The legacy of Stapleford Park's fascinating history lives on in local historic market towns such as Melton Mowbray, about 5 miles away, where the idiom 'painting the town red' is said to have derived from. Look out for the Lady Wilton bridge in the Memorial Gardens with its inscription attributing its expense to the Earl of Harborough in 1775.
Althorp, near Rugby, approximately 50 minutes.
Althorp is the family home of the Spencer family and the small island in the lake is now the final resting place of Diana, Princess of Wales. Althorp, after the tragic events of August 1997, is now open for two months of the year, July and August, for people to visit the museum dedicated to the Princess of Wales.
Belton House, near Grantham, approximately 40 minutes.
Now owned by the National Trust, Belton House, near Grantham, is a beautifully symmetrical Restoration-period house. The formal Dutch and Italian sunken gardens, together with the elegant Orangery, complement the house and there is a lakeside walk in the surrounding parkland. This house was featured as the home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the BBC production of 'Pride and Prejudice'.
Belvoir Castle, near Grantham, approximately 25 minutes.
Belvoir Castle stands high above the Vale of Belvoir, near Grantham, and is home to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. The original castle was built on this site in the 11th century and the existing 19th century castle contains collections of paintings, sculptures, porcelain and furniture.
Burghley House, Stamford, approximately 30 minutes.
Burghley House is the largest and grandest house of the Elizabethan age which is still privately owned but also open to the public. Capability Brown landscaped the magnificent grounds, including the deer park, and the house contains one of the finest private collections of seventeenth century Italian paintings. Between 1924 and 1933 Lord Burghley earned an international reputation as a hurdler, his achievements were featured in the film 'Chariots of Fire' and the Olympic medals and countless other trophies are on display in the house.
Harlaxton Manor, near Grantham, approximately 25 minutes.
Harlaxton Manor, which is built in Ancaster Stone, is a mixture of Baroque style architecture and the impact is dramatic and unforgettable. The house is situated in the Vale of Belvoir, and has very impressive gardens. Although the gardens are open to the public, the house is not. The formal gardens encompass French, Italian and Dutch styles and the ornate 6.5 acre walled garden houses a large collection of rare plants. There is also a half-mile nature trail in the surrounding woods. These gardens are open to the public 11am - 5pm Tuesday through to Sunday, April to October.
Rockingham Castle, near Corby, approximately 30 minutes.
Rockingham Castle is situated near Corby and is steeped in over 900 years of history. It houses an educational and enlightening exhibition on the Normans, the Tudors, the Civil War and the Victorian era. Special events at Rockingham include open-air performances and re-enactments of the Siege of Rockingham between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. The castle's remarkable hill top location provides fine views over five counties.
Sudbury Hall, near Derby and Uttoxeter, approximately 70 minutes.
This beautiful house was built to an outdated Jacobean plan and is full of idiosyncrasies; there is a stunning carved staircase and intricate wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons. The house was featured in the BBC production of 'Pride and Prejudice' as a setting for Pemberley, Mr. Darcy's home.
Burghley Horse Trials
Burghley - The world famous Burghley horse trials take place in the grounds of Burghley House every September. This is a prestigious three-day event held in early September incorporating show jumping, dressage and cross-country; there are also a huge number of stalls and stands at the event for shopping.
Point to points
Leicestershire is traditionally a hunting county and there are numerous equestrian events throughout the year with the Cottesmore, Belvoir and Quorn Point to Points and the Melton Hunt Cup taking place during March, April and May. All of the above events take place at Garthorpe. A number of other smaller horse trials happen throughout the year including one in the beautiful grounds of Belton House.
Polo can be enjoyed at the Rutland Polo Club in the nearby village of Langham during the Summer Polo Season May - September. Ranksboro Polo facility nearby is a year around facility with a large arena and plenty of horses.
Rutland Water, approximately 30 minutes.
