castle Ride | Horse Riding Holidays in Scotland | Globetrotting

The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland

6 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom £4,290 GBP?Tour costs £4,290 GBP which is approximately $8,252 AUD

This week-long itinerary is THE perfect combination of quality time in the saddle and quintessential Scottish experiences. The pipes are calling, and the Scottish Borders await!

Does your heart race at the thought of seeing Scotland’s legendary countryside from between two pricked ears and a windswept mane? Does the idea of calling a 16th century castle home for a week make your eyes bulge? Then make no mistake: the pipes, the pipes are calling, and the Scottish Borders await! This week-long itinerary is THE perfect combination of quality time in the saddle and quintessential Scottish experiences.

Your equestrian guide, Susy (from our popular Scottish Borders Ride), will lead you through new and astoundingly beautiful landscapes every day, from wild, windy moors to postcard-worthy farmland criss-crossed with ancient stone walls. Susy has an EPIC team of horses, and all abilities are catered for on this trip. Whether you’re an experienced rider eager to pop over a few cross country jumps or a beginner wishing to improve your skills in an awe-inspiring yet safe environment, rest assured, this ride will exceed your expectations.

As for Thirlestane Castle, we’ll leave a few secrets for your hosts, Edward and Sarah Maitland-Carew, to reveal over the course of your time together; but we will tell you this much: it’s been the home of the Maitland family for over 400 years, and your five-star accommodation in the South Wing apartments will have you picking your jaw up off the ground. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this incredible castle during the week, as well as ample opportunities to discover the history-filled, vibrant communities dotted across the Borders. There’s so much culture, history and downright gobsmacking scenery to take in here, and to absorb it all astride a willing, plucky steed is a privilege like no other.

All those in favour say ‘och aye!’

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:A mixture of Irish Draughts, Irish Cobs, Irish Sport Horses and Connemaras. *Please note, you can expect to ride a variety of horses throughout your holiday.
  • Pace:The pace is variable depending on the nature of the terrain, but riders will enjoy long stretches of trotting and cantering.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 95kg / 209lbs.
  • Type of tack:English all-purpose saddles and bridles.
  • Seasons:March, April, August, October, November & December.
  • Group size:A minimum and maximum of 10 riding guests. Non-riders may join the off-horse activities, with the entire group size being no more than 16.
  • Time in Saddle:On average, between 2 to 6 hours daily.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for all riding abilities.
    *Beginner riders are expected to be confident rising/posting to the trot and able to enjoy a steady canter. You MUST be confident riding in an English all-purpose saddle. Riding groups will be split according to ability so that everyone feels comfortable.
     Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:You will be staying at the magnificent 16th century Thirlestane Castle, one of the oldest and finest inhabited castles in Scotland. The castle is set in a quiet meadow landscape on the outskirts of Lauder, a charming town in the Scottish Borders region, just over half an hour south of Edinburgh.
    You’ll be staying in the South Wing of the castle, which consists of eight bedrooms (each with their own ensuite) split into five apartments, and has been finished to a five-star standard with exceptional views of the parkland and estate. The rooms have been decorated in a classic but contemporary style.
    Each apartment also has its own kitchen and sitting room should you wish to relax and make yourself a cup of tea after a long day in the saddle or sight-seeing around the Borders.
    You’ll also have the opportunity to dine in Thirlestane Castle’s portrait-lined State Dining Room and the rustic Victorian Kitchen.
    PLEASE NOTE: There are 2x twin share rooms and 6x single rooms available. These will be assigned by preference on a first come, first served basis.
  • Ride Length:7 days, 6 nights with 6 riding days.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes all riding activities, accommodation in a Castle, meals (with the exception of 1x lunch and 2x dinners within the itinerary), private tour of the Castle, housekeeping every second day, and all transfers in the itinerary.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), alcohol (BYO is welcome or you can purchase from the Castle’s cellar), 2x dinners and 1x lunch, or additional activities available at Thirlestane (e.g. spa treatments or local tours). If you have booked on an October departure date and wish to participate in the Lauderdale hunt meet, please note that the hunting cap is not included and must be paid in cash upon arrival.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

NEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!
Departing FinishingAvailabilityTotal
April 15, 2024April 21, 2024SOLD OUT!
From: £4,290 GBP ?Tour costs £4,290 GBP which is approximately $8,252 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: £4,540 GBP ?Tour costs £4,540 GBP which is approximately $8,733 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
From: £2,700 GBP ?Tour costs £2,700 GBP which is approximately $5,194 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
August 19, 2024August 25, 2024SOLD OUT!
From: £4,290 GBP ?Tour costs £4,290 GBP which is approximately $8,252 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: £4,540 GBP ?Tour costs £4,540 GBP which is approximately $8,733 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
From: £2,700 GBP ?Tour costs £2,700 GBP which is approximately $5,194 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
October 28, 2024November 3, 2024SOLD OUT!
From: £4,290 GBP ?Tour costs £4,290 GBP which is approximately $8,252 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: £4,540 GBP ?Tour costs £4,540 GBP which is approximately $8,733 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
From: £2,700 GBP ?Tour costs £2,700 GBP which is approximately $5,194 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
November 25, 2024December 1, 20243 spots left
From: £4,290 GBP ?Tour costs £4,290 GBP which is approximately $8,252 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,540 GBP ?Tour costs £4,540 GBP which is approximately $8,733 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £2,700 GBP ?Tour costs £2,700 GBP which is approximately $5,194 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

March 17, 2025March 23, 20258 spots left
From: £4,490 GBP ?Tour costs £4,490 GBP which is approximately $8,637 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,750 GBP ?Tour costs £4,750 GBP which is approximately $9,137 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,030 GBP ?Tour costs £3,030 GBP which is approximately $5,828 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

March 31, 2025April 6, 20252 spots left
From: £4,490 GBP ?Tour costs £4,490 GBP which is approximately $8,637 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,750 GBP ?Tour costs £4,750 GBP which is approximately $9,137 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £3,030 GBP ?Tour costs £3,030 GBP which is approximately $5,828 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

August 18, 2025August 24, 2025SOLD OUT!
From: £4,490 GBP ?Tour costs £4,490 GBP which is approximately $8,637 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: £4,750 GBP ?Tour costs £4,750 GBP which is approximately $9,137 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
From: £3,030 GBP ?Tour costs £3,030 GBP which is approximately $5,828 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
October 27, 2025November 2, 20252 spots left
From: £4,490 GBP ?Tour costs £4,490 GBP which is approximately $8,637 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: £4,750 GBP ?Tour costs £4,750 GBP which is approximately $9,137 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room
From: £3,030 GBP ?Tour costs £3,030 GBP which is approximately $5,828 AUD - Non Rider?To twin-share with a riding guest
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

*There are 2x twin share rooms and 6x single rooms available. These will be assigned by preference on a first come, first served basis.

PLEASE NOTE: The October departures each year offer the chance to participate in the Lauderdale Hunt Club’s Opening Meet on the final day of your ride, should you wish. Alternatively, you can enjoy a hack in the surrounding countryside, if jumping and hunting is not of interest.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes all riding activities, accommodation in a Castle, meals (with the exception of 1x lunch and 2x dinners within the itinerary), private tour of the Castle, housekeeping every second day, and all transfers in the itinerary.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), alcohol (BYO is welcome or you can purchase from the Castle’s cellar), 2x dinners and 1x lunch, or additional activities available at Thirlestane (e.g. spa treatments or local tours). If you have booked on an October departure date and wish to participate in the Lauderdale hunt meet, please note that the hunting cap is not included and must be paid in cash upon arrival.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. Depending on the ride you choose to book and your country of residence, there will be a 1.2% to 2.9% surcharge.

Click HERE to read more about our fees and charges.
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

    Don your tartan and fasten your seatbelts, globetrotters, because today you’re driving to the Scottish Borders! A land where the rolling hills shimmer in the dappled, ever-changing light and the rousing music of the pipes still seems to echo across the valleys, the Borders will amaze you from the first moment you lay eyes on it.

