Experience village life
The village of Ryhall and tiny hamlet of Belmesthorpe provide the perfect setting in which to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Although Ryhall is one of the largest villages in Rutland, it still retains its rural charm and tranquil nature. The village itself has plenty of amenities with a well stocked post office/village shop, butchers and two pubs.
The Wicked Witch (formerly The Millstone) is a relatively new addition and is a modern setting for great food and drink. Alternatively, try out the nearby Green Dragon for some hearty real ales and great home cooked food.
In Belmesthorpe itself, there is also one pub – The Blue Bell Inn.
One of the main attractions of Elderflower Cottage is that you can enjoy two fantastic circular walks nearby which are perfect for an evening stroll or some gentle exercise before or after lunch.
Both routes are approximately 4 miles long and start from the village hall. Route 1 takes you to the north of the village, with Route 2 heading in a more westerly direction. Please note both walks include a few stiles.
You can view/download a walks leaflet from the Discover Rutland website.
The nearby historic market town of Stamford is just a few miles from Elderflower Cottage and well worth a visit.
This fine stone town was the setting for the popular BBC drama Middlemarch and also the 2005 blockbuster Pride and Prejudice.
A popular visitor destination with lots to see and do, Stamford offers a great mix of independent shopping, great places to eat and drink, as well as an opportunity to explore local culture and heritage.
If you are looking for something to do during your evenings with us, then we’d highly recommend taking a look at the events programme at the Stamford Arts Centre. www.stamfordartscentre.com
To find out more about Stamford, visit the Tourist Information Centre on St Mary’s Street or contact them by phone (01780 755611) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Just a few miles outside Stamford is 16th century Burghley House (pictured right), widely regarded as the finest Elizabethan House in England. Home to the popular annual Burghley Horse Trials (2013 date is 5 – 8 September), the estate is also open to the public throughout the summer months.
Spend time wandering through the extensive grounds, or head indoors and explore the spectacular State Rooms. Complete your visit with a trip to the gift shop and tea room. Guided tours are available – find out more at www.burghley.co.uk
If you want to explore more Stately Homes, then you’ll be pleased to know that Elderflower Cottage is located right in the heart of Hidden England – a collection of five Historic Houses (including Burghley). All within an hour’s drive of the cottage, you are in the perfect location to spend half a day visiting Rockingham Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle, Belvoir Castle or Doddington Hall. Find out more at www.hiddenengland.org
Just a few miles from the cottage is Rutland Water, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the East Midlands.
There are lots of activities based around the reservoir including fishing, cycling, walking, sailing and climbing.
Rutland Water is one of the most important nature reserves in the country and is perhaps most well-known for its extensive array of bird-life that can be found around the Lyndon and Egelton reserves.
Each year, over 20,000 people flock to Rutland Water for the British Birdwatching Fair (2013 date is 16 -18 August) – and that number is only set to increase as awareness of the area, in particular the Osprey project, continues to grow.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy Rutland Water is to take a cruise on the Rutland Belle. Cruises operate between Easter and the end of October and take around 45 minutes. The trip departs from Whitwell and offers fantastic views of Normanton Church (pictured above) as well as the opportunity to learn about the history of the reservoir.
For more information about Rutland Water: Nature (www.rutlandwater.org.uk), Recreation (www.anglianwater.co.uk), Osprey Project (www.ospreys.org.uk) or official tourism website (www.discover-rutland.co.uk).
Nearby Market Towns
In addition to the fabulous town of Stamford, the areas around Elderflower Cottage also boast charming market towns of their own.
Just 15 minutes away is Oakham – the county town of Rutland. Oakham (pictured right) offers great independent shopping,in particular the designer boutiques of Mill Street. The popular farmers’ market held on the 3rd Saturday of every month attracts farmers from around the local area to sell their fresh produce and is always popular.
Uppingham is also in Rutland but is considerably smaller than both Stamford and Oakham. However, it’s well worth a visit as it retains a unique olde-worlde charm and character that is sadly missing from many towns around the country today.
Virtually untouched in recent decades, Uppingham is a real step back in time and offers you the chance to spend some time relaxing in a traditional tea room, taking a wander along the old streets.
To the south, Oundle is another destination well worth a visit. Just like Oakham and Uppingham, Oundle is also based around an historic public school and the town centre offers a tranquil and leisurely environment to relax in.
Made famous by the BBC Gardeners’ World programme of the 1980′s and 1990′s, Barnsdale Gardens (pictured right) is just 10-15 minutes drive from the cottage and has 38 gardens across an 8 acre site for you to explore.
The gardens are open throughout the year, closing only for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so you can see the spectacular creations throughout the year.
Once you’ve finished exploring, visit the tea room or explore the nursery so you can start re-creating your own dream garden at home. For more information please visit www.barnsdalegardens.co.uk
Just a short distance from Elderflower Cottage, Yew Tree Avenue (at Clipsham) is a Forestry Commission managed site and a unique collection of 150 clipped yew trees, most over 200 years old.