Are you looking to start a new Christmas tradition? One that involves horses, crisp air and some magic? Then I would thoroughly recommend Richmond Park’s Operation Centaur carriage rides.

Travel in a traditional carriage drawn by two rare, majestic, grey Shire horses (there are fewer than 200 grey Shires in the world*) upon a six-person Park Brake. Heath and Nobby’s huge hooves clip clop into a bygone age, and you will get the chance to see the park’s famous deer and wildlife up close…

I can’t think of a more pleasant and relaxing way to spend an hour, taking forest bathing to another level. Snug under a blanket, you can enjoy the fresh air this Christmas with friend and family. It’s an enchanting Christmas event with all the innocence of our remembered childhood excitement about Christmas.

The 90-minute experience begins at Holly Lodge, where you’ll be met with sloe gin (soft drinks available) and a mince pie to get you into the spirit of things. You’ll then climb aboard the six-person carriage (ideal for social bubbles) to enjoy a 60-minute ride through the park pulled by the incredibly strong and patient Shire horses.

The Christmas decorated carriage ride meanders through the park in all its winter beauty! Off the beaten track you will see and experience a quieter Richmond park.  You’ll also be treated to a unique behind-the-scenes visit to the working stables.

These festive carriage rides also help showcase and save working horses.Operation Centaur is a champion of the conservation of Shire Horses, whose numbers have been dwindling due to the modernisation of land management

Working horses play an important role in the park, cutting down bracken in acid sensitive grasslands. This less intrusive land management offers low noise disturbance, lower soil compaction and minimal impact to wildlife. By buying your tickets you will not only enjoy a delightful excursion but also help fund conservation initiatives in The Royal Parks.

I would highly recommend this experience to anybody, family, couples and friends. The staff were fabulous, skilled and attentive. They obviously love and respect the horse all of whom oozes health and wellbeing. The ticket costs £450 (+booking fee) for all six people in an exclusive carriage.


* they are rarer than pandas.