If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, the English countryside is a sorely underrated alternative to an EasyJet city break. Tucked away down a country lane in the heart of Rutland is A Little Bit of Rough, an idyllic luxury camping retreat just 20 minutes from Rutland Water and the perfect spot for some quality down time away from the usual daily hum of traffic, train announcements and people generally rushing around like their heads are on fire. Instead these distractions are replaced with the quiet sounds of distant birds, the occasional stray sheep and, well, absolutely nothing else. It’s so refreshing.
The campsite itself accommodates two lodges both decked out in a rustic, cosy chic style with additional personal touches that make you feel right at home from the second you arrive. The tent sleeps six – two doubles and two twin beds – but it doesn’t feel cramped in any way. Rooms are partitioned off by a heavy material which creates an unexpected sense of privacy and space. The bathroom features a stunning roll top bath which allows for a deeply surreal experience as it dawns on you that that you’re essentially sitting in a very posh tub in the middle of a field. It works though, and it’s clear that the owners, Nick and Sarah, have worked hard to create an experience that feels both luxurious and authentic in equal measure. You get the sense with both the lodge and the surrounding woodland that this is a place which has grown organically over the last few months and will continue to do so.
The eco-friendly credentials of the site are apparent from the get go too; the first thing you’ll note is that there is no electricity here, save for a small solar powered fridge and an even smaller solar powered phone charger, which makes this the perfect opportunity to let go of that small plastic thing you stare at all day, stick it in the bottom of your bag and forget about it for the weekend (we know, easier said than done). Instead, the centre piece of the lodge – a beautiful wood burning stove – serves as heater, cooker and creator of dreamy evening mood lighting all in one.
We stayed in the second of the two lodges, Ash, which is positioned slightly higher up the hillside and offers fantastic views across the countryside from a raised wooden decking. It was here that we ate our meals and spent our evenings, and we can say with absolute certainty we’ve never enjoyed a game of Cluedo more than when played with a glass of wine in one hand and the sun setting over the hills behind us (ok, so maybe we don’t play Cluedo that often ever, but it was one of the highlights of the weekend for sure).
Our stay was not without a few hiccups along the way – a leaky tap meant crawling under the lodge to switch off the water – but to be honest, it was all part of the charm of the place; you can just relax, unwind and completely go with the flow, regardless of a few issues.
For all that the lodge itself offered, there was still plenty to do further afield. As we mentioned, Rutland Water is just a short drive away from the campsite, which allowed us to continue our current and as yet unrelenting obsession with boats (we think it might be a summer thing). We were also able to hire bikes to cycle around the perimeter of the reservoir which, save for a slight handlebar malfunction, was a great way to spend a surprisingly hot and sunny summer’s day.
One of the unexpected highlights for us was the woodland which surrounded the campsite, and we spent a morning exploring the area and taking a barrel-load of pictures (the results of which you can expect to see very soon!). We finished off the weekend in style, with a delicious pub lunch at The Black Bull Inn, situated in the sleepy village of Market Overton. The food was excellent and the staff super friendly and welcoming; it really was the perfect way to round off a fantastic weekend in the English countryside. We’ll definitely be back.
Patches & Flash