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2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac, beginning on 31 January. According to Chinese Astrology Online, the horse is a symbol of competition, swift success and travelling – good news if you’re planning a visit to London!
To celebrate the start of the new Lunar year, join in the vibrant Chinese New Year Celebrations in London’s Chinatown – or pay a visit to one of these 10 horse-related attractions in London.
Royal Ascot 2014
The world’s most famous race meeting, Royal Ascot is a favourite among British Royals, high society and social butterflies. See lightning-fast horses compete to win in the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Gold Cup races, and experience the ceremony, tradition and glamour of this historic event. It’s not all about posh hats, you know!
Meet the Horses at Kentish Town City Farm
At Kentish Town City Farm you’ll not only find horses but also chickens, cows, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and sheep – including some rare breeds. Take the family along to stroke the horses, see their stables and (at the weekend) go on a pony ride (£2). More city farms in London.
War Horse has won over audiences around the world with its beautiful, moving story of friendship and heroism in battle – and, of course, its jaw-droppingly accurate, life-size horse puppets. Catch it now at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane.
Polo in the Park 2014
The horses are back at Hurlingham Park this June, for three days of high-octane polo matches – plus summer cocktails, delicious street food, luxury shopping and kids activities. Polo in the Park uses simplified polo rules to up the excitement and make it easier to follow the action – if you’re not too busy enjoying an impromptu picnic.
Household Cavalry Museum
You’ve seen the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade, now find out what goes on behind the scenes at The Household Cavalry Museum. Peer through the glass partition to see troopers working in the original 18th century stables, then explore the museum’s fascinating collection of personal stories, interactive displays and ceremonial artefacts. Please note: the museum is closed for refurbishment until 24 January. If you’re visiting before then, why not check out the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace instead?
Trooping the Colour 2014
Every year, London marks the Queen’s (official) birthday with a colourful military parade known as Trooping the Colour. Dating back to the 18th century, the procession sees fully trained and operational troops – including horses from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – parade past the Queen. Apply now for a place on the seated stands around Horse Guards Parade, or head along on the day to watch from The Mall.
Horse Riding in Hyde Park
Saddle up and take a trot around the beautiful environs of Hyde Park. Horse riding has a long history in this Royal Park, dating back to 1536 when Henry VIII galloped around in pursuit of deer and wild boar. Contact the Hyde Park Stables or Ross Nye Stables to hire your noble steed.
London International Horse Show at Olympia
The London International Horse Show at Olympia took place in December, but plans are already underway for the 2014 edition. See horses and their riders compete in dressage, jumping and a host of other thrilling competitions, and enjoy the special displays. Last year’s guest spots featured The Kennel Club, The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrianism and Shetland Pony Grand National, so who knows who you’ll see this year. Tickets available from May.
Located in former stables dating back to the Victorian era, Stables Market is now a bustling hub of food stalls, bars and shops. But its past life is still apparent, from the old catacombs to the 200-year-old Grade II Listed Horse Hospital – now home to Proud Camden, a gallery and live music venue. Look out too for the huge bronze statues of horses, added during the market’s recent restoration.
Horse Armour at The Wallace Collection
The highlight of The Wallace Collection’s huge assortment of European and Oriental armoury is undoubtedly the stunning life-size horse (and rider) dressed in German Gothic equestrian armour from c. 1480-1500 (see main picture). The museum, which is free to enter, also features a number of paintings featuring horses, from the likes of Rembrandt, Velázquez and Bellangé.