With a population of just over ten thousand people, Oakham is nearly the definition of the small town that everybody wants to live in but few people get the chance to. A mere twenty miles from the larger town of Leicester, Oakham can be seen as a suburb of sorts but don't tell that to any of the proud residents who are quick to boast about Oakham's strong personal identity and sense of self. With such charming and unique features as the Rutland Water, one of the largest man-made lakes in all of Europe, Oakham is nothing if not unique. Many people have joked about the fact that everything is just a bit off in Oakham. The interesting thing is that these people are, in some way, speaking the truth. The town of Oakham is built on an incline and the level ranges from ninety nine feet above sea level at the lowest point to nearly one hundred and thirty feet above sea level at the highest. This discrepancy is curious to say the least but, to look on the bright side; residents of Oakham must have some of the most toned calves in all of England!
One of Oakham's most popular attractions is without a doubt the much ballyhooed All Saints Church. This beautiful edifice was built in the 1300s in the Gothic style that was the norm in those days. Like other similar constructions, a towering spire reaches out to the sky, creating an imposing view to anybody down below. The inside of the building is far more inviting, however, and one can see gorgeous carvings of Biblical scenes as well as animals.
As mentioned before, Oakham is definitely a town that plays to the tune of its own drummer. One of the most bizarre customs of the town has been enacted for over five hundred years now and it shows no signs of stopping. This tradition is as follows: If a person of royal lineage or some form of nobility passes through the town, they must leave a horseshoe behind that represents their visit. These horseshoes are displayed in the grand hall of the castle and, though this is just a tradition, there were years when this practice was enforced by law! That's like being arrested for not throwing salt over your shoulder after spilling it! All the same, there are over two hundred special horseshoes given from all kinds of royalty over the years and visitors to Oakham would be missing out without paying a visit to the castle for this purpose. The castle itself is similarly gorgeous and, like Oakham, just a bit odd.
If you've visited most of the towns in and around England and found them to be lacking in charm and personality, clear your schedule and plan a trip to Oakham. The people here fully embrace their strange outlook on life and are more than happy to share their slice of land with visitors and tourists. Rare is a town this odd so friendly so fear not and hop aboard a train, a plane, or a steep decline. No matter what it takes, make sure you get to Oakham on the double!