Shire Horse Society Approved Centres
As part of our mission to increase public awareness of the work undertaken by the Society and its breeders in 2013 the Society set about the challenge of finding suitable visitor attractions promoting the Shire horse.
Society representatives visited the following attractions and found they are worthy of the Society status of ‘Approved Visitor Centre.’ We are constantly on the look out for new centres, if you would like to recommend an attraction near you please contact us and we will make arrangements to visit them.
Don’t forget, paid up Society members, producing their membership badge gain *free access to Approved Centres (conditions apply).
Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, Cheshire
Winner of Cheshire’s “Visitor Attraction of the Year”, Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre is set in 50 acres in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside, and offers everything for the perfect day out.
Home of the internationally renowned Cotebrook Shire Horse Stud they have been breeding champion Shires for over 45 years and they form the centrepiece of the Centre. They invite you to meet their Stallions, Mares & Foals and learn about this fabulous Old English Breed from friendly and informative staff who will be pleased to share their knowledge. They have up to 30 horses at any time for you to meet.
At Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre there is lots to see and do to make your visit interesting and enjoyable. You can learn all about the Shire horse, from its history carrying knights in armour to our important studwork today, ensuring the future of this magnificent breed. You can discover the art of showing a Shire and how to win!
As well as our fabulous Shire horses they have a selection of British animals and bird life both wild and domesticated including rare breeds. You can wander around our Nature Trail to meet the horses further afield, browse around our gift shop with its unique country gifts and souvenirs, then visit our Lakeside Cafe which offers light lunches and cream teas.
Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre look forward to welcoming you soon!
Ash End House Children’s Farm
A purpose built busy working yard, although it is part of the children’s farm it is now becoming popular with visitors in it’s own right.
Here at the farm we generally have anywhere between up to 15 to 20 horses, visitors not only get to interact with our horses up close in their stables but also get to watch them in a more natural environment whilst out in the paddock.
Our Shire horses are especially favoured by our older visitors who can remember working with these magnificent animals on the farms and in our cities, a common memory of yesteryear.
After visiting with the grandchildren they will often slip back on a weekday afternoon to spend more time with the horses and often share their memories with our staff.
The Royal Parks Shires at Operation Centaur
Visit the last working Shire herd in London!
Now the breweries no longer stable their horses in town, our Shires are the last working herd of eight in Central and Greater London.
Operating from our base in Richmond Park, we contribute to the conservation of the Royal Parks through managing wildflower meadows, logging, bracken rolling, and various community engagement projects.
We offer monthly open days to see our Shires at work, including a magnificent tour in the park. Strictly by appointment only. Limited places.
Holly Lodge, Richmond Park TW10 5HS
Robinsons Brewery, Stockport, Cheshire joined the Society in 2016 as an Approved Centre and offer visitors the opportunity to meet their Shire horses, Bobek, Mojo and Boris. The latest in a long line of Shire horses which, apart from a brief interruption during the First World War when all horses were sold for war duties, have served Robinsons Brewery for over 100 years.
In their heyday, before the arrival of the internal combustion engine, Robinsons Shires were in the main brewery yard working every day to deliver traditionally brewed ales to local inns and hostelries. However their primary use was inter-brewery work: moving bottles and cases between Unicorn and Hempshaw Brook Breweries in the 1950’s. The Shires also moved cinders from the main yard, spent hops and waste paper.
Today Bobek and Mojo are two of the few remaining working Shires in the British Brewing industry. A familiar and much loved part of Stockport heritage, the sight of the Robinsons Shires evokes happy memories of a bygone time – as well as encouraging new fans of these gentle giants.
Bobek and Mojo do more than make guest appearances at Robinsons Trade Shows, promotional events, anniversaries, pub openings and notable celebrations. They can also be found at a range of shows, carnivals and country fairs throughout the year – winning many prizes for their immaculate turnout, grooming and show discipline.
Sledmere House is set in over 75 acres of stunning parkland, nestled in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds, steeped in history and with so many countryside activities and experiences to offer, it’s a perfect day out for all.