Set in 3,100 acres of beautiful countryside, Rutland Water is Europe's largest man-made lake. Water sports such as wind surfing, sailing, canoeing and fly-fishing are available and cycling/walking are also popular. The circuit around the reservoir is 25 miles and there are a number of good pubs en route where you can relax. It is also possible to take a cruise on a paddle steamer called the Rutland Belle and enjoy the scenery. Since the creation of the reservoir twenty years ago the nature reserve has become an important wildlife sanctuary. Over 250 species of birds have been counted here and wildfowl numbers can exceed 20,000 in the winter - you may even be lucky enough to catch sight of an osprey.
The local area provides excellent shooting during the seasons:
- September 1st - February 1st: Partridge
- October 1st - February 1st: Pheasant
- September 1st - January 31st: Duck & Goose
Leicester, approximately 45 minutes.
Leicester is the home of the largest covered market in Europe, with 320 stalls selling everything from exotic vegetables to textiles. The market is open every day except Sundays. The recent additions of the Shires Shopping Centre and St Martins Square, together with the renovated arcades, have transformed Leicester into a popular shopping town. For history buffs, the Richard III visitor centre is worth a visit.
Newark, approximately 40 minutes.
The Newark Antique Fair are coordinated by the International Antique and Collectors Fair Organisation and attract crowds in excess of 20,000 including leading buyers from all over the world. The fairs take place throughout the year and have an admission charge. Group rates can be negotiated but must be booked in advance.
Nottingham, approximately 40 minutes.
Besides being the home of very extensive shopping centres such as the Victoria Centre and Broadmarsh Centre, Nottingham is also famous for its historical connections with Robin Hood. The exciting life and times of Robin Hood are celebrated twice a year with jousting and medieval merriment. In early August, the Robin Hood Festival takes place at Sherwood Forest Country Park, whilst in October, the Robin Hood Pageant is staged within the impressive grounds of Nottingham Castle.
Sherwood Forest - 'Home of Robin Hood'
You can walk way-marked paths and visit an exhibition centre devoted to the folklore of Robin Hood as well as the ecology of this important woodland.
Nottingham Castle - The medieval fortification was destroyed after the Civil War, and was replaced by a fine mansion but the original Norman gatehouse remains. Beneath the castle wall stands an impressive bronze statue of Robin Hood.
"Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem" - Just a short distance from Nottingham Castle, this is one of England's oldest pubs where pilgrims gathered before walking to the Holy Land.
Nottingham Lace - Nottingham is world famous for its beautiful lace and you can see and buy it in a medieval building called The Lace Centre. There is also the Museum of Nottingham Lace close by.
Oakham, approximately 15 minutes.
Oakham has managed to retain much of its original charm and the Market Square fills with little stalls every Wednesday and Saturday. There are a number of antique shops as well as a magnificent fine art shop selling highly collectable works of art. Oakham's most famous character was Jeffrey Hudson, a tiny dwarf measuring only 18" high, who was put in a pie which was presented to King Charles I in 1628. Oakham Castle, famous for its collection of horse shoes gathered from visiting nobility including members of the Royal family, and also for the court which has been held, since medieval times, every Monday.
Peterborough, approximately 45 minutes.
The large shopping centres, Queensgate and Riverside, and the pedestrianised city centre streets make Peterborough a good place for shopping. There is also an open market in Bridge Street every Saturday. In the city centre is the magnificent cathedral which dates back to Norman times, where Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry the VIII was buried.
Stamford, approximately 30 minutes.
Stamford, with its splendid Georgian architecture, was relatively undiscovered until it became famous as the location for the BBC's period drama 'Middlemarch'. It is best explored on foot and it is fascinating to visit the 16th and 17th century coaching inns and medieval churches. There are a number of fine antique shops in the town including silver and furniture specialists. A street market is held on Fridays and it is well worth trying some local gastronomic delights such as haslet - a delicious cold meat made of pork, rusk, sage and pepper - and Lincolnshire plum loaf.
The Donington Park Grand Prix Collection, approximately 45 minutes.
