About Alexandra Tolstoy
An explorer, author, TV presenter and relative of Leo Tolstoy, Alexandra Tolstoy’s love of Central Asia began in the 1990s.
Having graduated with an MA (Hons) in Russian language and literature, she set out with three girlfriends to become the first people since the time of Marco Polo to ride 5,000 miles of the Silk Road on horse and camel, from Merv in Turkmenistan to Xian in China.
The nine-month adventure, living in tents in some of the harshest and most remote spots on earth, triggered a deep passion for travel. Alexandra spent the next decade exploring Mongolia, Siberia, Russia and Central Asia by horse, presenting a BBC2 documentary series on communities that revolve around horses, publishing a book on her travels, and writing numerous articles for newspapers and magazines.
From this, she began leading horse riding holidays to Kyrgyzstan for intrepid travellers, and now organises three unique horse riding journeys each year to Kyrgyzstan, which she sells through The Ultimate Travel Company, as well as bespoke private trips.
Alexandra also runs The Tolstoy Edit, a curated shop of her favourite interiors discoveries, including antique painted furniture and textiles, as well as more modern decorative pieces. Her style is strongly influenced by her travels and heritage, celebrating a love of folk traditions and craftsmanship, and features regularly in magazines including House & Garden and FT’s ‘How to Spend It’. As a designer, Alexandra has also created unique collaborations with leading brands such as Brora and Love Your Home.
Alexandra is a mother of three and divides her time between London, her tiny Oxfordshire cottage and the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
“Kyrgyzstan is breathtakingly beautiful, and with Alexandra, we saw it in the best possible way. She knows the country and culture so well, and her eye for detail is unsurpassed. To be so comfortable in such a wild and remote landscape was amazing. We are dreaming of going back with the children, it’s the trip of a lifetime.”
“Alexandra Tolstoy’s trips offer unrivalled access to this historically, culturally and geographically fascinating region.”
“Alexandra said she chose Sary Chelek as she felt like she’d landed in paradise on her Silk Road riding adventure. It did indeed feel like paradise, with waist height flowers of purple alliums, yellow fennel, pink lilies and irises. Riding through the walnut forest, plucking ripe mulberries from trees as we rode past, we heard a nightingale sing. With spectacular waterfalls and turquoise lakes, it was truly a paradise.”
“It is very difficult to pinpoint my favourite parts of our Kyrgyzstan adventure because it was all so wonderful. Arriving at our breathtakingly beautiful lakeside camp and plunging into the water. Eating home-cooked pumpkin dumplings under the milky way. Learning new card games with new friends, cocktail in hand. Or watching our brilliant guides play a very competitive game of Kyrgyz goat polo. I loved every minute.”
“Having been on many riding adventures around the world, this was, without doubt, the best. Alexandra Tolstoy’s knowledge of Kyrgyzstan and her fluent Russian ensured that it was a brilliant trip for our group. This was a trip of a lifetime, and it did not disappoint.”
“We were on a scimitar of a ridge, thousands of feet in the air. Snowcapped mountains loomed, but they loomed below us. We could see rivers, in extremely small scale, threads of blue monofilament. Mile-wide turquoise lakes glinted minutely, beads lost in a shag rug. We were at the top of the Chatkal Range of the Tian Shan, above everything.”