The historic stable block opened it’s doors to the public in April 2015, originally housing a retired racehorse, small childs pony and a driving cob. In August 2015 the decision was made to add the first Sledmere Shire, we now have four shires and in 2019 started breeding with our broodmare Cottage Farm Julie. We always have staff on hand to answer any questions and help everyone get as close and ‘hands on’ with our shires as possible.
You can learn all about shire horses at Sledmere and their fascinating history with the “Wagoners Special Reserve” and working the land in the past on the farm. We bring this to life with our driving pair who can be seen regularly driving in the grounds, including pulling a traditional Wolds Wagon.
Also at Sledmere we have a variety of other rare breed animals, which have gained us approval with the rare breeds survival trust as a conservation farm park. You can wander around our parkland, enjoy the walled garden and also visit the house. With the Coach House Cafe serving delicious home cooked food, farm shop and two gift shops you will always find some wonderful, local produce to treat yourself to.
We look forward to welcoming you on your visit to us soon.
Sledmere House, Farm Park, East Yorkshire
Blists Hill Victorian Town
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blists Hill Victorian Town is part of The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The town is a living Museum illustrating life on the East Shropshire Coalfield around 1900.
The Shire horses at Blists Hill are an integral part of the interpretation of life in the heyday of the working horse. The horses are on site during opening hours of the Museum, illustrating the various roles carried out using horses. They can be seen working in a variety of vehicles from brewery drays, coal lorries and general delivery vehicles as well as working in the woodlands on the site. There is the opportunity to take a ride around the the Town on a horse drawn omnibus.
At the Museum, they are very keen to educate their visitors and we demonstrate and explain the harnessing of the heavy horse each day. The activities of the horses will vary according to the season and are weather dependent. Please contact the Museum before your visit if there is something you particularly want to see.
Of course, the Shires are just part of the experience when you step back in time and experience the sights and sounds of late Victorian period. Visit the shops, business premises and dwellings of the costumed townsfolk, enjoy traditional fish and chips at the Fried Fish Shop, experience the steam engines on site and enjoy a pint of traditional ale and a sing song in the town’s very own pub.
Times of opening vary throughout the year, so please see the Museums website and Facebook pages for all the details.
A warm welcome awaits you at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire.
Dyfed Shire Horse Centre
Dyfed Shires has been farmed by the same family in North Pembrokeshire since 1849, the current owners being the seventh generation.
A central theme since 1849 has been the working horse, the Shire. At the end of WW2 when farming went fully mechanised Mr JR Lewis the then owner always kept a working Shire and on retirement in the 1970’s bred them for enjoyment.
On his death in 1991 a decision was made that the Shire Horses would need to be self-financing and in 1992 Dyfed Shires was born and have operated ever since.
The farm currently has twelve heavy horses, many of whom are broken into work and ride and undertake farm work. In addition to Shire horses the farm also keeps other native rare animals, namely Balwen Sheep and pedigree Hereford cattle.
The farm also operates a small campsite and cafe and have a museum containing working farm machinery such as the binder and threshing machines and hold open days every year to show visitors how farming was done 60-80 years ago and keep old traditions alive.
Dyfed Shires’ notable claim is their success in supplying Shire Horses to the Household Cavalry for ceremonial purposes such as Trooping the Colour.
All visitors to the farm will receive a talk about the history of the farm and the Shire Horse and be allowed the opportunity of enjoying a harnessing demonstration, a horse and cart ride and much more.
Hook Norton Brewery
Hook Norton Brewery remains one of only three breweries still delivering by horse drawn dray.
Set in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside, Hook Norton Brewery is one of the finest examples of a Victorian tower brewery left in the country.
Their all year round brewery tours, onsite café and shop make for an ideal day out in the Cotswolds.
The original onsite 1894 stable block remains open to the public and is home to their resident working Shire Horses.
Their horses can be regularly seen out delivering in the local village of Hook Norton, as well as appearing throughout the year supporting their pubs, country show demonstrations and numerous TV appearances.
Cannon Hall Farm
Cannon Hall Farm a family run attraction sits in the beautiful Pennine foothills and offers visitors the opportunity to meet and learn about Shire horses and other animals.
With a wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy, Cannon Hall Farm is a great day out.
*Admission on one day only per year at Blists Hill Victorian Town.