Things to do in Rutland at Christmas – Rutland may be known as ‘England’s smallest county’, but this charming rural region has plenty of natural beauty, historic sights and activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Dubbed the ‘county of good taste’, visitors to the area will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to gourmet experiences, dining options and fabulous hospitality.
With a variety of magical festive events and special holiday-themed experiences on offer, there has never been a better time to explore Rutland than the 2021 Christmas season.
From rustic chic mini breaks to stocking up the larder for a festive feast and even an encounter with Santa himself, Discover Rutland has shared the most magical experiences not to miss this Christmas.
Rockingham Castle’s Victorian Christmas
Experience a Christmas like no other as you time-travel to the Victorian era at Rockingham Castle. With roaring fires, candle-lit trees and traditional Victorian costumes, visitors will join the Watson family on Christmas eve in 1849, with several characters regaling the audience of this immersive festive experience with tales of Victorian family life. Homemade and locally sourced Christmas lunch and dinner dishes will also be available at the Walker’s House Restaurant. The Victorian Christmas experience will take place over two long weekends, from November 25th until November 28th, and again from December 2nd until December 5th 2021.
For further information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/rockingham-castles-victorian-christmas
Spanhoe Lodge Christmas Light Switch On in Laxton
Start the festive season in style with a traditional Christmas Lights ceremony at Spanhoe Lodge on Laxton’s Main Street from 6pm on November 27th. Bed & Breakfast owners Reece and Neil are known locally for their fantastic festive decorations and this year, they have decked out both the inside and exterior of Spanhoe Lodge with thousands of lights. As well as the switching on of the Christmas lights at 7pm, a magical winter village scene and brand new area await visitors. There will also be carol singing, and hot and cold refreshments such as mince pies and hot chocolate. Santa himself is also expected to make an appearance. As in previous years, funds will be raised for Lakelands Hospice. By popular demand, Reece and Neil are also bringing back Festive Fridays on December 3rd, 10th and 17th with lights, festive food and (perhaps) some singing.
For further information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/spanhoe-lodge-christmas-light-switch-on
Enjoy a Christmas afternoon tea at Barnsdale Gardens
Originally created by Geoff Hamilton for BBC1 programme Gardener’s World, Barnsdale Gardens is Britain’s largest collection of individually designed gardens and a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. During the winter months, the onsite tea room offers a selection of themed afternoon teas, including a Winter Afternoon Tea and Christmas Afternoon Tea for both adults and children. The festive special includes a selection of sweet and savoury treats, such as pigs in blankets, gingerbread men as well as the classic sandwiches and scones. Free admission to the gardens is included in the price of each afternoon tea experience.
For further information and to book visit shop.barnsdalegardens.co.uk/collections/afternoon-tea
Create a Christmas feast with local produce
This Christmas, why not support Rutland’s many amazing local producers? Known as the ‘county of good taste’, you will find a delicious selection of food and drink to choose from. Stock up the bar with beers and ciders from The Grainstore Brewery, Multum Gin’s imaginative spirits that have been inspired by the area (such as ‘Earl Grey and Rutland Honey’) or Blue Aurora Wine made from 100% English blueberries. Pick up your Christmas roast from Northfield Farm and find tasty deli products, cheeses, charcuterie cuts and fresh fish at Otters Fine Food.
For more information on local artisans visit https://www.discover-rutland.co.uk/all/food-drink/local-produce
Christmas in Uppingham
Visit the picturesque market town of Uppingham on Thursday, December 2nd, for a late night shopping event with plenty of opportunities to pick up some beautiful gifts for your nearest and dearest. As is Uppingham tradition, the first Thursday of every December is a local community celebration of the Christmas period. From 5.30pm until 9pm, there will be singing, food and wine, festive cheer and, of course, shopping! Visitors can peruse the craft fair in the town hall, visit Santa’s Grotto, listen to the choir and browse food and craft stalls aplenty.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/christmas-in-uppingham
Oakham Late Night Shopping
On December 13th, the quaint and charismatic market town of Oakham is hosting a late night shopping event with a variety of stalls spread across Victoria Hall, Oakham Castle and the High Street offering local produce and beautiful gift ideas. There will also be funfair rides, a Helter Skelter, a Santa’s Grotto and even live reindeer. Local bands and schools will be performing on the live music stage, getting everyone into the festive spirit.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/oakham-late-night-shopping
Charity Santa Bike Ride at Rutland Water
An opportunity for the whole family to earn some more brownie points before Christmas, Rutland Cycling’s Charity Santa Bike Ride will be taking place on Sunday, December 19th, from 11am to raise funds for Mind Nottingham. Covering a distance of 8 miles in total, participants will set off from Giant Store Normanton and cycle to Rutland Cycling Whitwell. After a break with mulled wine and mince pies, it’s a steady pedal back to the starting point. Fancy dress is optional but encouraged, with prizes to be won for best costume and best-dressed bike. All ages and abilities are welcome, with an entry fee of £5 per group.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/santa-charity-ride-at-rutland-water
Enchanting festive events at Belvoir Castle
What could be more magical than visiting the historic Belvoir Castle in Grantham during the festive period? Styled by award-winning interior designer Charlotte Lloyd Webber, all of the stately rooms have been dressed up in Regency Style decorations. Outdoors, visitors can explore the Enlightened Belvoir light trail, an enchanting 1.3km walk with talking trees, interactive stepping stones, illuminated displays and thousands of lights. There will also be a majestic Regency Christmas tree and Kissing Bough, Santa’s Grotto and Elf Stop. The installations will be open to visitors from November 15th 2021 until January 2nd 2022.
For more information visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/christmas-at-belvoir
Stay in style in Rutland at Christmas
If you want to extend the fun, why not stay overnight at one of Rutland’s many charismatic and elegant hotels?
With over 250 years of history, the rustic chic Barnsdale Lodge near Exton offers a taste of country living at its best. It is also known for its excellent food offering, serving up culinary creations made from seasonal, local produce.
Meanwhile, the grand and super luxurious Hambleton Hall will make all your ‘lady and lord of the manor’ fantasies come true. With stunning views over Rutland Water, sumptuous living spaces, beautiful gardens and Michelin-starred cuisine, Hambleton Hall makes for a spectacular festive retreat.
Last, but not least, the recently renovated The Wisteria Hotel in Oakham provides country house charm and character combined with all the creature comforts your heart desires. With wooden beams and log fires, the atmosphere is cosy, relaxed and intimate.
For more information and further accommodation options visit www.discover-rutland.co.uk/all/places-to-stay
Also have a look at our post on Christmas events in the UK.