Being UK’s fourth-smallest county, Rutland is located at the heart of England, in the East Midlands. Rutland has only two towns – Oakham, which is the county town and Uppingham. Rutland also has the smallest population of all the unitary authorities in England. It came as no surprise when the county council adopted the Latin saying “Multum in Parvo” as the county motto. The saying means “Much in Little” and honestly reflects the essence of Rutland.
The Rutland as we know it today exists since 1997. Between 1974 and 1997, the county was merged with Leicestershire as its district. Despite its size, Rutland is home to the UK’s largest man-made lake, the Rutland Water. When it was made in the 1970s, at some point it was the largest artificial lake in entire Europe. The lake hosts rich wildlife, especially when it comes to birds – tufted duck, goldeneye, teal, cormorant, osprey, and many others. Rutland Water is stocked with many fish species as well, including bream, carp, wels catfish, pike, zander – you name it! The lake is, as you may expect, a paradise for both locals (better known as Raddlemen) and tourists who are searching for some peace and relaxation. Walking, cycling, watersports, and birdwatching are the most popular activities you can practice around here.
If you are going to Rutland, forget about getting a Happy Meal – this is the only county where you won’t find any McDonald’s restaurants. On the other hand, there is so much to experience in Rutland, with a particularly wide choice of family activities. There are several well-hidden architectural jewels you can see. There’s Burghley House – a fine example of Elizabethan building, Oakham Castle – England’s oldest court building being in continuous use since the 13th century, and Grimsthorpe Castle with its spectacular gardens. The Normanton Church, located on the coast, is also a popular sightseeing spot but also a romantic place for your wedding. There are also several guided walks options as well as breathtaking cycling routes. Kids are usually thrilled by the Rutland Farm Park in Oakham and the Aqua Park Rutland.
Going across the county, you will see many horseshoes scattered all over the buildings and gates, with over 200 horseshoes displayed in the Oakham Castle. The story dates back to the 15th century when the peers of the realm passing through Oakham had to give a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor. Also, you will notice that the horseshoes in Rutland always hang with their tips down – as here it’s considered that hanging them upside-down brings bad luck.
Rutland’s community events mostly revolve around nature and recreation. Depending on the time of your visit, you can end up at the Spring Fiesta, organic growing courses, wood carving courses, garden design workshop etc. On the other hand, you can also experience some quality nightlife, especially if you visit the Grainstore Brewery, one of England’s best pub breweries.