Leicester: Things to do in the East Midlands city

The East Midlands is a crowded place, as far as it goes; you’ll find plenty of towns and cities vying for your attention when you’re making a shortlist of places to go in the area.

While Derby, Nottingham, Northampton, Lincoln and Boston may all seem like perfect places to go for one or more reasons, you’ll find plenty of fun to have in Leicester. As a great city to work into an itinerary of a tour of the area, there are plenty of options to take further coach holidays from Leicester and make your break that extra bit special.

Leicester is the largest city in the East Midlands and the tenth largest city in the UK. What’s more, it hosts one of the most culturally diverse populations in the UK, reflecting highly on its cuisine, nightlife and sights to see.

It firmly established itself in the 1950s and 1960s as a major centre for manufacturing, bringing people from all over the world to work for organisations in nearby towns and cities including Siemens, Rolls-Royce and Caterpillar. Leicestershire and surrounding counties also act as a major base for automotives – Triumph, Toyota, Cosworth and a whole host of F1 teams have residence near to the city.

As a result, Leicester has always been moving with the times, reflecting its consistent wealth and diversity in great places to visit. The city centre alone provides a perfect place to eat, drink and shop, for one. Subject to a £19 regeneration project in the last few years, its new layout has garnered countless awards for its success.

It all centres around the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, an incredibly ornate landmark that acts as the most popular meeting point for families, friends and even strangers in the city. From here, streets snake out to all manner of other places to explore.

Just south of it is the famous Leicester Market. Open Monday to Saturday, this incredible canopy-based creation is the biggest outdoor covered market in all of Europe. Leicester Corn Exchange sits in the centre of the market and now serves as the home to bars and restaurants, though with excellent deals and a rich history in this area, you’ll be forgiven for overlooking them.

Probably the most famous nationally-important visitor’s destination in Leicester is the National Space Museum, which is just by the River Soar next to the A6. This unmissable tall structure devotes itself to astronomy and space science and opened in 2001, incorporating studies from the University of Leicester as well as the biggest mind in the industry.

Perfect for all the family, the institution also runs as an educational charity to teach children the ways of space. A restaurant is also located between two ballistic missiles: Blue Streak (UK) and Thor (US).

All manner of other historical delights can be found elsewhere in the city. You can see the War Memorial in Victoria Park, designed by London Cenotaph creator Edwin Lutyens. The small but perfectly-formed Leicester Cathedral is also a stand-out feature of the city, while the Grade I-listed Guildhall demonstrates one of the best examples of timber-framed architecture in the world; it’s also believed both Oliver Cromwell and William Shakespeare visited on several occasions. The Jewry Wall and nearby ruins also show Roman architecture in the area.

Whatever your reason for visiting, one thing’s for sure: you won’t regret a visit to Leicester!


Image courtesy of Colin Smith and resused under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence.