A rainy day needn’t mean a dull day, no sir, not in Rutland! There’s loads that you can do and plenty to keep the children entertained, so check out our suggestions, grab your brolly and head on out to have some fun!
A great day out awaits at Rockingham Castle. Sitting high on a hill with views across the Welland Valley, this imposing golden stone building and outer walls would not look out of place in a child’s fairytale.
Built on the instructions of William the Conqueror, Rockingham Castle, it has been a family home for the last 450 years. The rooms range from the ‘below stairs’ with the butler’s pantry and magnificent old kitchen to the grand ‘up stairs’ rooms with paintings, furniture, clocks and dramatic chandeliers. Walkers House Restaurant, located in the courtyard, is the perfect spot for refreshments.
The owners have set out to ensure that Rockingham Castle and its grounds has plenty to appeal to families. For children the tale of Rockingham Castle’s hapless griffin, Wentworth the gallant guardian of the Castle, continues. He lost his armour last year and now he has lost his stash of gold coins and needs help to find them.
Rockingham Castle opens at 1pm on Tuesdays, Sundays and August Bank Holiday Monday, with last entry at 4.30pm. Pre-booking your visit is essential this year.
Rutland Zoo (formerly Bugtopia)
Children will love the opportunity to see a selection of mammals, birds and insects housed at Rutland Zoo at Sykes Lane beside Rutland Water.
Joanne and Jez, who run the zoo, founded the Midlands Giant Species Snake Rescue, so visitors can expect to see a range of impressive snakes too. They say animal encounters will be introduced once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Rutland Zoo is open daily between 10am and 5pm. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to book your visit in advance, particularly if you plan to visit at the weekend.
Tucked away in a location close to the market place is Oakham’s unique castle. Expect a warm welcome as you step inside this large stone building renowned as Britain’s finest example of Norman architecture. It was built between 1180-90 and is one of the oldest surviving aisled stone halls in the country.
Inside Oakham Castle you’ll be able to see 240 presentation horseshoes proudly displayed on the walls around you. Each one looks slightly different and has its own special story. The oldest horseshoe in the collection dates back to Edward IV’s visit in 1470 after his victory at the Battle of Losecoat Field. More recently, horseshoes have been presented by members of the current royal family, including the Duchess of Cornwall in 2014.
Oakham Castle is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
10am to 4pm (closed on August Bank Holiday).
Admission is free!
Head to the museum on Catmos Street to discover all sorts of artifacts from Rutland’s past as well as an insight into what summer holidays of days gone by were like, and some fun children’s activities too.
The current exhibition, titled ‘Morning Campers! The Great British Holiday Camp’ celebrates the Holiday Camp, the unique British institution made famous by Billy Butlin which was especially popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
Unfortunately, Rutland County Museum will not be running summer workshops this year. However, there are craft bags packed suitable for 4 – 10-year-olds packed with materials to create items including masks, jigsaw puzzles, and headwear.
There will also be free themed hunts around the museum with stickers to be won! The themes will be changed regularly, so it’s worth planning a few visits.
The Visitor Information area at Rutland County Museum is well worth a look as it provides details on about local events and attractions, as well as transport timetables, cinemas and the arts in Rutland and surrounding area.
Rutland County Museum is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Admission is free!
Set in majestic parkland on the edge of Stamford, Burghley House is an Elizabethan stately home that welcomes visitors to tour its magnificent state rooms.
Burghley was built for William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587, and is one of the largest and grandest surviving houses of the 16th century. It
is open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, while the grounds and gardens are open daily. Pre-booking your time slot to view the House is essential.
Top tip: if it looks as though the sun is forecast to make a reappearance, book your children in for the drop-in Summer Craft Workshops* which begin on Monday August 2nd. They’ll run from Monday to Friday until Friday August 13th, from 12pm to 4pm each day.
*Pre-booking isn’t required, however visitors must collect a free timed ticket from the Garden Kiosks if they wish to attend the workshops. Numbers for this year’s Summer Craft Workshops will be limited. Admission is free with a House & Gardens or Gardens Only admission ticket.