The best of the British Isles – Bahrain Confidential May 2018

What are you looking for in your summer holiday this year? Sunshine and seas, or maybe mountain ranges and milder climates. If you’re anything like we were last year, seeking the sun was the last thing on our minds. We wanted fresh air, good food and I was after enjoying my favourite hobby – horse riding. Where better to go than the beautiful British Isles?

London at its loveliest – Hyde Park on a summer afternoon

Our first stop was London. It’s busy and bustling, and yet still boasts an abundance of deliciously green spaces that include heavenly Hyde Park, with 350 acres of gently undulating paddocks, mature trees, wildflowers, lakes, and most importantly, a horse-riding path. I was able to trot my way along the path aboard Puzzel, the sweetest Irish Cob from Hyde Park Stables.

One of the many perfectly-behaved ponies at London’s Hyde Park Stables
A London farrier shoeing a pony amongst multi-million pound mews houses – as you do!
I lost my heart to the Irish cob whilst on holiday
The cast of Romeo & Juliet (English National Ballet) taking their final bows

Food was also a focal point of our London stay. We dined at the divine 2 Michelin star gastropub Hand and Flowers in Marlow, as well as the Savoy Grill, run by Gordon Ramsay and full to bursting with old-world class.

Essex lamb ‘bun’ at the Hand and Flowers in Marlow
Shaken not stirred at London’s No.1 drinking spot – the American Bar at The Savoy
The Savoy Grill, and yes that perfect pie was my choice

After 6 nights in London we were ready for a change of scenery, so happily boarded the train bound for Edinburgh. And if you’re planning on visiting this gorgeously gothic city, August is definitely the month to go. This is the time that more than 3,000 comics, actors and dancers converge on Edinburgh for the month-long festival, and offer quite literally, things to see and do 24 hours a day.

The comedy ghost bus tour at the Edinburgh Festival was super-cheesy but fun
My delish haggis at Edinburgh’s Arcade Bar Haggis & Whiskey House

And apart from enjoying the live entertainment, Edinburgh offered us the chance to dine on that oh-so Scottish dish, haggis, before walking most of it off by climbing the extinct volcanic rock known as Arthur’s Seat. From here, the highest point in Edinburgh, you can take in breathtaking 360 degree views of the city and far beyond.

Hiking around one of the many lochs in Inverness

Edinburgh was followed by Inverness, which is an easy 4 hour journey away by train. With its multitude of lochs and hills, Inverness and the outlying areas are perfect for people who like a little fishing and hiking with their holiday. Inverness also proved to be the perfect place for the second horse ride of my holiday, around and down to the shores of Loch Ness, no less.

On the banks of Loch Ness on-board a wonderful Irish sports cob

From Inverness we headed south west to Galway in Ireland. Galway is one of the closest points to the US east coast of all of the Emerald Isle, and sports an uncanny resemblance with its charming grey and white cottages and stone wall fences.

The River Corrib in Galway runs into the Atlantic
Sleeping swan on Galway’s River Corrib

Galway is also just a 40 minute ferry ride away from the wild and wonderful Aran Islands. Here we hired bikes and battled our way through the swirling rain, taking in the stunning scenery.

Bike riding at Aran Island -when we learnt that the rain in Ireland falls upwards!
A bumpy ferry ride away from Galway – Aran Island
The sweet little westie at our Galway B&B waiting patiently for hubby to share his breakfast sausage

On our final day in Galway, Lady Luck smiled down upon us, giving us a day of glorious Irish sunshine. Just perfect for my third and final horse ride of the holiday, which saw me aboard another Irish Cob, ‘All That Jazz’. Jazz carried me into the Atlantic Ocean for a quick dip, before powering up into the rocky Burren Mountains and along the ancient pathway. This was without doubt, the best way to enjoy the sweeping vistas of the Emerald Isle.

Another region, another ride. Preparing for my horse ride through the Burren in Galway at Cooper’s Hill Stables

Our final leg of the trip took us to Ireland’s capital, Dublin. It proved to be an easy drive from Galway, taking just over 2 hours.

A gourmand’s paradise – the Fallon & Byrne Food Hall in Dublin is a must visit
In celebration of the slow food movement – lunching upstairs at Fallon & Byrne
Stocking up on essentials at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin

And wouldn’t you know it, we got there in time to enjoy the final day of the fabulous Dublin Horse Show.

Judging the horse’s conformation in the ladies side-saddle class at Dublin Horse Show
We were lucky enough to catch the spectacular Longines Global Champions tour at Dublin Horse Show

This equestrian extravaganza has been running since 1864, and has become one of Ireland’s largest events. It is also a true celebration of Ireland’s affinity with the horse. We were able to enjoy everything from the elegant ladies sidesaddle class, to the nail-biting excitement of the Longines Grand Prix featuring some of the best show jumpers in the world. It was the perfect end to a wonderful holiday – a little horsey and a lot lovely.

While in Dublin…enjoying a pint or 2 at the Guinness Storehouse

Wishing you a wonderful summer holiday! xx

Leave a Comment