Rutland is the place to be for tourists

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Tourists have been pouring into England’s smallest county in their droves – giving many businesses a much needed boost.

The boom has been reflected across restaurants, pubs and attractions with one hotel celebrating the “best year” in 20 years.

Anglian Water, which owns and manages Rutland Water, said their visitor numbers were up 25 per cent on last year.

A spokesman said: “It’s been a remarkably better year than previous years.

“We think it’s largely down to the good weather.”

With the sunshine predicted to continue into most of September, the spokesman said they hoped the visitor boom would continue but knew from experience that “continuing to invest” in the attraction was the key.

Rutland Water received the Green Flag stamp of approval for two years. The accolade is the benchmark national standard given to parks and green spaces that are deemed to be well-maintained, well-managed and providing excellent facilities.

Ed Burrows, chairman of tourism body Discover Rutland, said early indications were that it had been a 
“very busy season” in the county with “a lot more day visitors” than in previous years.

Mr Burrows, who is also managing director of Barnsdale Lodge hotel, said: “It’s been a record year at Barnsdale Lodge. We’ve had the best year in our 20-year history.”

Room bookings at the 45-room hotel, in The Avenue, Exton, were up 20 per cent on last year.

And the four self-catering cottages that were opened in July have already been booked for most of rest of the year with bookings looking “strong” even for next year.

Mr Burrows said: “The cottages seem to be busy all year round. It’s quite interesting to see that people aren’t coming to Rutland just for the good season.”

Staff at award winning Horse and Jockey pub, in Manton, said they too served more visitors this year than in 2012.

Assistant manager Kay Lambert said: “We have been a lot busier than last year. A lot of cyclists and walkers have been stopping off at the pub, some for lunch and some for drinks.

“Judging by some of the people we spoke to, many had come from abroad but the majority seem to have come from places around the UK.”