Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Biking at Rutland Water

One of the reasons that Stamford was recently named the best place to live in Britain is due to its close proximity to Rutland Water. This is Europe's largest man-made lake, and is also a large nature preserve. (For my Hoosier readers, this is the equivalent to living a few minutes from Lake Monroe). There are tons of outdoor recreation opportunities available here, from cycling to fishing to sailing.

On Father's Day, we decided to rent bikes and pedal our way around as much of it as we could in a few hours. I couldn't really take pictures and ride safely (especially with Little Arrow strapped in a seat on my bike). But this is generally what most of our ride looked like:

A bike and recreation path runs around the lake and it is relatively flat. The only inconvenience is the many gates you'll have to navigate to keep the sheep that are grazing all around the lake contained. (But your kids will love that the sheep come so close to the path you can practically touch them as you whiz by. Very fun!)

The nice part about biking here, especially with young kids, is that there were many options for pitstops along the way. The kids' favorite, naturally, was the Adventure Playground. I sometimes feel we're on an official tour of English playgrounds more than anything since arriving.

And the adults' favorite was Normanton Church. It was saved when the reservoir was constructed.

You can always wander about outside it, but we got lucky and the inside was open and we were allowed to step in and check it out. I *may* have whispered to my husband that it would be so amazing if one of the Arrows were to get married here. Not a large, echoing European cathedral. Just a simple country church with lots of character and a view of the water out every window.

A mutual favorite was a picnic lunch stop. I packed PB & Js for the Arrows as I had reached a breaking point in their boycott of British food. But my husband and I grabbed something from the cafe.

The bench said Sit Awhile and Smile. We like to do as we're told.

The next time we visit, I'd love to cycle in the other direction and see more of the lake (we only got about halfway around). But mostly, I can already envision that Rutland Water will be a place we return to again and again throughout our time here to make simple, happy family memories.

We've got little boys ducks to watch grow up, after all.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.