Normanton Church  Rutland Water  flickr JasonRogersRutland is the smallest county in England, hence its motto “Multum in Parvo,” or “much in little.” It contains only two towns, Oakham and Uppingham, and a large reservoir, Rutland Water, which attracts a good number of water sports lovers.  Rutland was part of Leicestershire from 1974 to 1997, but has since become an independent county, and remains one of the most idyllic rural counties to visit.




Oakham Castle  WikipediaOne of just two towns in Rutland and the county town, Oakham’s (pop. 9.980) primary attraction is its grand old Norman castle. Only the great hall still stands – dating from the late 12th century, it is one of the earliest examples of a castle hall in existence today. The town’s market is held in the market square every Wednesday and Saturday, where you can pick up fresh produce amidst some of the town’s landmark historical features, including the stocks and the town pump. Oakham is also home to the Rutland County Museum, which provides historical background to Rutland and incorporates a visitor information centre – admission is free. Oakham School, besides being one of the country’s premier independent schools, is worth a quick visit for the stunning architectural value of its ancient buildings.


Belvoir Castle  WikipediaCurrently the home of the 11th Duke and Duchess of Rutland and their family, Belvoir Castle [Grantham, Leicestershire; +44 1476 871002, Ad/Ch  £10.00/6.00, Concession: £9.00] has been the ancestral home of the family for a good thousand years! The castle dates back to the Norman era, and its eccentric English pronunciation of “beaver” has supposedly come about because the English were never able to get the French pronunciation right. The building standing today dates from the 19th century, having been rebuilt after damage caused during the English Civil War. The splendid state rooms are a huge contrast to the Old Kitchen and Bakery, where you can get a rare glimpse into the lives of the servants who supported the household. Costumed guides will answer any questions you might have, or you can join a free guided tour offered twice a day on weekdays.