Some ideas for the ultimate Uppingham weekend experience…
As the nights draw in and thoughts turn to staying indoors and the long, dark winter stretches ahead, we’ve got a real treat in store for you. Pack a weekend bag and head for the medieval charms of Uppingham. This beautiful market town is listed as one of the top 20 most desirable places to visit in the UK (The Times) and its high street has been voted one of the top five in Britain. Uppingham offers a rare glimpse of traditional English rural life that is abundant in culture, heritage and history.
Make sure you visit www.uppinghamfirst.co.uk to get the full Uppingham experience and discover new events, local news and get the local weather forecast. If you head towards your weekend destination during the day, you’ll be in time to savour Uppingham’s weekly market. Uppingham came to life during the 6th century as an Anglo-Saxon farmstead and has held its Market Charter since 1281, although the market had been thriving long before this date. The Market Place is the focus of the town and reflects a long history as a place to trade as well as a place to catch up with everyday life. Full of local traders and crafts it runs every Friday from 8am until 4pm. Bakers, farmers and cheese makers vie for position with traditional fruit & veg stalls, fishmongers, charcuterie and florists. You can even treat yourself to a genuine panama hat, tweed flat or Bakerboy cap from Earland Brothers, hatters of distinction.
A range of charming B&Bs, historic hotels and traditional pubs offer you an excellent choice of where to stay for your weekend. You’ll be given a warm welcome, a cosy atmosphere and plenty of great ideas to fill your weekend with as much fun or relaxation as you’d wish for. For accommodation in the town itself see: The Falcon Hotel, The Lake Isle, The Garden Hotel, Uppingham Self Catering,
So after a relaxing first night in Uppingham, it’s time to start planning your weekend.
The streets and alleyways are bursting with a wonderful selection of speciality shops and traditional retailers, many of which are still family owned and run.
Art and antiques are very important to Uppingham and a fine selection are available for you to leisurely browse and perhaps uncover a treasure or two. Pop in to the Goldmark Gallery, Peter Barker Fine Art Uppingham Antiques Centre & Rutland Antiques for superior art and treasured items that would feel more than comfortable on the Antiques Roadshow.
Why not pick up something made by a local artisan in MADE Gallery
If you’re after fashion keep an eye out for Oliver’s of Uppingham & Oliver’s Men’s Room for stylish affordable clothes and accessories. Sarah Harding Interiors in Market Street is a wonderful place to visit for interior design inspiration. Pop in to The Falcon Hotel to see some of Sarah’s gorgeous fabrics and soft furnishings in situ.
The town has been home to the renowned boarding school, Uppingham School, since 1584 and you’ll be aware of children scurrying around town in their smart uniforms to get to lessons on a Saturday, during term time. Uppingham School was founded by Robert Johnson, the Archdeacon of Leicester, who also established nearby Oakham School.
Continue to relax and enjoy stunning Rutland countryside with a trip to Eyebrook Reservoir, only a short 15-minute drive away. This beautiful nature reserve is the perfect spot for a contemplative walk, with fly fishing available until the end of October. Eyebrook offers a wonderful opportunity for bird watching and you’ll have the chance to see large flocks of golden plovers and dunlins in the winter as well as buzzards and barn owls in the autumn. Did you know that it also has an illustrious history? Eyebrook was the test area used by Avro Lancasters from RAF Scampton as the final practice run for Guy Gibson’s ‘Dambusters’ 617 Squadron before ‘Operation Chastise’, the attack on the Ruhr Valley Dams on the night of the 16th and 17th May 1943.
A relaxing afternoon cuppa and a tempting treat is a perfect pick-me-up after a busy day. For a traditional afternoon tea, book at The Falcon Hotel, or take you pick from the range of an excellent cafés in and around Market Place and High Street for a cup of hot chocolate and homemade cake.
If you’re a budding thespian and lover of the arts, then our next suggestion for your 48 hours in Uppingham is a must!
Uppingham Theatre is a very popular and well-established 300-seat theatre, with modern drama studio, nestled in Stockerston Road, Uppingham. It has a fine reputation for producing sell-out shows and welcoming productions from London’s West End. High quality drama, hilarious comedy and entertaining public speakers can all be found in this season’s line-up which includes Tim Brooke-Taylor’s anecdotes from his long career in show business, Oscar Wilde’s raucous social comedy ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’, An Audience with General Sir Mike Jackson, as well as children’s shows The ‘Hunting of the Snark’, fresh from the West End and the legendary Michael Morpurgo’s ‘King Arthur’.
No doubt you’ll have worked up quite an appetite by the evening and you won’t be disappointed by the excellent choice of pubs and restaurants in and around Uppingham. Sample cocktails and live music at Don Paddy‘s, fine dining at the Lake Isle Hotel and Restaurant, posh nosh at The Falcon, and there’s traditional Cask Marque Awarded real ales at the quintessential English pub, The Vaults.
Follow the Uppingham Heritage Trail to discover the hidden history of this beautiful town. Or indulge in an Uppingham treasure trail to test your knowledge and learn more about the history of this glorious gem. There’s an excellent self-guided murder mystery themed Treasure Trail that will lead you around Uppingham. Solve the clues as you uncover the town’s secret past to eliminate the suspects and discover whodunit. As you walk round to Norton Street, see if you can spot a few fossils in this ancient stone wall.
Continuing onwards, discover the historic Lyddington Bede House. It’s now owned by English Heritage and is open to the public, but it was originally part of a former palace of the Bishops of Lincoln. After the Reformation it was converted and used, from 1600 until 1930, into an almshouse for 12 poor ‘bedesmen’. A particular point of interest is the Great Chamber with its beautifully carved ceiling cornice. The house, watchtower and gazebo are all Grade I listed buildings and the whole site is a scheduled ancient monument which sits sedately next to the church in the village of Lyddington.
You’ll never be hungry in Uppingham. With a wonderful heritage of farming and baking, there are delightful tea shops, restaurants and coffee houses waiting to tempt you with home-baked goodies and wholesome locally produced fare. Locals are very friendly and keenly embrace influences from around the world. The nooks and crannies of Uppingham’s ancient streets will surprise you with their abundance of local goods, crafts and expertise on offer.
A short drive from Uppingham is the magnificent Rockingham Castle. It’s been occupied by the same family through the generations for the past 450 years and offers magnificent gardens and interesting events. Find out what life in bygone ages was like for servants living ‘below stairs’ and wonder at the splendour of a Victorian Christmas for one weekend in November. Take advantage of the year-round adrenaline activities offered by Land Rover Experience East of England at Rockingham in the stunning surroundings of the Great Park.
As your stay draws to its conclusion, rest and revive flagging spirits at The Falcon Hotel, a stunning 16th century coaching inn, perfect for a delicious Sunday lunch or teatime treat in front of cosy wood burning open fires. Restoration work has involved many local craftsmen and women to retain the heritage and character of this lovely hotel. Remember to take a look at the wonderful vintage photographs in the entrance hall.
Reflect on the history of this charming ancient town that is only a two-hour drive away from London and nestles in some of England’s finest countryside. Uppingham is a true gem in Rutland’s crown and one, we’re sure, you’ll fall in love with.