STORY BY Debbie 3rd January 2024

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.

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.

Visit the home of the Rutland Sea Dragon

Making 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 Brewery

Beer 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.

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.

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