There are a range of enjoyable circular walks though some of the county’s prettiest villages, most which start and finish at a great village pub.
The winding country lanes found throughout Leicestershire wrap themselves around quiet, unspoilt villages and there is invariably a cosy pub or quaint tea shop in which to stop off en-route for refreshments.
The county is home to the Quorn Hunt, one of the oldest hunts in Britain. The stunning landscapes and good off road access means riding is very popular. Riverside Ring Centre, Brooksby and Somerby Equestrian Centre are all close by and offer tuition as well as fantastic hacking through some of the most beautiful countryside.
In addition to the two lakes on the park offering carp and “silver-fish angling” there is Rutland Water renowned for trout, pike and zander, salmon fishing at Greetham lake and the nearby Eyebrook reservoir has a well-equipped fishing lodge with friendly experienced staff.
Melton Mowbray, Beedles Lake, Park Hill to name but a few local courses plus Stapleford Park championship golf course is not only challenging but is also amongst the finest luxury golf courses in the Midlands and has hosted the PGA Seniors Tour and the ISPS Handa Senior Masters.
Melton Mowbray is a quintessentially English market town built on a strong tradition of farming. Renowned for its fine food and drink offer, the Borough has become the centre of excellence for local food producers. Famous for its pork pies and Stilton Cheese, the town of Melton Mowbray is home to a fantastic number of food and drink festivals that take place through the year. These include the Melton Mowbray Food Festival, the Great British Pie Awards, the UK’s first PieFest and the largest Artisan Cheese Fair in the country. It is no wonder that Melton Mowbray is known as the ‘Rural Capital of Food’. The town itself is steeped in history and there is a walking heritage trail that explains the heritage of the town. Traditional Livestock – Fur & Feather Market is held every Tuesday alongside a local Farmers market and Antique Fair.
Twinlakes Park offers a great day out for the family with water rides, animals and picnic areas to enjoy. The local Carnegie Museum is an interactive centre plus you can learn to “raise” your own Pork Pie or visit the Long Clawson Dairies to see how Stilton is produced.
Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland, and dominates the Vale. The castle is open to the public and a range of events take place throughout the year. The castle is a popular tourist attraction and remains as one of the most magnificent and beautiful Regency houses in England.
Ragdale Hall, located just 5 miles from Frisby Lakes Lodge Park in the rolling Leicestershire countryside, combines state-of-the-art facilities with the charm of traditional Victorian architecture to create one of the most luxurious and relaxing health spas in the country. Whether you are looking for total relaxation, me-time and pampering or to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, Ragdale Hall is the perfect choice, having won a steady stream of awards over the last ten years, many of which have been voted for by previous guests and readers of leading publications. The luxurious Thermal Spa is the most contemporary and pampering experience in the UK featuring 12 luxurious and unique heat and water experiences.
Oakham & Stamford
A pretty, traditional English market town, bustling with activity and current holder of a coveted Britain in Bloom award. Packed with heritage, there’s plenty to including the Rutland County Museum, displaying the fascinating history of the town together with unusual exhibits including a set of gallows! Oakham Castle, by the Market Place, provides the clues to why there is an intriguing collection of over 200 horseshoes hanging from the walls. The architecture of Oakham School is stunning, and a major landmark in the town. Founded in 1584 it is a highly regarded public school which has seen its fair share of famous pupils. Wander through the Market Place on a Wednesday or Saturday to find a market selling the best local produce, meats, cheeses, bread and eggs. Look out for the unusual stocks and the town pump beneath the Butter Cross.
Burghley House, one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age. Built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587. The gardens and beautiful walks around the historic parkland laid out by Capability Brown are still occupied by a herd of fallow deer. The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is the premier equestrian and social event in the international sporting calendar and a focus for the best horses and riders in the world. The parkland of Burghley provides a perfect setting for the 4-Day Event.
The Easton Walled Gardens set in the rolling countryside of the Lincolnshire/Rutland borders, between Stamford and Grantham. Owned and managed by the Cholmeley family since 1561, Easton is a contemporary estate run on traditional lines, incorporating arable and livestock farming; ancient woodlands. Over the past 15 years they have developed a fabulous garden: a turf maze, yew tunnel, shrubberies, meadows including an unusual rose garden, cut flower and vegetable gardens, a cottage garden, long borders, orchards and the White Space Garden.
A thriving market town in the heart of Charnwood’s rugged countryside. It offers a great choice for shopping, diverse eating out experiences, family attractions, exciting events and plenty of places to explore.
The Great Central Railway is Britain’s only double track main line steam railway. Train rides are available every weekend and Bank Holiday throughout the year and daily in May through to September.
John Taylor Bellfoundry Museum – “Home of the World’s Finest Bells” – Centuries of experience, together with up to the minute advances in technology, has put Taylors at the forefront in the design and manufacture of bells.
Bradgate Park – a 340-hectare ancient deer park which was the home of Lady Jane Grey, 9-day Queen of England (1553).
Whether Robin Hood, the hero woodsman existed is hotly debated, but the Nottinghamshire plays up its connections to the outlaw. Storytelling seems to be in counties blood – local wordsmiths include provocative writer DH Lawrence, of Lady Chatterley’s Lover fame, and hedonistic poet Lord Byron. The city of Nottingham is the bustling hub, but venture into the surrounding countryside and you’ll discover historic towns and stately homes surrounding the green bower of Sherwood Forest.
