Osprey & Wildlife Cruises

One of the most exciting ways of seeing Ospreys at Rutland Water is to take a guided trip with members of the project team aboard the Rutland Belle. The idea is simple; we sail to the parts of the reservoir where we stand the best chance of seeing fishing Ospreys and, with a bit of luck, are rewarded with spectacular views. On many occasions we have enjoyed breathtaking views of the birds diving for fish very close to the boat, making it a trip to remember for those lucky enough to be on board.


Osprey with fish, photo by John Wright


Even on those rare occasions when Ospreys prove elusive, there is always a good range of the reservoir’s other wildlife on view. Past highlights have included Great-crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Common Tern, a plethora of wildfowl and much more!

Afternoon Cruises

These cruises begin with refreshments (hot drinks and biscuits) and an introductory talk at the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, Egleton (LE15 8BT). We then ask you to drive to Whitwell (a 2 mile drive), where the Rutland Belle sets sail. The cruises last 1.5 hours and cost £22 for adults and £13 for under 16s

In addition to your cruise ticket you will also receive a 20% discount on the permit entry price to the nature reserve. Nature reserve permits cover the Egleton (LE15 8BT) and Lyndon (LE15 8RN) sites of Rutland Water and with nearly 40 hides there is lots to see and do to fill a day. You can use your discount on the day of the cruise, and/or the day after. For more information about the reserves click here. 

All parking costs at Whitwell and the reserves are covered by your cruise ticket.

The Rutland Belle

The Rutland Belle


Dawn Cruises

In addition to the afternoon cruises, we also run exclusive dawn cruises. These cruises depart from Whitwell Harbour at 6am for an hour and a half cruise. We’ll then arrive back at Whitwell and drive around to the Egleton reserve (a 2 mile drive) for a well-earned cooked breakfast at 7:30am. The breakfast consists of a bacon and egg roll, or a vegetarian option of egg and mushrooms or vegetarian sausage. Please state which option you require on booking. Early mornings are a magical time to be out on the reservoir, and if 2015 dawn cruises are anything to go by, we should be in for some spectacular views of Ospreys. Tickets for dawn cruises are priced at £25 for adults and £15 for under 16s.

You will also receive a 20% discount on the price of a nature reserve permit on the day of the dawn cruise. (See above).

All parking costs at Whitwell and the reserves are covered by your cruise ticket.

Matt's sunrise 18th July

Sunrise over the Rutland Belle, photo by Matt Broadhead


Birdfair Cruises

As usual we will be running a series of cruises during the Birdfair weekend in 2016 (19th-21st August). Dates and tickets will be available at www.birdfair.org.uk.

How to Book

To book your place on an Osprey Cruise you can use the ‘Book your place’ page to check dates. Click an event to check availability and make a booking. Payment must be taken on booking. You can now pay for your tickets online securely via PayPal – you do not need a PayPal account, and all major credit/debit cards are accepted.

For any information or an alternative to online booking, please email Kayleigh at kbrookes@rutlandwater.org.uk.

Places sell out very quickly – so please book early to avoid disappointment! 

Gift Vouchers

We also offer Osprey cruise vouchers – a perfect Christmas or birthday gift!  E-mail kbrookes@rutlandwater.org.uk for more information, or click here!

Refund Policy

Refunds are dependent on us being able to re-sell the ticket. Any cancellations made less than two weeks before the cruise date cannot be refunded. Refunds cannot be given for late arrivals.

The Rutland Belle

The Rutland Belle has both a covered lower deck and an open upper deck, both are just as good in terms of the view. It is wheelchair and pushchair friendly (bottom deck only). Dogs and bicycles are not permitted aboard the boat.

Please note wellies are not permitted on the upper deck of the Rutland Belle, so please wear alternative footwear if you intend to sit upstairs.

For more information about the Rutland Belle, check out their website.

Rutland Belle

The Rutland Belle