‘We were always in a wet tent. This is doing things properly. If you don’t smell of mildew or have a permanent look of Stig of the Dump then you’re just not doing it right.’
Bestselling author, Celebrity Masterchef and Mastermind champion, Emma Kennedy recalls disastrous family camping holidays in her hilarious memoire, The Tent, The Bucket and Me. According to the Prologue, Emma was conceived a mere stone’s throw from Rutland – in a hastily pitched tent. Her honeymooning parents had spent an evening at The Sondes Arms in Rockingham and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thankfully, camping has come on leaps and bounds since then; the smell of damp canvas replaced by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and other delights.
If you like nothing more than camping the traditional way – loading up the car with all your worldly goods and vowing to go ‘back to basics’ – Rutland has miles of idyllic countryside waiting to offer you a warm welcome. Many of its campsites are situated a short drive from Rutland Water, giving keen wildlife and water sports enthusiasts the chance to make the most of long summer days.
Family run since May 2002, Rutland Caravan and Camping is situated in the heart of Rutland. The park is adjacent to the village of Greetham, through which the Viking Way runs, along with other footpath networks. A gravel path leads from the park to the village (about five minutes level walk) which is served by a regular bus to Oakham. Divided into two areas; one for families and one for adults only. Rutland Caravan and Camping has a heated indoor swimming pool, as well as a dog shower, indoor children’s games room, outdoor play area and wifi access, plus they have their own luxury lodges (keep reading for more info).
With just twelve well-spaced pitches and a friendly atmosphere, Greendale Farm Caravan and Camping Park near Whissendine is a great choice for those wanting a quiet and relaxing child-free getaway. A fully refurbished outdooe swimming pool is open to campers over the summer months – heated by air source heat-pump and powered by solar energy. The site’s on-site shop stocks local products and essentials with a visitor information area providing maps, guides, walks and cycle-routes.
For those who don’t want to cook, In the Stix offers a range of ‘Welcome one pot meals’ and breakfast hampers to tempt your taste buds. Large groups booking the whole site can enjoy a feast, when staff fire up their trusted extra-large wood oven and cook delicious stone-baked crispy pizzas with a choice of toppings. The campsite is completely free from vehicles, so children and animals can play in safety.
Comfortably sleeping 6 adults and a baby, Greetham Valley Golf Club’s lovely Rutland Lodges each have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Five of them are pet friendly, allowing up to two pets to accompany their well-behaved owners. Cyclists and walkers are also very welcome at Greetham Valley; wash down facilities are available on the Lodge site – ideal for washing off muddy bikes, clothes and walking boots – and pets!! Greetham Valley also has a bar and restaurant, fishing, par 3 golf course and lots more to explore, including well positioned bird hides.
If you need some relaxation in a secluded space of your own, head to Rutland Luxury Lodges next to the village of Greetham. Each luxurious self-catering holiday lodge has its own hot tub, outside barrel sauna and private garden. Finished to a very high standard, with a modern kitchen full of quality appliances and under floor heating throughout, once you’ve settled in, you won’t want to go home!
Offering a serene retreat, where you can really unwind, Stretton Lakes is surrounded by beautiful ancient woodland and 120 acres of open farmland. Relax in a luxury log cabin on the southerly edge of Stretton Wood, before enjoying a soak in your own private hot tub under the stars. Caravan Club members have exclusive access to the touring caravan park site from Easter to October, providing electric hook-up and water to each pitch.
Set within conservation parkland with a variety of onsite facilities, the timeshare lodges at Barnsdale Hall Hotel offer guests the chance to unwind and relax, surrounded by Rutland’s ever-changing natural beauty. Ultimate relaxation can be achieved at the on-site indoor pool, steam room, sauna, gym and fitness studio. If you’re feeling really adventurous you could try your hand at archery or go fishing!
Positioned adjacent to the grounds of Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, beautiful eco-build timber Rutland Retreat properties have been specifically developed as hassle-free ‘lock-up-and-leave’ holiday or second homes. All lodges have tri-light windows opening onto private patios, as well as WiFi, log burners and moss sedum roofs. Guests can enjoy complete privacy, but with the convenience and security of 24/7 concierge service.
Once you’ve tried the delights that our little county has to offer, we’re sure you’ll agree with Emma’s assertion that:
‘You haven’t lived if you haven’t been to Rutland.’
Emma Kennedy, Author of The Tent, The Bucket and Me