Home / Dog-Friendly Rutland / Rutland Water as a Leisure Park


There is such a lot to do on, in and around Rutland Water. It’s the county’s outdoor playground not just for locals but for sailors, anglers, cyclists and lovers of the great outdoors from all over the East Midlands. And if you’re on a weekend break or longer holiday in the county, Rutland Water has to be top of your list.

Officially, Rutland Water covers an area of 10.86 square kilometres (4.19 square miles for those of us with long memories), but it’s certainly not just a big puddle in a small county.

Rutland Water is a complicated shape, curving from just outside Oakham in the top (west) corner out and around the north side of the Hambleton peninsula to the Water’s eastern edge which is dammed (near the village of Empingham). From here, the Water curves around the south side of the Hambleton peninsula and back towards the west, into Manton Bay and finally into the shallow, bird-friendly lagoon at Egleton.

Rutland Water’s size and shape means it can be effectively zoned so the different interests and activities are kept separate, which also means that Rutland Water offers something for everyone.

A tarmac path encircles Rutland Water, hugging the shore where it can and also allowing you to climb above the shoreline to enjoy more varied terrain and countryside views. The complete distance is a challenging 40kms (getting on for 25 miles) if you include the Hambleton peninsula loop, but it is possible to enjoy shorter, self-contained sections for a gentle stroll. It’s a good path, but at busy times comes under pressure from being multi-use, in other words cyclists, strolling families and dog walkers can all be using it at the same time, and consideration for others is sometimes needed.

Rutland Water is open 364 days a year (the exception: Christmas Day). It is managed by Anglian Water and there are four designated leisure locations: Sykes Lane is the home of Anglian Water’s main Visitor Centre and leisure park with lots of info and facilities. The other leisure parks are at Whitwell, Barnsdale and Normanton.

In theory, access to Rutland Water is free, but charges apply in the official car parks at each of the above locations. Charges: up to 15 minutes free; 1hr £1.50; 3hrs £3; all day £5 allowing you to go on to the other car parks at no further charge; an annual pass is £40 for locals and regular visitors. (Charges correct for 2015.)

For public transport, in summer the excellent Shorelink bus service circles Rutland Water on a regular basis, allowing you, for example, to walk along the shore a few miles and catch the bus back to your car. This is a seasonal service funded by Rutland County Council and 2016 operations have not been confirmed.

Villages around Rutland Water are also served by year-round bus services, such as the number 9 service which runs between Peterborough and Oakham and has stops in Empingham, Rutland Water’s North Shore and Whitwell. Service 12 links Stamford to Uppingham, with stops at Rutland Water’s South Shore and Edith Weston. For 2016 timetables, visit rutland.gov.uk

There is a host of leisure activities at Rutland Water, from a simple stroll (unplanned, free, independent) to angling (permit and boat both needed), birdwatching (two fantastic nature reserves) and watersports (either ‘bring your own boat’ or boat hire and even RYA standard instruction). And of course there is lots to do on dry land around Rutland Water, especially at the leisure parks: Rockblok climbing, the indoor attraction of Bugtopia, cycle hire and more.  In fact there’s so much to do, I ended up writing a Rutland Water A-Z on a separate page.

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