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Quiet, unassuming Rutland is England's smallest historic county, a place for walkers and ramblers who like their unspoilt rural vistas dotted with historic houses and castles, and an occasional pretty village with an interesting museum. And a tea shop. Or pub. Most of the best places to stay in Rutland look like they come straight off a postcard - either of a charming rural village, lovely landed pile or a country market town.
Rutland's two main towns are Oakham and Uppingham, two old market towns known for their history and heritage. These centres are only six miles apart, and both have regular farmer's markets, cute little independent shops, some quite nice architecture to appreciate and several good pubs. Uppingham also has a number of art galleries.
Rutland's villages are smaller versions of the towns. And the quality of the local produce and popularity of these local markets is starting to make Rutland a bit of a foodie county.
Most of Rutland's rolling rural views are natural, but Rutland is also home to Europe's largest man made lake, Rutland Water, Anglian Water's drinking water reservoir. As well as its practical uses, Rutland Water has become home to a vast array of wildlife, from fish to waterfowl to migrating birds. Rutland's Egleton Nature Reserve, on Rutland Water, is host to the annual British Birdwatching Fair.
The best places to stay in Rutland get very busy during the summer months. So if you're planning to visit the area during the peak periods, get organised and book ahead!
- The Olive Branch is a Michelin starred gourmet pub/ restaurant with just six shabby chic rooms, but a charming rural atmosphere, surrounded by a pretty small village.
- Hambleton Hall is a luxurious country house hotel slap bang in the middle of the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, surrounded by 17 acres of its own beautiful grounds and with lovely lake views. This is a great place for an outdoors-y break, but they also have a Michelin starred restaurant, so it's a good place to treat yourself as well.
Best Hotels in Rutland
The Olive Branch 6 rooms from $150Rutland
Michelin starred gourmet pub/restaurant of just six smartly refurbished rooms with a charming atmosphere in the middle of a small village in Rutland.Cooking classes - kitchen masterclasses where you can work alongside the kitchen team and learn butchery and finish preparation skillsRestaurant - Michelin starRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Hambleton Hall 17 rooms from $254Rutland
Superbly run lakeside luxury country house hotel with no gimmicks but Michelin-star food, peace and comfort, along with plenty of outdoor activities on tap. Family friendly, an oasis of comfort.Garden - 17 acre groundsRestaurant - Michelin starRestrictions on children - No young children allowed in the restaurantSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Kiwi Collection, Relais & Chateaux, Michelin Travel