    You’ll be picked up from Edinburgh Airport and transferred to Thirlestane Castle (yes, you’re staying in a 16th century castle!). If you’ve chosen to hire a car, please arrive at the castle at 12:30pm. Here your hosts, Edward and Sarah Maitland-Carew, will give you a true Scottish welcome involving afternoon tea (and cake!) in the panelled dining room. Then there’s time to settle into your room or take a stroll around the gorgeous grounds of the estate, before changing into your riding clothes.

    At 2:30pm, you’ll head out to meet Susy and her gorgeous team of horses. Once you’ve been paired with your steed, you’ll head off on a three-hour trail ride through the sublimely beautiful countryside surrounding the estate. By the time you dismount you’ll feel a strong connection to both the Borders and your horse.

    Dinner tonight is a relaxed affair in Thirlestane’s rustic Victorian Kitchen. The sharing menu will allow you to sample the talented chefs’ delicious and varied offerings. Then you’re free to enjoy the evening as you wish before sinking contentedly into bed.

  • Day 2

    Waking up in your five-star apartment in the South Wing of Thirlestane Castle, the dream continues as you saunter out to breakfast – a jaw-dropping affair featuring a range of cooked and continental options. Not to worry, though, you’ll soon work it off with a ride around the estate! Susy will discuss the route options with you to ensure that everyone’s needs and desires are catered for.

    Afterwards, a lunch of soup and sandwiches will be served at the castle, then you’ll have a few hours to enjoy however you please.

    The piercing sound of the bagpipes will summon you to the state drawing room this evening, where the Castle’s piper will give you a true Scottish welcome while you sit back and enjoy a tipple. Then you’ll enter the lavish state dining room for a feast that’s as Scottish as Billy Connolly.

  • Day 3

    After another filling breakfast at the Castle, you’ll jump in your car and head to the beach (about a 50min drive from Thirlestane). Yes, that’s right Globetrotters, today you’ll get to explore the Scottish coastline from the back of your horse. Let’s hope the Scottish sun is shining, because John Muir Country Park is an unspoilt haven where farmland kisses the sea – perfect for long beach canters and wading in the shallows.

    After your ride, you might wish to slip up into Dunbar and have a drink at Winterfield golf club, perched atop the hillside with beautiful views over the beach and surrounding national park. Then you’ll need to zoom back to Thirlestane, where you’ll be treated to a private guided tour of the castle with your host, Edward Maitland-Carew. The stories and secrets within these walls will astound you, and you’ll come away with a new appreciation for your surrounds.

    This evening you’re free to spend it however you wish. We recommend heading into the local village of Lauder for dinner at a traditional Scottish pub (dinner and transport tonight is not included in the ride price – but the pay-off is the chance to totally immerse yourself in local life). Your hosts at the Castle, Sarah and Edward, will be able to offer some wonderful recommendations for you to try – just ask!

  • Day 4

    After your big night out, you’ll be able to sleep in this morning, then enjoy a late breakfast while mulling over your options for the day. If you wish, you can ride out with Susy in the late morning, or you can take the entire day off. Lunch today is not included in the ride price and can be enjoyed at your leisure.

    Although there is plenty to do at the Castle, if you’ve chosen to have a rest day off the horse, then we highly recommend making the most of your hire car (if you’ve opted for this) and touring the Borders. Local attractions include the towns of Melrose, Hawick and Jedburgh, The Rosslyn Chapel, and plenty of tweed and cashmere mills and shops to satisfy both the craftsperson and the avid shopper. Your costs for the day are at your own expense, but your hosts, Edward and Sarah, are more than happy to help you design the perfect day out. Everyone at the Castle is a wealth of knowledge, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice and recommendations!

    You’ll regroup at Thirlestane in the evening, and depending on the weather, dinner will be either a barbeque in the courtyard or another laid-back meal in the Victorian Kitchen.

  • Day 5

    Today, Susy’s team will take you riding on the Castle moor, a rugged, wild landscape where your horse’s surefootedness will really come into play. You’ll tuck into lunch in a bothy – a small wooden hut on the moor, where the isolation and starkness of winters gone by is very easily imagined.

    After making your way back to the Castle, the afternoon is yours – enjoy the cosy lounge room and beautiful outlook of your apartment, or perhaps take a leisurely drive through the countryside.

