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Things To Do in Rutland
Exton Estate is just a few miles from the incredible wetland habitat of Rutland Water and benefits from all that the nature reserve has to offer.
There are a couple of visitor centres available which are a good place to start a visit. The Anglian Water bird Watching Centre in Egleton has great facilities and a good selection of information on the wildlife and history, or there is the Lyndon Visitor Centre located on the south shore. Birdwatching hides are positioned around the banks of the reserve, so you're always bound to see something good, while footpaths and cycle routes skirt the shores enabling you to really explore.
The reservoir is divided into different sections, the west is where the reserve is located, while different leisure activities take place in the remaining areas. Sailing and windsurfing are popular toward the east of the reservoir while fishing happens more centrally. There tends to be a fantastic range of wildlife, both on land and in the water, across the reservoir throughout the year.
The Rutland Watersports
Rutland watersports centre is located on the shore at Whitwell and offers sailing, canoeing, kayaking, powerboating and windsurfing for different ages and abilities as well as children's activity days. The centre has a shop stocked with clothing, accessories and equipment and also offers equipment hire and tuition for those who want it.
The Reservoir has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a globally important wetland RAMSAR site. In the welcome centre a 'Weather and Wildlife' exhibition is accompanied by the live camera feed (in season) of the osprey nests that are part of the Rutland Osprey Project. The Osprey Project was a translocation programme started almost two decades ago and resulted in Rutland becoming home to the first pair of breading ospreys in 150 years! Now Rutland is visited by many ospreys that return every year on their migratory journey. The place to spot them and learn about the project is The Lyndon Visitor Centre. Here you'll find a great deal of information about these mighty birds and at the right time of year live feeds from the nest cameras record the progress of the chicks. If you're lucky, you may see some of these fantastic birds when they visit the lake at Exton.
RockBlok is a great one for youngsters or those who have a head for heights. Close to Whitwell towards the northern shore of Rutland Water is this rock climbing centre that is suitable for all ages from seven years upwards. As well as rock climbing you can try abseiling, a high ropes adventure course and trampolining. Beginners' instruction and taster sessions are available for if you are new to it all.
The Rutland Belle
The Rutland Belle, a lake cruise boat, departs from the northern shore on the hour. This is a fantastic way to see the sights of the reserve while relaxing at the same time.
Barnsdale Gardens are great for all the family. There are 39 individual gardens throughout this eight-acre site, all with different themes and styles. Wander each of the zones and be met with an array of colours and aromas. Stop off at the nursery to buy some of your favourites and then round off the day with a trip to the tea room to enjoy the fresh, seasonal produce and a pick-me-up cuppa.
Rocks By Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum
Rocks By Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum is a great way to experience the industrial landscape of an ironstone tramway system. This open air site, located just outside the village of Cottesmore, is based on a typical 1950s quarry system and details the process right from extraction. You can tour the workshop and loco yard, visit the interesting museum and there is a nature trail to explore too.
Tolethorpe Hall is home to the Stamford Shakespeare Company. Its origins date back to the 11th century and it stands in very pretty gardens. There is usually a three-month summer season of plays; two Shakespeare and one by another playwright.
Falconry and Owl Centre
The Falconry and Owl Centre houses a fascinating collection of birds of prey from all around the world and is located amid a natural wilderness. There are many different habitats such as maturing ponds and grassy woodland. Great for all ages, you can get up close to magnificent birds, take part in a handling course, or simply go for a wander. If you time it right, you can also see big cats here on specific open days, usually six times a year.
Rutland Fly Fishing Adventures
Rob Waddington, founder, head coach and Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide offers fun and friendly, award winning fly fishing adventures on the UK’s largest and finest Stillwater trout fishing lake, Rutland Water.
Based at his lakeside lodge at Barnsdale on the North shore of Rutland Water just minutes from Exton.
Half day and full day beginners courses throughout the year with bank or boat fishing.
All inclusive fly fishing activities for Individuals, couples, friends, groups and corporate fly fishing team days.
Also fly fishing trips out on the lake in a boat, perfect for parent and child (minimum age 8 years) plus expert guiding services for more experienced fly fishers.
Here’s Rob on the left with a happy guest who’s just caught a whopper!
Visit www.rutlandwaterflyfishing.co.uk/ for details or contact Rob on 01572 722422 – 07711 182853 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stately Homes and Interesting Buildings
See Rutland Water's most famous landmark, St. Matthew's Church in Normanton is located on the eastern shore of Rutland Water. It is an interesting Grade II listed building that was built in a classical style and dates back to the 19th century. It is now used as a venue for weddings and small concerts.
