Nestled in the heart of England, Rutland may be the smallest county in the country, but it holds a certain charm that is rare to come by. Known primarily for its extraordinary man-made reservoir, Rutland Water, this idyllic county has much to offer in terms of countryside living combined with easy access to several vibrant urban locales.

In this guide, we will navigate through the rustic beauty of Rutland, detailing not only its history, landmarks and attractions, but also exploring practical information about its schooling options, transport links and recommended residential areas. From the ancient, fairytale-like castles and manor houses to the bustling market towns of Oakham and Uppingham, Rutland provides a mix of tranquillity and excitement that truly caters to all.

History of Rutland

Deeply steeped in history, Rutland has its roots going as far back as the Mesolithic era. However, it is most well known for its medieval history with a rich tapestry of grand castles, manor houses, and quaint market towns that have withstood the test of time. Its main town, Oakham, prides itself on a beautifully restored castle, with architectural elements dating back to the Norman period. Despite its relatively small size, Rutland kept its county status after a prolonged battle, making it a symbol of resilience and determination that is reflected in its sturdy stone buildings.


When it comes to landmarks, one cannot possibly overlook the magnificent Rutland Water, the largest man-made lake in Europe. Not only does it serve as a water reservoir, but also offers a multitude of recreational activities, from water sports to bird watching. Second on the list stands the imposing Oakham Castle, a fine example of late 12th-century architecture. Finally, there's the beautifully preserved Lyddington Bede House, a historical site preserving a part of Rutland's rich past.

Landmarks we love

  • Uppingham Shop Fronts: Located in the market town of Uppingham, these beautifully preserved Georgian shop fronts offer a glimpse into the history of Rutland's trade and commerce.
  • Rutland County Museum: Housed in a former riding school, the museum offers an insight into the county's rural history with a collection ranging from agriculture to social history.
  • All Saints Church, Oakham: This 14th century church is centrally located near Oakham Castle and features some stunning medieval carvings.
  • Burley-on-the-Hill House: This is a stunning preserved mansion dating back to the 18th century, surrounded by scenic parkland.
  • Whitwell Harbour, Rutland Water: Facing the serene waters of Rutland reservoir, the harbour is a popular starting point for water sports and boat rides.

Top 10 things to do in Rutland

  • Sailing at Rutland Sailing Club: Located on Rutland Water, the club offers incredible opportunities to learn and enjoy sailing amidst scenic surroundings.
  • Biking along the Rutland Cycle Path: This 23-mile circular route around the Rutland Water offers panoramic views and a fantastic cycling experience.
  • Visiting the Rockingham Motor Speedway: Witness thrilling motor racing events held at this famous venue located just outside of Rutland.
  • Exploring the Oakham Artisan Market: Held monthly, this market is a treat for those who appreciate local craftsmanship and quality produce.
  • Visiting the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre: A haven for bird lovers, this centre offers close encounters with a variety of birds of prey.
  • Enjoying a play at Uppingham Theatre: Offering a range of performances, this local theater is a great location for doing something different for the evening.
  • Taking a walk on the Rutland Water Nature Reserve: A peaceful pathway perfect for bird watching, this Reserve manages to pack in quite a bit of wildlife into a small area.
  • Dining at the acclaimed Olive Branch Pub: Known far and wide for its superb cuisine, the Olive Branch in Clipsham is Rutland's culinary landmark.
  • Travelling back in time at the Rutland County Museum: A must-visit for history buffs, the museum provides an intriguing look into Rutland's past.
  • Playing a round at Rutland Water Golf Course: Enjoy a game at one of the East Midlands' most comprehensive golf facilities with stunning views over Rutland Water.

Our recommended areas to live in Rutland

  • Oakham: As Rutland's county town, Oakham is full of character and life, from the charming marketplace to the stunning surrounding landscapes. With excellent schooling options for both primary and secondary students, and direct trains to London, it's a perfect base for families and commuters alike.
  • Uppingham: A vibrant market town replete with independent shops, pubs and eateries, Uppingham is host to well-regarded independent schools and is conveniently located for commuting to nearby cities.
  • Stamford: Known for its beautiful stone buildings and a wealth of amenities, Stamford was named as the top place to live by the Sunday Times in 2013 due to its strong community spirit, charming architecture and excellent schools.
  • Ketton: A popular village with an excellent primary school and a well-stocked shop that serves the local community, Ketton is conveniently located near the A1 road, offering excellent commute options.
  • Edith Weston: A beautiful village nestled away close to Rutland Water, Edith Weston offers peaceful, countryside living thanks to its stunning natural surroundings, all without being far away from larger towns.

Best schools in Rutland

Rutland is well-endowed with high-calibre educational institutions catering to all age groups. Within the county, there are excellent primary schools including English Martyrs Catholic Voluntary Academy and Brooke Hill Academy in Oakham, and Ketton Church of England Primary school in Ketton, all rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Additionally, Uppingham and Oakham both have renowned independent schools.

Secondary education options in Rutland are also impressive. Catmose College in Oakham, rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, is recognised for its provision of education to students aged 11-16. Additionally, Uppingham School, an independent co-educational boarding school, holds an excellent reputation both in terms of academics and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, Oakham School offers both day and boarding options, with an emphasis on a holistic approach to education. Rutland therefore provides wonderful opportunities for students of all ages, making it an exceptional place for families to consider setting up home.

Transport links in Rutland

Rutland's central location in England allows for excellent connectivity with the rest of the country. The county is served by two main railway stations, Oakham and Stamford, offering direct services to cities such as London, Leicester, and Birmingham. Furthermore, the A1 road that traverses through the county ensures easy road access to key locations in the UK.

The county also benefits from several bus services operating within its borders and extending to neighbouring areas. This includes Centrebus, which connects Rutland to cities such as Leicester and Peterborough. Additionally, the award-winning Rutland County Council's bus service 'Rutland Flyer' provides an efficient link between the market towns of Oakham and Uppingham.

For international travel, East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport are both within a reasonable driving distance, offering both domestic and international flights.

In conclusion, Rutland's blend of rural tranquillity and accessible urban life make it an attractive prospect for homeowners. With scenic environs steeped in history, impressive academic institutions, and excellent transport connections, Rutland rightfully holds its place as an interesting location to reside in. Whether you are drawn by the county's historic charm or its outdoor activities, you will find something that resonates with your lifestyle. Rutland is a charming county that still manages to stay under the radar, making it an ideal place for those seeking both tranquillity and accessibility.

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