Less is more for County of Good Taste

Rutland has so much to offer

By Bill McCarthy

They say, whoever they are, that good things come in small packages. They also say less is more. In England’s smallest county, it prefers to go a bit more upmarket with its Latin motto, Multum in Parvo, or ‘ much in little’ in English.

Small it may be, but it is favoured by the likes of TV presenter Julia Bradbury, known for her work on BBC’s Countryfile and who has travelled across the UK and many parts of the world, who believes the county offers something for everyone.

It is known as The County of Good Taste due to the plethora or fantastic local producers and providers and, for lovers of the great outdoors, Rutland Water, one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe which serves the area as a reservoir.

 Rutland Water also offers leisure pursuits including watersports, cycling, fishing and bird watching, while Rutland’s many attractive villages are home to picture postcard cottages, traditional country pubs and a host of different kinds of accommodation, from camping to swish hotels.

Whatever you put on your waistline, you can soon walk it off, cycle it off, run it off, as there is a lot of countryside to go through where social distancing is effortless.

Bordered as it is by the four counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, it does offer a unique spread of places to visit, including quaint market towns, including the county town of Oakham, plus excellent cuisine with an abundance of locally produced food and drink.

Whatever you put on your waistline, you can soon walk it off, cycle it off, run it off, as there is a lot of countryside to go through where social distancing is effortless.

If you enjoy the great outdoors, head for the spectacular inland lake, a dominant feature in the tiny county.

If you feel the need for something more relaxing or cultural, you can visit quaint country pubs where you can spend time sampling the famous Rutland Ale while the county also boats its own Rutland gin. Alternatively, try tasting specialist local delicacies include the award-winning Hambleton bakery a regional baker specialist in arstisan breads and pastries.

The Grainstore Brewery has a large variety of beers, ales and ciders, brewed right in the heart of Oakham, while Multum Gin Parvo produce a range of gin flavours inspired by Rutland, including ‘Strawberry & Rutland Lavender’ and ‘Earl Grey & Rutland Honey’. 

Outdoor sports are extremely well catered for with plenty of walking and cycling routes available, plus fishing, golfing and the huge choice of watersports that take place on Rutland Water.

There are two nature reserves around the reservoir, with many hides providing a great opportunity to spot a rare bird to two – or you can visit one of the many stunning gardens open to the public. Treat yourself to a trip to the beautiful Barnsdale Gardens – explore the gardens, take a gardening course and buy stunning plants to take home with you for a lovely reminder of happy memories in Rutland.

For those feeling like a hike, the 23-mile circuit is enough for anyone, but can be split up into a number smaller walks over a longer period of time. There are pay car parks at several points around the lake. Each one has a cafe and toilets and at least one had a children’s playground. Cycle and boat hire are available as an alternative Shanks’ Pony, but take binoculars to see some of the spectacular wildlife inhabitants.

If you prefer to stay indoors there are plenty of places for you to explore including theatres, art galleries and shopping in the two market towns that offer a huge variety of boutiques, farm shops and family run stores .

There is no end of accommodation across the county, catering for tourist from all parts of the world, but if your carbon footprint is important to you or the environment his high on your priorities, handily placed on the edge of Rutland Water itself in Whitwell Village is a novel state-of-the-art B&B accommodation.

The impressive Passivhuas in Whitwell has a modern luxury bathroom and stylish self contained double bedroom

A detached super insulated house designed to the carbon neutral Passivhaus Standard, it offers a self-contained, wheelchair friendly double bedroom with shower room and entrance separate from that of the main house. Parking is provided as is tea and tea and coffee. The hosts offer continental breakfast croissants, butter, jams and that hambleton’s bread, toaster plus fridge in the room downstairs.

The whole property, constructed in 2014, is a certified Passivhaus that it is super insulated and air tight with mechanical ventilation heat recovery.

While it may seem in the middle of nowhere, that is not the case, with Rutland Water literally over the road and with the county town of Oakham just over four miles away with short drive or take the public bus, which stops almost directly outside the property. The hosts are also happy to give an introduction to designing and constructing to the Passivhaus Standard.

For nature lovers, just across the road, the giant reservoir has other attractions. It is a 1,555 hectare area of lake and shore is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds and Nature Conservation Review site.

If the physical activities around the lake leave you needing to relax, a cruise aboard the Rutland Belle allows you to enjoy the sights of Rutland Water whilst having a relaxing drink and listening to commentary highlighting points of interest.
The Rutland Belle can carry up to 110 passengers, with 60 places in the under-cover saloons and is open from April to October. Drinks are available on board.

Alternatively, if you fancy a carefree day out with the kids where super-soaking immersive experience is promised, try Aqua Park Rutland – the UK’s biggest inflatable watersports challenge operating at Rutland Water.

So much, packed into so little, the tiny county deserves it Latin motto.

For information on the Passivhaus visit https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/37854877?source_impression_id=p3_1609228115_pM5A984SAI2FhRN9&guests=1&adults=1

For more information on where to go and what to see visit https://www.discover-rutland.co.uk

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