Top 10 Equestrian Vacation Destinations

From forested trails around Ireland’s Ashford Castle to state-of-the-art indoor facilities at Gleneagles, the top 10 horseback riding holidays in England, Ireland and Scotland for riders of every level and technique.

© Coworth Park
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Coworth Park, Ascot, England

Ever since its establishment in 1776, the handsome Georgian Manor Coworth Park has lived a variety of incarnations. Over the past hundreds of years, the 240-acre estate has served as a private residence (most famously to horse racing enthusiast and 17th Earl of Lord Derby Edward Stanley in the late 1800s), a convent school, offices and most recently a five-star hotel, thanks to Dorchester Collection’s take over in 2001.Today, the converted manor and stables—decked in a mix of modern accoutrements (heated floors, leather-backed king beds) and agrarian accents (equine oil paintings, gilded horse shoes)—offers a variety of equestrian opportunities: country hacks (rides on trails and back roads), a traditional dressage ring (for what might be best described as ballet on horseback), a show jumping course for traditional lessons, two international-level polo fields and the Polo Academy, helmed by Andrew Hine, the former captain and manager of the English national team. For guests not quite prepared to bat the balls themselves, Coworth Park hosts some of the world’s top polo matches, including the much-lauded Audi Polo Challenge. Insider tip: book one of the 40 exquisite, secluded rooms in the converted stable block set apart from main building.

Riding lessons from $115 per hour; Rooms from $515; Blacknest Rd.; 44-1344/876-600;