This collection of Grand Prix cars spanning the lifetime of the sport is widely regarded as one of the best available in Britain. Its owner, Tom Wheatcroft, has built the collection up over many years and it is housed in a purpose made building at the site of the Donington Race Circuit. Now much modernised, the Donington Circuit was originally one of the grand parkland Grand Prix circuits built in the 1920s, with its heyday in the pre war years. For the motoring enthusiast this visit is very worthwhile.
The Midland Motorcycle Museum, Elmdon Birmingham, approximately 1 hour.
This is the National Motorcycle Museum. Located in the Midlands it contains a collection of fine motorcycles that were made in Britain ranging from the very first road and racing motorcycles, through to the British Motorcycle heydays of the 1930s, 40s and 50s and to some of the last racing motorcycles built in the late 1970s.
Stapleford Miniature Railway
Situated in our very own grounds, the Stapleford Miniature Railway is maintained and operated by Friends of the Stapleford Miniature Railway. Visit their website to see special family events where you can see the railway in action.
Twinlakes Family Theme Park
Burrough on the Hill, approximately 10 minutes.
During the Iron Age the Coritani built a fort, the ramparts of which can still be seen today. Burrough House has five acres of beautifully manicured gardens and the thatched Bower House set in the grounds is where Edward and Mrs. Simpson met in the 1930s.
Grantham, approximately 25 minutes.
An attractive market town - birthplace of Margaret Thatcher.
Lincoln, approximately 1 hour.
The Norman Bishop of Lincoln ordered that a new church be built in 1066 which was to be completed in 1092. This cathedral was unfortunately ruined by an earthquake and was later rebuilt by St Hugh of Lincoln and still stands today. It is an outstanding structure and the remains of the Bishops' medieval palace can be seen nearby.
Little Dalby, approximately 20 minutes.
It is said that Stilton cheese was first made at Dalby-Parva. The village has a hilltop church with spire and a magnificent Elizabethan House, Little Dalby Hall.
Market Overton, approximately 10 minutes.
On the ancient village green at Market Overton there are stocks and a whipping post. These would have been in use when Sir Isaac Newton lived there as a boy and it is said that the sundial on the church was given by Newton. The trees which line the main street were planted to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
Melton Mowbray, approximately 10 minutes.
Dating back to 1077 and still held every Tuesday and Saturday, Melton Mowbray has one of the oldest street markets in the country. The town is famous for being the home of pork pies and the surrounding villages are renowned for their Stilton cheese dairies. The town has a colourful history which includes the origins of the phrase 'painting the town red' when in 1837 the Marquis of Waterford and his friends decorated the town with red paint. The Carnegie Museum in Melton has displays on both foxhunting and the history of Stilton and pork pies.
Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, approximately 25 minutes.
Sir Isaac Newton was born at Woolsthorpe Manor in 1642. Here he formulated the differential calculus, the composition of white light and the law of gravitation. Mathematical diagrams have been scratched onto some of the walls and there are six descendants of his famous 'Flower of Kent' Apple Tree in the orchard.
East Midlands Food Festival
Brooksby Hall, Nr Melton Mowbray.
Belvoir Fruit Farms, Grantham, approximately 30 minutes.
Traditional cordials made from elderflower, ginger and a wide variety of fresh fruits are made from the fruit grown on the farm.
Pork pies & stilton cheese, approximately 10 minutes.
Dickinson & Morris' 'Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe' in Melton Mowbray sells the original 'hand raised pork pies' which are baked on the premises. The shop next door sells a tempting range of sausages made with ingredients such as Red Leicester cheese, cider, ale, and smoked bacon. Stilton making was developed in the surrounding villages as early as the 14th century. Only six companies in the UK make Stilton, three of which are in Leicestershire and the tradition and quality of the cheese is protected by the Stilton Makers' Association.
The Parish Brewery, approximately 10 minutes.
Set in the attractive village of Borough on the Hill, this independently owned brewery produces Baz's Bonce Blower which is the strongest traditionally brewed ale on hand-pump in England. This powerful brew has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as "the strongest beer in the world". Group tours of the brewery can be arranged which includes a delicious lunch. Please ask at reception for further details, opening times and directions.