Everyone has heard of Red Leicester cheese, but the city itself often gets overlooked tourism-wise. This is a shame, because despite the fact that Leicester is not the prettiest (it was given an unwelcome make-over during the Second World War) it is an immensely exciting and ethnically multicultural city. In fact, Leicester is so multicultural that it is predicted to soon be the first city in the UK without a white British majority.
Despite the bombing, Leicester town centre has a good deal of Victorian architecture to see, along with lots of new developments such as a state of the art performing arts centre. Leicester Market is the largest covered market in Europe – and Leicester Cathedral is a focal point with the first of its stones having been laid in 1086.
Leicester is also top of its game when it comes to sport. The King Power Stadium is home to Championship club Leicester City FC, plus the Leicester Tigers – the most successful rugby club of all time. If you get the chance , check out a game of cricket at Leicestershire County Cricket Club, home to one of the best teams in the UK in recent years.
LEICESTER’S TOP 10
10. Sample fine food at Case , a restaurant housed in a former suitcase factory. Bet you’ve never eaten in one of those before.
5. New Walk Museum & Art Gallery has some surprising exhibits –including a life sized portrait of Leicester rugby hero Martin Johnson.
9. Leicester’s Cinema de Lux is a top class place to catch a film.
4. Newarke Houses Museum tells the tale of ordinary and better known Leicester citizens – Thomas Cook being one.
8. The Phoenix Arts Centre is the place for arty types. Fringe plays, comedy and dance as well as art-house films.
3. The Golden Mile is Leicester’s Asian quarter and the place to head for after a few beers for a curry.
7. The Guildhall is reputed to be the most haunted building in Leicester – dare you to peek into its old police cells.
2. The Jewry Wall Museum is one of the UKs biggest Roman civil structures – mosaics and frescoes aplenty.
6. Sup a pint in the Globe – this circa 1720 alehouse has a warm atmosphere and cosy alcoves.
1. The National Space Centre is the ideal place to practice your moon walk. Check out the zero-gravity toilets and germ-devouring underpants!
The Leicester Riverside Festival is one of Leicester’s biggest free festivals. Held at Bede Park in June, the event promises boat trips, live music and activities.
The Urban Steam Rally – go loco with locos, as well as craft stalls and activities in the month of June at the Abbey Pumping Station Leicester.
The Braunstone Festival is a colourful community festival held annually at Braunstone Park, Leicester during the month of July.
Leicester Caribbean Carnival is a platform for showing off Caribbean culture at its most colourful – now in its 26th year, in August
The Castle Park Heritage and Arts Festival – make this a date for family fun in the heart of Leicester’s ‘Old Town’, during the month of August.
Dashera - Leicester commemorates the Hindu story of the battle between King Ravana and Lord Rama – in September.
Diwali – the Festival of Light is big business in Leicester – it’s the biggest celebration outside of India, and more than 60,000 people attend, during October.
Bonfire night in Leicester always goes with a bang – over 20,000 turn up at Abbey Park, Leicester on November 5th.
Christmas in Leicester sees the Town Hall transformed into a winter wonderland. The Xmas lights get switched on in Town Hall Square in November.
The Leicester Hanukkah Lights Switch on is an annual Jewish festival beginning at sundown with celebrations continuing for eight days, on December 25th.
WHEN TO GO
· Leicester has a temperate climate and mild weather throughout most of the year, with few real differentials in temperatures.
· Winter temperatures drop down to 1-7 °C, Spring temperatures 2- 15 °C, Summer temperatures of 8-20 °C and Autumn temperatures of around 3-13 °C.
· Being toward the east of the country, Leicester has a tendency to a lower amount of rainfall than some of the more westerly parts of the UK. Still, it makes sense to be prepared and bring a brolly.
· Leicester is located in the Midlands region of the UK, and having such a central location means fast transport between intercity destinations across the UK. St Margaret’s Bus Station is where National Express coaches check in, with a service serving all main cities – at a very reasonable cost.
· Leicester is served by East Midlands and Nottingham airports, which operate a large range of domestic and international flights.
· The city is also easy to get to by train. Midland Mainline runs a frequent service to and from London St Pancras, into Leicester London Road Station.
With just under 300,000 people, Leicester is a major city in East Midlands, England. A location on the River Soar and on the fringe of the National Forest help make the city one of the more picturesque in the country. The former Roman settlement is home to more than 2,000 years of history, with many fine landmarks and monuments as a result. Leicester also has one of the most diverse resident populations of any city in the entire United Kingdom, with a huge South Asian community in particular.
A primary point of interest in Leicester is the city Cathedral. Though small by English standards, the first stones for the Gothic place of worship were laid way back in 1086. Other attractions in Leicester include The City Rooms, Clock Tower, old Town Hall and Belgrave Hall. At more than 800 years old, the city’s covered market is not only the largest in Europe, but one of the oldest as well.
Leicester has a temperate climate, with mild weather throughout the year.
- Winter (December to February) 1-7°C
- Spring (March to May) 2-15°C
- Summer (June to September) 8-20°C
- Fall (October to November) 3-13°C
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