Mostly built in the 16th century this grand property has a great range of rooms for visitors to explore. There are tours available too and the grounds and gardens are spectacular, with different areas to wander through and a lovely deer park.
Very nearby in the town of Oakham, this 12th century building is considered one of the best examples of domestic Norman architecture in England.
A beautiful Tudor and Regency mansion whose large park is wonderful to walk round, featuring beautiful gardens and a lake.
Lyddington Bede House
English Heritage-owned Lyddington Bede is a Grade I listed building. In the 17th century it was converted into an almshouse for bedesmen.
Enjoy a guided tour around this fortified building which has been largely unchanged since the 16th century. Inside there is a great collection of period furniture and ornaments, as well as paintings and tapestries. The parkland provides an extensive place to walk and the gardens are very pretty.
With mainly Norman architecture following a 12th century rebuild, this cathedral was first founded in the Anglo Saxon period and features an imposing Gothic façade.
An interesting little 15th century building in Easton-on-the-Hill that is cared for by the National Trust. It now holds a small museum exploring Easton's industrial past.
Another National Trust owned property, Woolsthorpe Manor was the birth place of Sir Isaac Newton and is a good one for youngsters, with hands-on science activities to take part in.
Food and Drink
Rutland is proud of its vast choice of places to eat and drink. Locally sourced, seasonal produce is a key factor in many of the establishments and you will be spoilt for choice for a pub that offers a quality menu that changes daily. There are many restaurants that have earned themselves AA rosettes and the Hambleton Hall, located on the peninsula stretching into Rutland Water, has a Michelin starred restaurant. Here is a list of all the foody places available to you. So you can take your pick and treat yourselves during your stay.
The Hambleton Bakery, which won Britain’s Best bakery award in 2012, lies 800 yards to the north of the Exton Estate - well worth the trip for breakfast, or any other repast. A short walk in the other direction brings you to the Fox & Hounds in nearby Exton village - a beautiful 16th-Century coaching inn serving delicious food. There are many eateries and public houses in the area. The ones closest to you at Exton are:
The Fox & Hounds
The Fox & Hounds, has been Good Pub Guide recommended and is friendly and popular with real ales and a good choice of Italian influenced food.
19 The Green
Tel: 01572 812403
The Plough in Greetham is a friendly and welcoming pub that serves brilliant, locally sourced food and a great range of drinks.
Tel: 01572 813613
The White Horse
The White Horse in Epingham is another Good Pub Guide recommended establishment. This one has something for everyone from traditional pub classics to sophisticated fine dining.
Tel: 01780 460221
The Sun Inn
The Sun Inn is a pretty little 17th century pub that serves freshly prepared traditional dishes and a good range of ales and wines.
Tel: 01572 812321
Try out the local markets and buy yourself something to cook up back at the tent.
Weekly market every Wednesday and Saturday. Farmers' Market 3rd Saturday of every month.
Weekly market every Friday. Farmers' Market 1st Saturday of every month.
Weekly market every Friday and Saturday. Farmers' Market every
Weekly market every Tuesday and Friday.
Rutland Water Golf Course
Located on the southern shore and with stunning views out across the reservoir, here you have the choice of an 18-hole championship course, or a smaller 9-hole par three course. Warm up on the driving range before the game and then unwind afterwards in a choice of the restaurant, cafe or bar.
Rutland Water Golf Course
Tel: 01572 737525
Rutland County Golf Course
A friendly golf club with an 18-hole course that has some challengingly narrow fairways to manoeuvre through. There is a driving range to make use of as well as a restaurant and bar to enjoy in the clubhouse.
Rutland County Golf Club
Tel: 01780 460330
Greetham Valley Golf Centre
A three course golf club set in more than 250 acres of superb countryside that has been carefully sculpted from farmland. Two 18-hole championship courses and one 9-hole course each offer their own individual challenges for experts and novices alike.
Greetham Valley Hotel, Golf and Conference Centre
Tel: 01780 460444
North Luffenham Golf Club
Good for experienced players and beginners alike, this course is made up of 9 fairways, 12 greens and 18 tees, so you can chose what level of challenge you are up for. This course is over 30 years old and bordered by many established native trees.
North Luffenham Golf Club
Tel: 01780 721960
Luffenham Heath Golf Club
A charming course that can be played as a 9-hole or 18-hole depending on choice. It is set in gently rolling countryside and surrounded by woodlands, with sloping greens and carpets of gorse providing quite a challenge. In 2004 it was renovated and modernised and the friendly clubhouse serves a great choice of food and drink.
The Luffenham Heath Golf Club
Tel: 01780 720205
Pubs and Restaurants