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Rutland Water In Rutland – A Complete Guide

Rutland Water, one of the largest human-made lakes in Europe, is home to a multitude of fun activities. Here’s all the info for visiting.

How To Get To Rutland Water

Rutland Water is located in the county of Rutland in the East Midlands.


Rutland Water is just a 30 minute drive from the city of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire and close to the towns of Stamford and Oakham.

Covering 4,200 acres of countryside, and with a 22 mile perimeter track, Rutland Water has four large car parks that operate a barrier ticket system.


Centrebus operate two buses which provide a service to Rutland Water.

The number 9 bus operates between Oakham and Peterborough Monday to Saturday (access to Sykes Lane, Whitwell and Barnsdale)

The number 12 bus operates between Stamford and Uppingham Monday to Saturday (access to Edith Weston and Normanton)

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Rutland Water Entrance Fee

It’s free to visit Rutland Water, although you have to pay for parking.

Parking charges:

15mins: Free

1 hour: £1.90

3 hours: £4.00

5 hours: £8.00

Over 5 hours: £10.00

Rutland Water Car Park
Arriving at Rutland Water.
Rutland Water
Ready to explore from the campervan.

Rutland Water Opening Times

Monday – Sunday with activities opening at various times.

If there is something specific you are interested in it’s best to check the Anglian Water Parks website.

Car park closing times vary and are advertised at car park entrances.

Most attractions and activities are available every day from Good Friday until 31st October after which reduced hours are advertised. 

Rutland Water Car Park
A rare empty car park at Rutland Water.
Bike Ride At Rutland Water
The cycles are out and ready.

Best Time To Visit Rutland Water

Although not as popular as other destinations in the East Midlands such as the famous Peak District, this is still a very popular destination, with people travelling from far and wide to spend time at Rutland Water.

The school holidays and weekends are especially busy. So ,if you prefer it a bit quieter, avoid these times.

However, Rutland Water stretches over a large area and you are you are bound to find a quiet spot somewhere at whatever time of the year you visit.

Some of the activities are seasonal and would definitely be more enjoyable in the warmer weather anyway.

If you are walking any of the trails, don’t forget that cyclist may also be using them – you may need to step to the side.

Dogs are welcome on leads, except in the nature reserve and on the beach.

A lovely place for a picnic. Don’t forget your binoculars if you are keen on wildlife as there is plenty to see!

Speaking of binoculars, if you’re looking for something unique to do in the area check out RAF Coninsby plane spotting.

What To Pack

Photography Camera


Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle


Lightweight Rain Jacket

Quick Dry Towel


Lifeproof Phone Case

Dry Bag

Bike Ride At Rutland Water
Lauren about to hit the Rutland water trail.
Rutland Water
A couple of lonely benches on a gloomy day at Rutland.

Rutland Water History

Rutland Water was planned in the 1960s to meet the needs of the expanding East Midlands area of England.

Subsequently, construction of this large reservoir was completed in 1975 and was originally called Empingham Reservoir.

The reservoir was created by flooding a large area of the Gwash valley included two villages – Nether Hambleton and most of Middle Hambleton. 

Nether Hambleton, once a busy settlement during the Medieval period, was completely covered apart from the stunning Normanton Church.

Nowadays, Anglian Water, the owners of the reservoir, keep Normanton Church as a museum dedicated to the history of Rutland Water and the surrounding area.

Upper Hambleton and the remnant of Middle Hambleton, now known simply as Hambleton, are to be found on a peninsula, almost completely surrounded by Rutland Water.

Most of the stored water in the reservoir is extracted from the River Welland and the River Nene, upstream from the city of Peterborough, a major user of the water. 

Rutland Water Map
A map of Rutland Water.
Rutland Belle Rutland Water
Arriving at the Rutland Belle stop.
Rutland Belle Rutland Water
Rutland Belle pulling up to the pier.

What To Expect At Rutland Water

Covering 4,200 acres of beautiful open countryside, Rutland Water offers everything from walking and cycling to fishing, as well as various water sports.

In addition, it’s also one of the best places in the UK to enjoy birds and wildlife all year round, with two nature reserves. Where you will find over 30 bird watching hides and nature trails from two visitor centres.

The Rutland Water Nature Reserve is internationally famous and regularly has over 25,000 visiting waterfowl as well as being home to the Rutland Osprey Project. 

With spring migrants, ospreys in the summer, autumn waders and flocks of winter wildfowl, this is bird enthusiast heaven, all year round.

The circuit of the reservoir is 22 miles (15 miles without the peninsula), so you can complete the whole route if you’re feeling energetic, or go as far as you fancy and head back.

In fact, whether you fancy something relaxing and chilled or something a bit more active and adventurous, Rutland Water has it all!

