The UK’s smallest, yet most beautiful county is one place which everyone must visit. The great selection of country walks, scenic views, pubs and restaurants are but just three small reasons to visit. Crime is virtually zero and the residents here are friendly and welcoming. Whether your local or just visiting here are some things to do with kids in Rutland.
However, due to the size of the county and the fact it has no cities but only towns and villages; you can imagine most would struggle to think or find what to do with children when here. You could first be fooled to think that this county doesn’t have much for kids but you’re going to find out its actually quite the opposite.
#1 – Rutland Water
There are many different activities based at rutland water of which kids can participate in. The area of Rutland water was once home to four villages in the 1960’s until proposals were made to flood the gwash valley to create the countries largest man made reservoir to provide clean drinking water for the East Midlands. Over the last 50 years this reservoir has become the heartbeat of Rutland with many of the surrounding villages now owning spots on the waterside with outdoor activities for all.
There are four main villages with spots on the waterside, car parking, cafe’s, parks and more. Below I’ve broken these down into sub-categories of where to stop and what there is to do there.
Whitwell is probably the most active spot on the water. There is a cycling shop here and you can rent bikes to complete the 25 mile or 17 mile route around the water. The bike hire centre has a variety of bikes including childrens tow-along buggies and toddler bikes. For those with lazy teenagers you can even rent tandems.
For a relaxing time on the water there is Rutland Belle. From April to October there are boat tours for all of the family. The boat ride takes you to most places around the water with a tour guide highlighting places of interest to passengers Tickets start at around £10 per adult and £7 per child. Family tickets are available for £30 (2 adults 2 children). The boat sails from the Harbour Cafe Bar where refreshments and small meals can be had. For more information on The Rutland Belle click here.
For everyone who enjoys active watersports Whitwell has Rutland Watersports Centre. Whether canoeing, sailing or windsurfing take your fancy you can hire equipment and purchase tuition courses too.
One of the freshest and most fun things to do on the water is the Floating Aquapark. The UK’s biggest inflatable water course comes to Rutland every summer between the months of May and September. This total wipeout themed aquapark is bound to keep children entertained for hours on end. Tickets are just £20 for a 50 minute experience, but make sure you book in advance as places are hard to get once you hit July and August.
If all of that still hasn’t tickled your fancy there is also an outdoor gym and Rockblock (Whitwells climbing wall).
The Empingham entrance is really good for small children. There is a large car park for when it gets really busy in the summer months and plenty of open space to let the little ones run and play. There has recently been a man-made beach constructed here and a stones throw from the water there is a fenced off toddler sand pit. Furthermore there is a park, cafe and mini-golf. If that’s not enough, try out Bugtopia. A centre which promotes interactivity between the children and animals and one which specialises in Invertebrates and Reptiles, Bugtopia is cheap to enter and will keep little ones entertained for a good couple of hours. Adult passes are £7.50 and children are £6.50.
The spot on the water in Normanton is best placed for fishing. The iconic Normanton Church is here but for young budding fishers you can hire small boats and take to the water trout fishing. There is also Waterside Cafe here for a bite to eat or drink before and after your fly-fishing experience. Bikes can be hired from here as well as Whitwell should you fancy a ride around the peninsula.
Located at the top of the hill as you drive between Oakham and Stamford, Barnsdale is the quieter of the four spots. Barnsdale lodge is here where local members regularly come to eat, swim, play tennis and relax. There are also log cabins available here for short breaks with great views. For children there is a park and mini-golf. There is also a refreshment kiosk but due to the quieter nature of this area it is closed during winter months.
#2 – The Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre
Rutland Water has its’ own nature reserve with over 50 types of species spotted. Bird watching fanatics often take to the Anglian Bird Watching centre in Egleton for open walking spotting. For those with children who may want more concentrated interaction though, try Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre. This 42 acre landscape has a variety of birds from Buzzards to Eagles. Children of all ages can attend and experience.
#3 – Rutland Farm Park
Based in Oakham, Rutland Farm Park is a small 18 acre working farm which is open all year round. Admission starts from £5 and under 3’s are free. There’s no better combination than the fresh outdoors and animal interaction for young ones. There is a small park on campus and a tea room / gift shop too.
#4 – Rocks by Rail
Rocks by Rail does what is says on the tin. Based in Cottesmore, this steam train ride takes you through miles of nature trails and old quarries. Rocks by rail offers more than just a train ride with a 1960’s style tea room, loco yard and diggers in the quarry. Drivers experiences on the diggers and the trains are available. Admission starts from £5 but access is seasonal (April to late October).
#5 – Mini Monsters Soft Play
For children mainly between the ages of 1 and 6, Mini Monsters soft play in Oakham is the perfect thing to do with toddlers on a rainy day or perhaps when its too hot to be outside.
Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 0930-1700 and Sundays 0930-1500. The play centre takes reservations for private or birthday parties as well as being open to the public. There is a small food counter for nibbles and small meals for adults and children to keep everyone energised. Prices start from £2.95 for under 2’s and £4.95 for 2-7 years. Adults are free.
Thank you for reading things to do with kids in Rutlant. I hope this has has provided you with some good information on how to keep the kids entertained when in Rutland.
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