Picnic time is here again! Time to dig out the picnic basket and cool box and fill them with delicious goodies ready for some al fresco fun in the sun. The great thing about Rutland is that you don’t have to travel too far to find a perfect picnic spot with an attractive view and plenty of space to spread out.
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding an idyllic picnic spot around Rutland Water. Drive along to one of the main car parks then head off with your bags, rugs, books and outdoor games for a great day in the Rutland sunshine. Opt for a spot on the grass to spread out your picnic blankets, or pick a bench overlooking our spectacular lake.
If you’ve got active little ones, Rutland Water’s Sykes Lane has lots of options to entertain children so they’ll burn off energy ready to devour all those sandwiches you’ve made. Pack swimming costumes because they’re sure to be drawn to the inland beach to play in the sand and enjoy a paddle. There’s also a children’s play area and a fun mini golf course that all the family can enjoy. Plus, you could take them to meet the fascinating invertebrates and small mammals at Rutland Zoo which is also located on this site.
Even the family dog can have his day here as there’s a secure dog park where you can walk and let him off the lead to run about and do his thing!
Rutland Water’s Whitwell has an attractive shoreline for setting up your picnic base. Why not plan an active day and hire some bikes from Rutland Cycling (booking ahead advised), and set off to find a spot for lunch elsewhere on the off-road track. The Watersports centre can also be found here with options for hiring canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. If this all sounds a bit too energetic for you, find a sunny spot and watch the thrills and spills on the Aqua Park!
Also on the north shore are Rutland Water’s Barnsdale car parks with a spacious expanse of grassy area that offer the opportunity to space yourself out and have a great time overlooking the water and Hambleton peninsula.
On the south shore, Rutland Water’s Normanton car park will give you access to a wide sloping grassy area with views out onto the lake where you can watch yachts and fishing boats bobbing by. If picnicking is not your thing, head to Waterside Café with its view of Normanton Church. Rutland Cycling have another base here if you fancy hiring bikes after lunch.
In each of Rutland Water’s car parks (apart from Barnsdale) you’ll find takeaway kiosks, ideal for hot drinks and ice creams. The car parks all have washroom facilities. There’s a charge of £3.70 for up to 3 hours parking, £6 for up to 5 hours. If you think you might like to move from one Rutland Water location to another, go for the All Day Explorer ticket which gives you all day access to Normanton, Whitwell and Sykes Lane Car Parks.
Now for some tips for your picnic food.
Buy freshly baked goodies at Hambleton Bakery where you’ll be able to pick up bread for sandwiches, as well as sweet and savoury scones, cakes, cheese straws, and sausage rolls. Yum! Hambleton Bakery’s Exton bakery and shop is open seven days a week. Why not be super organised and head to their website for click and collect.
Celebrate the summer and make it a posh picnic by placing your order for a Full Afternoon Tea as a takeaway from Oakham’s Wisteria Hotel. Expect finger sandwiches, home-made plain and fruit scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, a selection of home-made of cakes.
Wherever you choose to picnic, do please pack up all of your rubbish to take home with you to bin or recycle.