Exton Park Glamping Lantern & Larks
Exton Park, 2 miles from the reservoir, boasts it’s own share of the spoils though. When cyclists and sailboats converge on Rutland Water the birds seek solitude at Exton Hall’s fishing lake, a quieter patch where they can pluck carp between the lily pads. They’re not the only ones to enjoy the peace and tranquility either. Spread around an open field in their own, private space, five spectacular safari tents – self proclaimed ‘canvas cottages’ – provide luxury glamping accommodation throughout the summer months.
Exton Park truly does put the glamour into glamping. In total the 18th-century estate claims a whopping 1000 acres of land, though it’s the 5-acre walled garden that really catches the eye. It’s used in classy, country photo shoots, where chiseled young gents throw tweed jackets over their shoulders and grin into champagne glasses, but more historically it’s also seen performances by Handel and visits from William Shakespeare. It’s fair to say then, the space outside your tent is worthy of a picture or two.
Inside, of course, there are furnishings to match. It’s almost obligatory to light the wood-burner at some point during your stay (isn’t that what country living is about?) but in reality it’s only the barbecue that’s necessary. Ye olde candle lanterns provide a cosy evening ambience, while comfortable furniture puts glamping here close to full self-catered accommodation. The only notably absentee is a fridge, replaced by an equally functional cool-box, and there’s even a private toilet and gas-powered shower!
Once you’ve explored the ornamental garden it’s an easy walk into the quaint village of Exton. A clutch of thatched cottages makes up the centre where, sadly, the old ivy clad pub overlooking the green has recently closed down – hopefully not for long. Those interested in history should pop their heads into the village church. Built in the 13th and 14th century it boasts an impressive collection of monuments along with a fine marble tomb dating from 1685. While everyone else can ramble the 2 miles down to Rutland Water. It’s here that the action of the area lies, with a fabulous cycle trail around the edges and an assortment of interesting water sports on the reservoir itself. And just like the ospreys, if it all gets just a little too much, you can slink back to Exton Park and enjoy some blissful peace and quiet.
FacilitiesThe safari tents sleep up to 6 people and all the bedrooms are separated for privacy and comfort. The tent has one double; one twin; and a bunk bed (bedding and linen provided). Furnished throughout with everything you will need, they feature the likes of sofas, dining furniture, a log burning stove, a kitchen with gas hobs and all the cooking utensils, and an en-suite bathroom with a shower and toilet. The estate's old potting shed is now home to the onsite honesty shop where essential items and local produce can be purchased.
Glamping only, so no tents, campervans or caravans. Dogs, families, large groups, couples – yes.
NearbyGiven how small the county is, it's no surprise that vast Rutland Water really dominates here. The Watersports Centre (01780 460154) on the shore at Whitwell offers sailing, canoeing, kayaking, power-boating and windsurfing, while the circumference of the reservoir is looped by a cycle trail. It's relatively flat and takes in the open sides of the water as well as delving in and out through surrounding woodlands. Bikes can be rented from Rutland Cycling (01780 460705). In the reservoir's welcome centre a 'Weather and Wildlife' exhibition is accompanied by a live camera feed (in season) of osprey nests that are part of the Rutland Osprey Project. Elsewhere, close to Whitwell is the RockBlok (01780 460060) rock climbing centre – suitable for all ages from seven years upwards – and Barnsdale Gardens (01572 813200), with 39 individual gardens throughout the 8-acre site, all with different themes and styles.
Food & Drink
Optional extras can be added when booking. These include a 'large' or 'basic' breakfast hamper, a BBQ pack, a campfire kit, a soup pack or a stew pack. In terms of pubs, though, the nearest are in Oakham where there are tons to choose from – The Admiral Hornblower (01572723004) is a favourite, with an excellent beer garden.
March – October.
The Owner Says
The Exton Estate is a large rural estate located in the heart of picturesque Rutland, the smallest historic county in England. The Estate is within easy reach of Oakham, Stamford, Leicester, Peterborough and Nottingham.
Lantern & Larks has established a campsite within the 500 hectares of Exton Park. This beautiful 18th-Century park, which is Grade II listed, contains a sheltered five-acre walled garden which gradually slopes down to an ornamental lake at the southern end, where ospreys have been known to catch their dinner!
From Oakham: At the top of Barnsdale Hill you will come to a turn on the left, just before Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, sign posted to Cottesmore and Exton. Turn here and follow the road, ignoring all signs/turnings to Exton. Keep going for about 1½ miles and when you get to the bottom of the hill, on the right hand side, there are some white railings either side of a drive marked Private - Exton Park and Exton Park Nurseries and you need to turn in here.
From the A1 southbound: Take the A606 sign posted to Empingham and Oakham. At the top of Barnsdale Hill you will come to a turn on the right, just after Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, sign posted to Cottesmore and Exton. Turn here and follow the road, ignoring all signs/turnings to Exton. Keep going for about 1½ miles and when you get to the bottom of the hill, on the right hand side, there are some white railings either side of a drive marked Private - Exton Park and Exton Park Nurseries and you need to turn in here.
From the A1 northbound: Take the B668 sign posted RAF Cottesmore, Greetham, Oakham. Follow the B668 through Greetham and about ½ mile outside Greetham there is a turn to the left sign posted to Exton. Take this turn. At the end of this road, turn left to Exton. About a mile along, on the left hand side at the bottom of the hill, there are some white railings either side of a drive marked Private - Exton Park and Exton Park Nurseries and you need to turn in here.
Follow the drive through the trees for about 300 yards and you will see the walled garden on your right. Follow the wall & the signs past the first gate to the entrance marked Lantern & Larks Car Park.
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