|From the recently discovered sea dragon fossil to culinary delights, the Global Birdfair to e-bike cycling tours, there are plenty of reasons to plan a break in the County of Good Taste this year. Rutland may be England’s smallest county geographically, but the region certainly contains plenty of reasons to visit within its borders.|
Also known as the County of Good Taste, Rutland boasts a wide variety of attractions that make it worth discovering this picturesque rural setting.From serene landscapes filled with a rich flora and fauna to a fascinating cultural offering, delicious culinary delights and ancient market towns, visitors of all ages will enjoy a visit to this charming part of the UK.
The team behind Discover Rutland has shared some of their top things to experience in the region in 2022.
Visit the home of the Rutland Sea DragonMaking national headlines at the beginning of the year, the UK’s largest and most complete fossil of an Ichthyosaur (sea dragon) was discovered at Rutland Water. Estimated to be 180 million years old, the 33ft (10m) skeleton has been declared “one of the greatest finds in British paleontological history”. While the sea dragon is yet to find a permanent home, Rutland Water offers a variety of attractions for lovers of the great outdoors, such as walking and cycling paths, water sports and fishing spots, woodland and nature reserves, the iconic Normanton Church, and much more.
Plan your visit at www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/rutland-water.
Discover fascinating archaeological finds such as the Roman Mosaic
Another historical find of great significance, an impressive Roman mosaic was discovered within the remains of a villa uncovered beneath local farmland at the end of 2021. Depicting battle scenes from the Trojan war featuring the Greek hero Achilles as he fights, kills and then ransoms the body of his Trojan opponent Hector, the 11m x 7m (36ft x 23ft) mural has been hailed as “one of the most remarkable and significant… ever found in Britain.” With less than three per cent of the villa excavated, its exact location is being kept a secret for now. However, visitors who want to learn more about the region’s rich history and archaeological finds will find plenty of fascinating information at the Rutland County Museum in Oakham which brings the story of the region to life through exhibitions of archaeology, rural and social life.For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/rutland-county-museum-visitor-centre.
Dine at The Olive Branch Pub With several accolades to its name including a mention in the Michelin Guide and two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence, The Olive Branch Pub in the picturesque village of Clipsham was named Pub of the Year in the 2021 Good Pub Guide. The award-winning pub and restaurant’s menu offers a high-end take on British classics as well as international gourmet creations. Made from locally sourced, seasonal and organic ingredients, many fruits and vegetables come freshly from the venue’s own gardens. Foodies who want to expand their own culinary knowledge should look out for special workshops including wine tastings, cookery demonstrations and kitchen masterclasses. To enjoy their feast to the fullest, diners also have the option to stay overnight at The Beech House across the road – with a full English breakfast in The Olive Branch Barn included.
Find out more at www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/the-olive-branch-pub.
Visit Barnsdale Gardens
Visitors with a ‘green thumb’ will love Barnsdale Gardens, a collection of 38 pocket-sized, themed garden ‘rooms’ originally created by Geoff Hamilton for the Gardeners’ World TV show. Garden lovers of all ages will enjoy the flowering grounds with magical hidden corners, ponds full of tadpoles and newts, and allotments with chickens and giant, organically grown vegetables. The onsite café is the perfect spot to stop for a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea out on the lawn, while the gift shop and nursery offer the chance to enjoy some retail therapy. Visitors should watch out for the free weekend activity days, including wildlife watching and family nature trails. There are also special interest days based around Easter and Halloween activities to name just a few.
Learn more about Barnsdale Gardens here www.discover-rutland.co.uk/barnsdale-gardens.
Sip on something local at the Grainstore BreweryBeer lovers will enjoy a tour of the artisanal Grainstore Brewery, a passion project founded in 1995 by friends Tony Davis and Mike Davies. Located next to the Oakham Railway Station, the converted Victorian grain store now houses a 15-barrel brewhouse plant with capacity to brew 60 barrels per week. It currently has five different beers on offer, which can be sampled over a hearty Ploughman’s lunch or dinner, and taken home in single bottles or in gift packs. Look out for special events like the Annual Rutland Cider and Sausage Festival from June 1st – 5th, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year!
Find out more at www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/grainstore-brewery.
Make a splash at Rutland Water Park
Not only does Rutland Water Park bring vital water resources to the surrounding regions, it also provides a fantastic day out for all the family. From action-packed days on the water to a spot of fishing, bird-watching, cycling or tranquil walks in beautiful surroundings, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities at Rutland Water Park.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/rutland-water-park.
Celebrate the humble hop at Rutland CAMRA Beer Festival
Hop connoisseurs could time their ‘daycation’ in Rutland to coincide with this exhibition of 40 beers, eight ciders, two perries and five English wines, paired with honest food and gentle entertainment. Known as the County of Good Taste, why not combine with a meal at one of the region’s many excellent restaurants? This year the event, which takes place at Rutland County Museum, is due to take place from 23 – 26 June.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/rutland-camra-beer-festival.
Celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee WeekendHonouring the Queen becoming the first monarch to reign for 70 years, there will be celebrations and buntings galore all across the county from June 2nd to 5th. The Rutland County Show will run as a special jubilee bonanza, Rutland County Museum will have a display on the Coronation Year of 1952, and many villages will be holding street parties. For all the latest information on the Jubilee celebrations in Rutland visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/all/whats-on/platinum-jubilee.Visit the Global Birdfair
Taking place over three days from July 16th – 17th, the first ever Global Birdfair is set to bring together a community of nature lovers and bird watchers from all over the world at Rutland Showground in Oakham. Via a series of events and lectures, visitors will learn more about the latest developments in nature conservation, science, nature tourism and more – all with the aim of preserving the planet on a global scale.
For more information and tickets visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/global-birdfair.
Learn how to have a sizzling BBQ at Hoggy’s Grill For sports and meat lovers, it doesn’t get much better than a cookery class with former England cricketer Matthew Hoggard OBE at his cookery school and grill shop, Hoggy’s Grill. Based within Rutland Water Garden Nursery, aspiring grill masters can choose from a variety of options such as creating the Ultimate Burger or a three-course gourmet grill feast workshop. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available upon request.
For further information head to www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/hoggys-grill-cookery-school.
Enjoy a Food E-break visitors keen to explore the local area on two wheels will discover tranquil waterside trails, pretty picnic spots, children’s play areas and plenty of pub stops and shops en route. Boasting the largest fleet of -bikes in the UK, an e-bike tour of Rutland from Rutland Cycling gives visitors the opportunity to cover more ground than on a traditional bicycle, with the added power boost making the pedalling much less strenuous for cyclists of varying fitness levels. A map created by Discover Rutland highlights culinary hotspots along the route. The area is also great for keen ornithologists, who might spot rare birds such as the elusive Osprey while out and about! For more information and to book a bike visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/rutland-cycling.
Join the Rutland Day Celebrations & Food Festival at Oakham CastleWhat better time to visit Rutland than on the county’s dedicated day? On September 18th, head to the beautiful Oakham Castle, a historic building recognised as one of the best examples of domestic Norman architecture in England. A variety of food, drink and craft stalls will be set up as part of the celebrations, inviting visitors to spend a leisurely late summer afternoon in the atmospheric setting.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/listing/rutland-day-celebration-food-festival.Wait, there’s more! To see the full calendar of events taking place across Rutland in 2022, visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/all/whats-on/all-events.