Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Like any serious rider, we’re always planning the next horseback adventure and riding across the Serengeti, the trip timed to coincide with the famous Annual Migration, definitely appeals. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there should be plenty of other game spread across plains with zebra, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles and impala all following the grass in the wake of the rainy season.
In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
London is always on every tourist’s radar and people often come to the UK capital with a ready-made checklist to see Buckingham Palace, the changing of the Guard, Tower Bridge and so on. They should add North Yorkshire to that checklist, if not just for the warmth of the locals (we find London can often be the opposite). You can’t go wrong if you want to dig into British Heritage with its castles, abbeys and stately homes and, and while it would be hard to find anywhere that hasn’t been covered in a guidebook, Alnwick Poison Garden is a “homegrown” favourite spot of ours. There’s something otherworldly and inspirational about the poison garden (home to Deadly nightshade), and who wouldn’t want to visit Alnwick Castle, the medieval fortress used as a backdrop for the Harry Potter films! That’s genuine escapism!
How do you plan your holiday?
We like to mix travel for work and pleasure so we tend to start off with a fixed destination and work our way out from there. If we’re looking to visit somewhere new, we check out the latest online reviews but when it comes to the heavy legwork of a long detailed trip we often use a travel agent. It saves us time and hassle (Ranch Rider and riding on the weekend keeps us busy) and they usually have access to some pretty good deals.
How often do you go away?
At least twice a year, and we tend to make the most of the Christmas break and take a longer holiday before the New Year as that’s everyone starts planning and booking their summer riding holidays.
Who do you travel with?
Each other. We’re great travel partners and, since we share a love of horseback riding, we have to make very few compromises on travel. We’re incredibly lucky that way.
Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
At present tourism in the UK has really taken off and Britain is apparently looking to break records this year. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with the fall out from Brexit and the weakening pound versus the US dollar, but the UK will always hold its own and continue to draw tourists who are curious about the royal family, especially the Americans. After the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, there’s certainly a stronger bond between the States and the UK. As local and authentic travel grows in popularity, we think tourist numbers will be more evenly spread across the UK rather than focused on the capital.
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About Ranch Rider
When Tony Daly headed to Arizona over 20 years ago, he never envisioned he would end up selling ranch holidays, but Tony says, “ranch life has a way of quietly seeping under your skin and each time you visit North America, it gets harder to put down the reins.” A keen rider herself and owner of a 14.2 colour cob mare, Tony’s wife, Ruth has helped to expand the tour operator’s list of destinations outside of North America. Argentina, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and more recently Tanzania are the latest additions – cantering alongside giraffe in South Africa, tracking the Big Five on horseback in Botswana, riding across the wilds of Tanzania and Namibia (some trails inaccessible by anything other than a horse) and saddling up with the Gauchos in Argentina offering plenty of contrast when it comes to riding holidays.