Being the smallest county in Britain, I had thought Rutland would be tricky to find and miles from anywhere, as it turned out, it’s little more than two hours from south-west London and bang in the middle of the country.

View across Rutland Water to Hambleton Hall

We set off, hood down, sun shining and heading for a May weekend away. Just a few miles from Oakham, Hambleton is hidden away on it’s own little peninsular jutting out into Rutland Water.
Victorian by design, Hambleton Hall was bought in 1979 by Tim and Stefa Hart and opened its doors to visitors in 1980. Overlooking Rutland Water, the hotel’s garden is magnificently designed and looked after by two full time gardeners and Tim himself.

 

The Garden at Hambleton Hall

The 17 bedrooms are all different in size, outlook and decoration (all designed by Stefa) and are all beautiful and blissfully comfortable. Rather than staying in a hotel, Hambleton Hall feels as though you might be staying in a very close friend’s house while they are away. Somewhere new but reassuringly relaxed, comfortable and familiar.

 

The Cherry Room at Hambleton Hall

The Croquet Pavilion, a two bedroomed ‘folly’ in the grounds looking out onto the garden with the water in the distance is ideal for a family occasion.
The outdoor swimming pool in the garden below the terrace is open from May onwards, and there is tennis, croquet and cycling all available on site. If you’re keen on golf, sailing, fishing, wind surfing, shooting or hunting, these can be easily arranged in season. The surrounding area is full of interesting discoveries including lovely houses and gardens, small towns and my favourite, the Hambleton Bakery and the village of Exton where we sat outside the Fox and Hounds pub and watched the world go by beyond the village green.
If you’re looking for a weekend away, this little area of England is ideal.

Contacts:
Hambleton Hall, Hotel and Restaurant, Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8TH
01572 756991; hotel@hambletonhall.com; www.hambletonhall.com

Prices:
From £250 to £630 for two people, bed and breakfast (inc VAT)
An extra bed for children is available upon request for £35 per night, or £25 for a cot.
Well behaved dogs are welcome at Hambleton by prior arrangement for a nightly charge of £10.

Don’t miss:
Market towns: (castles, museums, markets and farmers markets)
Oakham, Stamford, Uppingham, Melton Mowbray

Local churches:
Exton, Teigh, Grantham, Brooke, Tickencote, Bottesford

Gastro pubs:
The Berkeley Arms, Wymondham; The Marquess of Exeter, Lyddington; The Red Lion, Stathern; The Olive Branch, Clipsham

Country Houses
Burghley House, Belton House, Belvoir Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle, Rockingham Castle, Elton Hall, Althorp House, Doddington Hall, Deene Park, Boughton House, Cottesbrooke Hall

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