rural landscape, Rutland offers a perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. As England’s smallest county, it may be easy to overlook Rutland when planning a vacation, but this hidden gem has plenty to offer. From water sports and cycling to exploring idyllic English towns, a weekend in Rutland is guaranteed to have something for everyone.
Here are some key points that you should keep in mind when planning your trip to Rutland:
1. Explore Rutland Water: One of the biggest attractions in Rutland is Rutland Water, a large man-made reservoir offering a wide range of water sports and outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply enjoying a leisurely walk along the shoreline, Rutland Water has something to suit all interests and skill levels. It is also a haven for birdwatchers, with an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding wetlands.
2. Cycle the Rutland Water Cycle Route: For those who enjoy cycling, the Rutland Water Cycle Route is a must-do activity. This 23-mile trail loops around the reservoir, offering scenic views and the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside. The route is mainly off-road, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities. You can bring your own bike or rent one from the numerous rental outlets around Rutland Water.
3. Visit Oakham: The county town of Rutland, Oakham, is a charming market town with a rich history. Take a stroll around the quaint streets and soak up the atmosphere of the traditional English market town. Don’t miss a visit to Oakham Castle, known for its iconic horseshoes adorning the walls. The castle provides insight into the county’s medieval heritage and offers a chance to learn about the unique tradition of royalty and nobility donating horseshoes to the castle.
4. Discover Uppingham: Another picturesque town worth exploring in Rutland is Uppingham. Known for its well-preserved limestone buildings, Uppingham is a delight to wander around. The town is home to Uppingham School, one of the oldest public schools in England, and its presence adds a certain academic charm to the area. Take your time to explore the independent shops and enjoy a meal at one of the cozy pubs or cafes.
5. Visit Rutland County Museum: Located in Oakham, the Rutland County Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history and heritage of the county. The museum displays a range of artifacts, including archaeological finds, local art, and exhibits exploring Rutland’s rural industries. It also provides insights into the customs and traditions of the locals over the centuries.
6. Indulge in Local Cuisine: No trip to Rutland is complete without sampling some of the local delicacies. The county is known for its excellent food and drink scene, with a variety of farm shops, pubs, and restaurants offering delicious local produce. Whether you’re craving traditional English cuisine or more contemporary dishes, you’ll find options to suit your taste buds.
7. Attend Rutland’s Festivals and Events: Rutland hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year, providing an opportunity to experience the vibrant local culture. From the Uppingham Annual Fatstock Show, a traditional farming show held in November, to the Rutland Food and Drink Festival, showcasing the best of local produce, there is always something happening in Rutland.
Main takeaway: Rutland, England’s smallest county, may be small in size but it certainly has a lot to offer. From the scenic Rutland Water to the charming towns of Oakham and Uppingham, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy in this hidden gem of a destination. So, if you’re looking for a relaxed and enjoyable vacation away from the crowds, consider visiting Rutland for a memorable experience.