    Tonight there is the option to take the train from Stow to Edinburgh for a tasty meal and a wander through this enchanting city (at your own expense). If you wish to do so, you’ll need to be ready to leave in the early evening. You can self-drive to Stow railway station or catch a taxi and train tickets can be bought onboard. And for those who fancy a quiet night in, a beautiful home-baked meal is on offer for around £15 per person, ready for you to pop in the oven in your apartment’s fully-equipped kitchen.

  • Day 6

    For your last day of riding, Susy is taking you out onto Lauder Common. Here you’ll traverse the Common Ride trails, and the thunder of galloping hooves and the cry of the pipes will seem to echo over the stonewalled hills. Those who wish to canter will have ample opportunity to loosen the reins and fly across the plush green fields, while the rest carry on at slower pace. Dismounting at the top of a hill, you’ll savour a picnic lunch (provided by the amazing team at the Castle) while taking in the gorgeous views over Lauderdale and Thirlestane. Then you’ll get back in the saddle one last time and ride back to the estate, where you’ll say a fond farewell to the horse who has carried you on your Scottish journey.

    A final gala dinner will be prepared for you tonight, with drinks sipped in the state drawing room and your meal served in the state dining room. Then you’ll retire to your apartment to dream of the week’s incredible adventures.

  • Day 7

    This morning you’ll enjoy one last delicious breakfast at Thirlestane before checking out. You’ll bid a fond farewell to Edward, Sarah and the Castle team, say goodbye to your riding guides, Susy and Gemma (who have no doubt become firm friends) and will depart around 9:30am to be transferred back to Edinburgh Airport for your onwards travel. Haste ye back, globetrotters!

  • Transfers

    All transfers required throughout the riding itinerary are included within the ride price, including a pick up/drop off transfer service at Edinburgh Airport on the first and last days of the ride.

    On day 1, pick up from Edinburgh Airport is at 11:30am outside WH Smith in the arrivals hall (numbered 14 on THIS airport map). Please ensure your flight lands no later than 10:45am to give yourself time to clear customs, collect your luggage and meet the transfer on time.

    On the final day of the itinerary, the transfer will depart Thirlestane Castle at around 9:30am. If booking international flights home this day, please ensure they depart after 2pm.

    Self-drive is also an option, in which case you’ll need to arrive at Thirlestane Castle at 12:30pm on day 1.

    Globetrotting is happy to provide a competitive quote on international flights, travel insurance and accommodation before and after your ride.

  • Non-Riders

    This itinerary is a brilliant holiday option for non-riders – – the region is ripe with history and Thirlestane Castle is a suitable base for a number of day trips around the area (a hire car is recommended for non-riders). The non-rider price consists of all standard inclusions in the rider package (i.e. meals, accommodation, extra activities within the itinerary etc.) minus the riding element.

    There’s plenty to do/see/explore in the Scottish Borders, including (but not limited to):
    *Melrose Abbey – a 12th Century monastery
    *Borders Distillery – the first whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders (circa 1837) which also produces gin and vodka. A personal tour and private tasting can be arranged.
    *Floors Castle and Walled Gardens, Kelso – the largest inhabited castle in Scotland (larger than Thirlestane… and that’s saying something. You’ll understand when you see it!!)
    *Rosslyn Chapel – a 15th Century chapel made famous by the Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code.
    *Multiple renowned golf courses all just a short drive away.
    *Guided fishing in the River Tweed.
    And much, MUCH more!

    Be sure to liaise with your hosts, Edward and Sarah, for some Scottish-inspired activities.
Thirlestane Castle, Scotland, Globetrotting Horse Riding Holiday

Barbara Pingree

This was a dream come true. I had sustained injuries and resulting surgeries because of them and was unsure if this ride would be doable for me. I made the decision to go and am so happy that I did. Everything and everyone was more wonderful than I imagined.
The horses are amazing and great care is made to match the right horse and rider.
The accommodations were beautiful and comfortable and everyone was so welcoming and helpful.
I loved it so much that I am booked again for next year!

