Despite its small size, Rutland holds significant charms and activities for visitors to explore.
The nature reserve and large reservoir, Rutland Water, is in the centre of the county and is an important site for wildfowl and a breeding site for ospreys. The reservoir, is the largest in England by surface area, and has a 25 mile round trail for cyclists and walkers to enjoy. Water sports and fishing are also popular and it is possible to cruise the reservoir on the Rutland Belle. The site hosts the annual British Birdwatching Fair. The preserved Normanton Church is an iconic sight with views across the water and is reachable by causeway. Not far away at Exton, you will find Barnsdale Gardens, of Gardner’s World fame now formed into 37 different gardens and covering 8 acres.
Oakham provides the visitor with a chance to visit the Rutland County in the old Riding School of the Rutland Fencible Cavalry Museum to see a story of rural life. Of particular note are some of the oldest box wagons in the country and the only surviving set of drop gallows. Oakham Castle, originally the fortified hall of a great manor house is famed for its Norman architecture houses a vast collection of horseshoes with over 230 on display, the oldest dating back to 1470.
Rutland is home to the Rutland Railway Museum – or Rocks by Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum, an open air museum in quarry setting with a large collection of steam and diesel engines.
The village of Lyddington holds the scheduled ancient monument that is Lyddington Bede House, next to the church. An English Heritage Site, the watch tower and historic house are open to the public.
Visitors to the county may also like to take in Tolethorpe Hall, where the house and gardens are now used as a Shakespearian theatre setting.
The market town of Uppingham has an abundance of antique shops and galleries, whilst Oakham benefits from a range of individual boutiques. The Oakham and Uppingham Heritage Walking Trails enable visitors to get out and about on foot and explore the history of the towns.
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