Rutland Attractions

Rutland offers visitors a choice of local attractions in the county, with a number of charming places for visitors to discover. The county is the smallest of the historic English counties but has plenty to offer visitors. Rutland offers the perfect countryside break along with museums, parks, gardens, a number of historic buildings, theatre, concerts and events. Rutland’s location in East Midlands means the tranquil English countryside and the great outdoors are all within reach located close to local towns and villages with a range of things to see and do in the county.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places to visit for visitors to Rutland, these include:

The Rutland County Museum is located in the town centre and opened back in 1969, the museum includes a number of collections telling visitors the history of the county. The exhibits relate to the social history of the area, archaeology, agriculture. There are temporary exhibitions along side the permanent ones and the museum also hosts a number of events throughout the year. The museum provides visitors with an interesting insight in to the area and its history.

Oakham Castle is located in Oakham, the 12th century building is considered among the finest examples of 12th century architecture in England. The site once contained a fortified manor house however today the impressive Great Hall is all that remains. The building is a Grade I listed building reflecting its architectural and historic importance. The castle is known for its Romanesque architectural details and inside visitors can see the acclaimed selection of horseshoes and 12th century sculptures. Admission to the castle is currently free of charge.

Rutland Water is located in the heart of the county of Rutland. It is the largest man made lake in the UK, the lake is of a similar size to Lake Windermere in the Lake District. Rutland Water includes an outdoor adventure centre and nature reserve. The lake is set in over 3,000 acres of countryside and includes a 25 mile circular track for cycling and walking.

There is plenty to do for the whole family, the Rutland Belle provides cruises around the lake, whilst the Rutland Watersports Centre offers a choice of activities including windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. Visitors after some adventure can try the Rock Blok, an adventure park offering rock climbing, abseiling and tree top high ropes.

The Rutland Water Nature Reserve is of special importance being a site of special scientific interest in recognition of its position of being one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in the UK. The area covers 1, 000 acres and includes a number of bird watching hides and nature trails.

Normanton Church is located on the eastern edge of Rutland Water, the building is the most famous in Rutland. The building is a Grade II listed building dating back to the 19th century, inside the church is a museum that showcases the history of Rutland Water and the construction of the reservoir.

Barnsdale Gardens is located 4 miles form Oakham close to Exton. The gardens are the best known in Rutland attracting many visitors each year. The gardens were built by Geoff Hamilton well known for his involvement in the Gardener’s World television programme. The gardens include 36 individual gardens over an 8 acre site, leaving visitors with plenty of gardens to explore. Visitors can see a range of gardening styles and planting themes here and enjoy snacks and light meals at the Barnsdale Tea Room.

Lyddington Bede House is a historic house located 9 miles from Oakham in the village of Lyddington. The building is a Grade I listed building and is under the ownership of the National Trust. There is also a church next to the house at the site, inside the house visitors can view the rooms that include period features such as small windows and fireplaces. Among the highlights of visiting the house is the Great Chamber located on the first floor that includes the wonderfully carved ceiling cornice. The house is usually open from April until November for visitors.

The Rutland Railway Museum is located in Cottesmore 5 miles from Oakham. The museum is a living museum spread over a 19 acre site that recreates the golden ages of the railway and gives a fascinating insight in to the history and significance of the railways in the area. There are displays of classic steam locomotive trains and mineral wagons, there are workshop tours where visitors can see the careful restoration work being done on historic trains. There are a number of nature trails and picnic spots visitors can enjoy.

Rutland Village is a retail park located close to Oakham. The retail park is set over a 4.5 acre site in a scenic countryside setting. Shops in the retail park include Cotton Traders, Yeomans Outdoors and the Rutland Garden Centre. There is a café on site serving a choice of drinks, snacks and meals that are freshly prepared.

Tolethorpe Hall is located in Little Casterton in the Rutland countryside. The historic country house is currently used by the Stamford Shakespeare Company as an outdoor theatre. The house itself dates back to the 11th century, set in an idyllic location set in parkland overlooking scenic English countryside.

The landscaped grounds provide an ideal place for visitors to enjoy a picnic, a relaxing stroll and a chance to view the lawns, pond and flowerbeds. In the stone mullioned windows there is stained glass that depicts various scenes of eight of Shakespeare’s plays and visitors can see the tapestry at the Orangery and Ochre Wall Decoration dating back to the 14th to 16th centuries. There is a restaurant on site and a choice of Shakespeare’s plays making Tolethorpe Hall an interesting attraction for fans of history and the arts.

It is recommended that prior to visiting the Rutland; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport and the road network.

Rutland is sometimes missed by visitors to the East Midlands with well known counties located in the region. The county is a hidden gem and has plenty to offer visitors with a mix of charming historic market towns and villages including plenty of picturesque locations and scenic countryside to enjoy. There are the towns of Oakham and Uppingham both offering visitors a good base from which to explore the compact county along with their own town attractions. Rutland includes a number of historic attractions, museums, historic houses, gardens and attractions for the entire family. Rutland’s attractions ensure visitors can enjoy a short break, weekend away or a longer stay here.

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