Trip to Jerusalem
Carved into the cliff below the castle, this atmospheric alehouse claims to be England’s oldest pub. Founded in 1189, it supposedly slaked the thirst of departing crusaders, and its rooms and cobbled courtyards are still the most ambient place in Nottingham for a pint.
Nottingham’s castle crowns a sandstone outcrop worm-holed with caves and tunnels. Founded by William the Conqueror, the original castle was held by a succession of English kings before falling in the English Civil War. Its 17th-century manor-house-like replacement contains a local-history museum and art gallery. Various cave tours include one through underground passageway Mortimer’s Hole, emerging alongside five 17th-century cottages comprising the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard. The much-photographed statue of Robin Hood stands in the former moat. In 1330 supporters of Edward III used Mortimer’s Hole to breach the castle security and capture Roger Mortimer, the Machiavellian earl of March, who briefly appointed himself ruler of England after deposing Edward II.
Over the centuries, the sandstone underneath Nottingham has been carved into a honeycomb of caverns and passageways. Audio tours (Monday to Friday) and performance tours (weekends and school holidays) lead you from the top level of the Broadmarsh shopping centre through a WWII air-raid shelter, a medieval underground tannery, several pub cellars and a mock-up of a Victorian slum dwelling. Book ahead.
In the 19th century Nottingham thrived on the lace industry and this luxurious, high fashion product led to it’s own sector of the city, the Lace Market. Although the industry declined following the Second World War, this area remains true to its heritage as a busy and popular centre of style with some of the city’s best bars and restaurants hidden along cobbled streets. Visit the Lace Centre near the castle to find out more and in the Lace Market itself, there’s St Mary’s Church featured in ballads of Robin Hood, and the Galleries of Justice Museum which gives a tour of crime and punishment through the ages.
The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert HallNottingham are two of the UK’s most successful touring venues, leading the way for arts and entertainment in the East Midlands. Located in the centre of the bustling city of Nottingham, the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham plays host to an impressive range of live shows, sporting events, conferences and other major events from product launches to gala dinners. The National Ice Centre where Nottingham legends Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean once trained. Skating lessons at the National Ice Centre are available to people of all ages and abilities.
A vibrant city with fantastic festivals, award-winning visitor attractions, its food is just as diverse and exciting. Your taste buds will take a trip around the world with the abundance of restaurants that Leicester has to offer – English, Thai, Indian, Greek, French and lots more choices. Leicester also has an eclectic mix of bars, clubs and great music venues.
There’s a choice of theatres and live entertainment to visit with orchestras, musicals, plays and lots more to satisfy your cultural appetite. Leicester has plenty of shops and boutiques for those dedicated followers of fashion. Visit Stoneygate for an exclusive shopping experience, Belgrave Road for Indian jewellery and clothing, The Lanes in Leicester city centre are great for window shopping and visit the Highcross for John Lewis and other major shops.
In the city, the King Richard III Visitor Centrestands on the site of the medieval friary of the Grey Friars where the king’s remains were buried over 500 years ago. The exhibition gives visitors a chance to learn more about the King’s life and death – and to understand the huge events that led to his hasty burial and eventual rediscovery. You can see the exact place where Richard’s remains were buried over 500 years ago, and this poignant place has been transformed into a glass-floored contemplative space. In the county, the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre is open to visitors to explore the stories of characters that would have been at the battle, and can enjoy special events taking place throughout the year. Every year a re-enactment of the battle takes place in August.
The award-winning National Space Centre is an out of this world experience, with six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, unique 3D Simulator experience and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower.
The Curve is a spectacular state-of-the-art theatre based in the heart of Leicester’s vibrant Cultural Quarter. Opened in 2008 by Her Majesty The Queen, our award-winning building, designed by acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly. Unlike any other theatre in the UK, we have no traditional backstage area. Audiences can enjoy the full theatre making process, peek behind the scenes and maybe even spot an actor or two dashing from the stage to their dressing room.
With a wealth of good quality independent shops, popular indoor market and lots of nice places to eat and drink. The Old Grammar School, a small timber building dating from 1614 has become a symbol of the town. Located in an area which was formerly a part of the Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting forest used by the medieval monarchs starting with William I; the forest’s original boundaries stretched from Market Harborough through to Stamford.
Foxton Locks, situated within a few miles of Market Harborough. Surrounded by Leicestershire’s beautiful countryside, this unique waterway landmark offers colourful narrowboats, the famous flight of 10 locks and the new Boiler House virtual experiences.Wistow Maze is a giant 8-acre maize maze with a fun quiz trail hidden amongst 3 miles of pathways, with high-level bridges and towers giving fabulous panoramic views. Situated opposite is the Wistow Rural Centre with a café, garden centre, model village, art gallery and numerous shops.
This internationally famous nature reserve is managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water and provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated as a European Special Protection Area and internationally recognised as a globally important wetland RAMSAR site.
The reserve occupies shore line and shallow water lagoons along 9 miles of the western end of Rutland Water and covers a total area of 1000 acres. It was created in the 1970s with the construction of the reservoir. There are over 30 bird watching hides and nature trails from two visitor centres with experts to help you with identification. A cruise aboard the Rutland Belle allows you to enjoy the sights of Rutland Water whilst listening to commentary highlighting points of interest.
Rockingham Castle itself. Built on the instructions of William the Conqueror to dominate the Welland Valley and subsequently a hunting lodge of Kings. Home of the Saunders Watson family who have lived in the Castle for 450 years. Surrounding the Castle are magnificent gardens and grounds providing a haven of peace and quiet.