Things to Do in the Area

Rutland water

Watch out for the £3 car park charge, even if you only stay 15 minutes. A car park ticket is valid all day in all the car parks though. Barnsdale is right on the water’s edge, so you can walk/cycle straight from your room.

Rutland Water Cycling (bike hire and sales at Whitwell. You can walk there from Barnsdale)
Rutland Sailing Club (Edith Weston)
Anglian Water Leisure – boat hire, wind-surfing and more
Nature Reserve information – see the Ospreys.

Rutland water car parks:

Whitwell: there is sailing & windsurfing here, a big bike shop for buying or hiring bikes, and a climbing wall, and you can catch the Rutland Belle (a pleasure boat) across to Normaton – where you could have a cream tea the Normaton Park Hotel overlooking the water before walking home again.

Sykes Lane, Empingham: From here you can walk across the dam, see the Butterfly farm, play in a good children’s playground, buy ice creams in a small cafe, and visit Tourist Information

More Local links:

The official Rutland Tourist Information site


For children up to maybe 12-ish Twin Lakes near Melton Mowbrayis a good day out. If it’s wet, they have a very large indoor soft play area, and a small ‘ice’ rink.

Let’s Play in Bourne is another soft play place – cheaper to get into if it’s too wet for the outdoor bits at Twin Lakes!

Burghley House has a ‘Garden of Surprises”. If it’s sunny, the children will get wet – take a towel!

Other attractions:

The Nene Valley Railway is about 40 minutes drive, as is the Great Central Railway. There’s a short length of track at the Rutland Railway Museum

The Buckminster Gliding Club is half an hour’s drive.

For grand country homes, there is Burghley house, and Belvoir Castle, a bit further away. Lyddington Bede house is close, between Uppingham and Corby, owned by English Heritage.

The Barnsdale Gardens are very close – walking distance in fact.

Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre is c. 20 minutes’ drive.


Rutland & Leicestershire have plenty of picturesque villages to explore. Most of them have at least one pub as well!

Burrough Hill country Park is an iron age hill fort, maybe 20 mins drive, with good views. It can be very windy!

Public footpaths. In the UK we’re lucky enough to be able to walk about the countryside off-road along a network of public footpaths. 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps show footpaths as dotted pink lines.  uses these at one magnification . You can buy your own paper OS map, centred on Barnsdale (or anywhere else) from Ordnance Survey – great if you live on the corner of 3 maps.

Foxton Locks – watch the narrow boats travel through the flight of locks here

Wakerley Woods – if trees are your thing, you can walk round the woods at Wakerly, just south of Rutland Water.
For th equestrian minded, Somerby stables are perhaps 20 minutes away.


Stamford Arts Centre is close, and has music, films and more.
Catmose Arts in Oakham has some things on.
The Regal in Melton Mowbray is the closest cinema.
UppTheArtshosts events in Uppingham
A series of classical concerts are held in Lyddington

There are also events in the museum in Oakham:Live@themuseum .

Further afield, Leicester is an easy train journey, and has several cinemas, including the Phoenix, an ‘arts’ cinema’, and the Curve Theatre. Peterborough is a similar distance.

Food & Drink:

Barnsdale Hall Hotel is very good, with discounts if you are staying in a lodge.  If you are circumnavigating Rutland Water, the Horse & Jockey in Manton is on the path, and well worth a visit. The Finch’s arms on the peninsula is good too.

A bit further afield, the Olive Branch in Clipsham has a Michelin star, but you will probably need to book a table before you get to Barnsdale.

Other places to consider include the Blue Ball in Braunston. Oakham has a couple of decent Indian restaurants, but go to Leicester if you want the best. If you need Thai food, I suggest you go to Melton.

Pubs with gardens.

There are strangely few pubs I’ve found with nice gardens where you can sit with a pint and a meal. Exton is a lovely village, with a pub with a homely garden too. You can also walk on footpaths from Exton too. The Plough in Braunston has a bit of a garden.  Let me know where else you’ve come across.


Popular pubs are the Grainstore (the brewery, next to the station) and the Wheatsheaf. Lord Nelson’s is excellent for beer and food, including, but not limited to, pizzas:

The Admiral Hornblower does a good carvery on Sundays.


Stamford is a beautiful unspoiled Georgina town, well worth a visit.