Rutland is England’s smallest county, often described as “the Cotswolds without the tourists”. As well as a selection of quaint villages, the county also boasts Rutland Water. This vast reservoir has become one of the most significant wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain as well as providing an array of leisure activities. Rutland’s motto “Multim im Parvo”, meaning “much in little” certainly sums up the area.
Local towns including Oakham, only 2 miles away, Stamford (9 miles) and Uppingham (5 miles) provide all the necessary amenities as well as all having weekly markets. They also have a wealth of designer boutiques and high quality shops providing local produce. As well as restaurants in these towns, the surrounding villages have an excellent choice of gastro pubs.
Egleton forms part of the cycle path which travels around the reservoir. Cycle hire is available on both the north and south shores www.rutlandcycling.com and there is a lockable garage to store your own bicycles at St Monica’s if you wish to bring your own. Fishing is available in season (April to October for Brown Trout and April to December for Rainbow Trout). Whitwell provides a “Rockblok” and high ropes for adults and children and is home to the Rutland Belle which offers short cruises via Normanton Church throughout the summer, including Osprey Watching cruises for the pairs of birds returning here to breed. Sailing and windsurfing are also available at Whitwell or you might like to try these sports at Edith Weston, home to Rutland Sailing Club www.rutlandsc.co.uk . Golf can be played by non-members at Rutland Water Golf Club near Manton, Greetham Valley,Rutland County Golf Club as well as Luffenham Heath and Stoke Rochford.
Oakham, Rutland’s county town remains a charming and thriving hub, with its Castle situated in the centre of town near the market place which holds a bustling market every Wednesday and Friday. A monthly Farmers Market is also held. The Castle is the remains of a manorial hall which now houses a vast collection of mainly ornamental horseshoes given by visiting dignitaries. Rutland County Museum houses a Visitor Centre and collection of artefacts reflecting Rutland’s rural history. Oakham has a heritage trail booklet available to explore its history and you can discover a variety of excellent shops and designer clothes boutiques.
Uppingham, the only other town in Rutland lies 5 miles to the south of Egleton and has a market every Friday. It is a popular destination for those wishing to look for antiques and art galleries. Eyebrook Reservoir, to the south, provides a tranquil stopping point on a day out.
Stamford, although not in Rutland, lies near the county boundary and was England’s first conservation town. It is a fantastic example of a Georgian town with many fine stone houses and numerous churches. The George Hotel is still a firm favourite for drinking and dining, lying next to the bridge spanning the River Welland. A large market takes over much of the town centre every Friday. Again, many specialist shops can be found tucked away in the alleyways and courtyards around town as well as on the main streets. Stamford has a vibrant Arts Centre providing many forms of entertainment and exhibitions throughout the year www.stamfordartscentre.com .
On the southern edge of Stamford lies Burghley House, arguably the finest and largest house of the first Elizabethan age in its parkland setting. Home to the Burghley Horse Trials each September, Burghley house is open to the public from March until October www.burghley.co.uk. The new Gardens of Surprise at Burghley offer great entertainment for all ages (towels and change of clothes are a must for the younger generation).
Egleton and Lyndon Bird Watching Centres www.rutlandwater.org.uk
Barnsdale Gardens www.barnsdalegardens.co.uk
Burghley House www.burghley.co.uk
Rockingham Castle www.rockinghamcastle.com
Belton House www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-beltonhouse
Belvoir Castle www.belvoircastle.com
Clipsham Yew Tree Avenue
Rutland Falconry Centre, near Burley www.rutland-falconry.com
RockBlok – climbing and high ropes, Whitwell www.rockblok.co.uk
Gardens of Surprise at Burghley House www.burghley.co.uk
Twinlakes near Melton Mowbray www.twinlakespark.co.uk
Hamerton Zoo near Peterborough www.hamertonzoopark.com
Activity World and Big Sky, Peterborough www.activityworld.co.uk and www.bigsky.co.uk