The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland, Globetrotting Horse Riding Holidays

Madeline MacLean

‘The Thirlestane Castle ride is a must-do for any equestrian who has always wanted to explore Scotland the traditional way! The scenery is stunning, the rides are to die for, and the horses and guides couldn’t be more perfectly suited to the trip. I rode Derwin, and he is, without exaggeration, one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden. Surefooted, brave, and a joy to canter over the moors – with tons of go! Gemma was absolutely invaluable and admirably flexed with the needs of our diverse group over the course of the week. If Scotland is calling to you, this is the best way to answer!’

Hope Towle

‘I recently went on the Thirlestane Castle ride for the second time and it was once again an amazing experience that exceeded my expectations. The team treated us like family, and it was a privilege to be part of such a united group. They went above and beyond to ensure our comfort throughout the week. I had the pleasure of riding Acropolis, a beautiful dapple grey with a sweet face and kind eyes. He definitely lived up to his reputation as a steady eddy and took great care of me for the entire week. If I could I would book this trip every year without hesitation!’

Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Christina Bates

‘The Thirlestane Castle Ride exceeded all my high expectations! The accommodations, hospitality, food, horses and experiences were all first rate. It’s a rare treat to have everything come together in such high standards. Would I repeat this trip? In a heartbeat! Huge thanks to Kate and Laura at Globetrotting and the Maitlands at Thirlestane.’

Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Cheryl Wittmier

‘Nothing will compare to the first day of this trip – seeing the beautiful accommodations and going out on the first ride. I just remember coming back and feeling like it wasn’t real! My anticipation for the next day and the chance that I’d get to ride Reever again kept me fairly giddy. Reever was my idea of the perfect horse. Brave, sensible and strong, he loved his job and navigated the terrain perfectly. I felt that we made a real connection. Our guides Gemma and Susy were amazing. They seemed to pair everyone with with the right horses. I loved the whole experience and I’m already planning another Globetrotting vacation!’

Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scottish Borders, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Emily Schilling

‘Who said dreams can’t come true?! This was my post-breast cancer dream trip and it fulfilled even my wildest dreams! I stayed in a beautiful apartment fit for a queen. Our guides Gemma and Suzy were wonderful and matched everyone so well with their horses. My horse Kingston was was so surefooted and fun. We not only galloped on the beaches of the North Sea but through the Moors! Amazing scenery and history. Our hosts Edward and Sarah and their staff made us feel like family. All the food was delicious and local. Best of all, our group of globetrotters was great! I feel like I have made life-long friends. I can’t wait to go globetrotting again!’

The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Fiona Roderick

‘I really enjoyed the Thirlestane Castle Ride. From coming back from a ride to a fire and a cup of tea welcoming you, to having dinner with the custodians of the castle, everything was perfect. My apartment was very beautiful and comfortable. Each day I loved getting back in the saddle. The staff and the guides were superb, it was such a great experience and the countryside is spectacular.’

Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Renee Lewis

‘The Thirlestane Castle Ride was a dream.  Really – pinch me! The Castle itself was a magnificent home and a perfect base with luxurious rooms, plenty of space and incredible architecture. The closest thing to a princess I will ever be! It was so nice to have a glass of wine in the Vault, and the dinners in the magnificent State Dining Room were so special. The riding was wonderful. Whether exploring the estate grounds, galloping up the moors (with a little sloe gin warm up midway), trotting among the sheep, popping over a nice cross country fence, or running along the beach, the horses were big, solid, steady and forward. My buddies, Socrates and Titan, were just lovely – light in the hand, so surefooted and willing, with plenty of go and good brakes! The magic of our love of horses and adventure created friendships among globetrotters from Australia to the UK to the US. Thank you Kate and Laura! I will always treasure Thirlestane and I can’t wait for the next adventure.’

The Thirlestane Castle Ride, Scotland - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Barbara Nissel

‘This was my first Globetrotting trip and it was fantastic. Everyone at the castle, from Edward and Sarah to the chefs and the housekeeping staff, was very professional, very warm and extremely helpful. The estate was like a fairyland, yet you felt like you were in a person’s home, and I greatly appreciated that. I rode Eva and she was wonderful. The rides were good – or better than good, they were exhilarating! I’m 65 and they stretched my comfort zone just enough to give me great confidence at the end of it all. I am now looking forward to my next Globetrotting adventure.’

STORIES FROM THE SADDLE

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