With four different car parks to choose to start your day from, here’s what’s on offer at each:

Whitwell Car Park (LE15 8BL)

Located on the north shore, this is a great place to start if you are looking for a day full of activities as well as a bite to eat.


Sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding.

Aqua Park Rutland

Climbing walls, tornado towers, blast bags, trampolines and lots more inflatable fun.

Rutland Cycling

Bikes to hire, including hybrid and mountain bikes, the latest electric bikes, tandems and kids bikes, tag-a-longs as well as buggies and child seats.

The Rutland Belle

Explore Rutland Water on a 45 minute Rutland Belle pleasure cruise.

Outdoor Gym

The opportunity to enjoy some exercise in the fresh air.

The Harbour Bar Cafe

A two floor eatery overlooking Rutland Water, serving snacks, lunches and more.

Four Foxes Cafe

Kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks

Sykes Lane Car Park (LE15 8QL)

Also located on the north shore, this is the ideal place to start for families especially with younger children.

Mini Golf

A 12 hole mini golf course offering fun for all the family.

Rutland Zoo

A small interactive zoo, featuring over 75 species of invertebrates & reptiles and also a souvenir shop.

Rutland Water Beach

A seasonal, human-made, sandy shoreline for paddling, swimming as well as all the usual beach activities.

Children’s Adventure Play Area

All the normal slides and climbing frames that children love.

Four Foxes Cafe

Kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks.

Normanton Car Park (LE15 8HD)

Located on the south shore, this is the perfect place to stop for a picnic and relax. However, you can also hire a bike or try some fishing.

Lyndon visitor Centre

Offering wildlife displays and live footage from the reserve. 

Rutland Cycling

Offering the same as the Whitwell Car Park Store: bikes to hire, including hybrid and mountain bikes, the latest electric bikes, tandems and kids bikes, tag-a-longs as well as buggies and child seats.

Rutland Fishing Lodge

The starting point for a day of fishing, with boats, permits, tackle, bait along with tuition all available.

Normanton Church

Although not open to the public, other than for weddings and certain events, you can walk around the outside of this historic church and admire the beautiful architecture.

The Rutland Belle

Enjoy a 45 minute cruise around Rutland Water on the majestic Rutland Belle.

Barnsdale Car Park (LE15 8AB)

Located on the north shore and with fewer activities on offer here, this is a quieter area with amazing views.

Children’s Play Area

The children can have some fun while you relax and enjoy the views.

Rutland Belle Rutland Water
The Rutland Belle transport people around the reservoir.
Rutland Water
Plenty of stopping points like this along the way.
Bike Ride At Rutland Water
An empty pathway from the driving seat.
Bike Ride At Rutland Water
Taking it off trail and exploring Rutland.
Sheep At Rutland Water
Sheep and their lambs roam the grounds.
Rutland Water
Lauren taking in the scenery.
Cafe At Rutland Water
Quick pit stop at one of many cafes.
Normanton Church Rutland Water
The famous Normanton Church.
Normanton Church Rutland Water
Normanton Church is the most recognised building at Rutland Water.
Rutland Water
A glimpse of how vast the reservoir is.
Sheep At Rutland Water
Nosey neighbours at Rutland.

Where To Stay In Rutland


Rutland Hall Hotel

Located in landscaped gardens overlooking the beautiful Rutland Water, Rutland Hall Hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a bar, a restaurant, and leisure facilities available including a heated indoor pool.

The rooms offer spectacular views of Rutland Water.

The main hall has 9 individual bedrooms and rooms are located in 2 separate accommodation blocks, some of which enjoy views of the water, as well as a private balcony. There is Wi-Fi in the rooms.


Rutland Water Courtyard Rooms

Rutland Water Courtyard Rooms are located on Rutland Water Golf Course.

A restaurant, an on-site bar and free WiFi is available. Free private parking is available on site.

A flat-screen TV is available. There is also a business centre at the property.



Located in Oakham, Wings provides accommodation with amenities such as free WiFi and a flat-screen TV.

The property features garden and inner courtyard views. The property is also non-smoking and has an outdoor dining area.

Towels and bed linen come with the bed and breakfast.

A selection of fruits, juice and cheese are available for breakfast. Breakfast in the room is also available.

For more places to stay in Rutland, you can check the latest prices on

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Pin It For Later

Rutland Water


Thursday 7th of September 2023

after going through the terms and conditions - 20 mins !!! NO WHERE DOES IT MENTION IF THE CAR PARK TICKET IS TRANSFERABLE, OR NOT, FOR OTHER CAR PARKS around the water, AS SOME OF US LIKE TO MOVE ABOUT . + can you access them before 9am. ! some of us are early birds .