THE ULTIMATE LOCALS GUIDE TO LEICESTER, UK
Leicester is well known for the discovery of the last Plantagenet King, Richard III’s remains and now his last resting place, the underdogs of football who won the premiership league in 2016, the world class Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and not to mention it’s connection to many playwrights, most notable being Sue Townsend and Joe Orton and then there’s it’s links with the great David Attenborough!
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Leicester, or the once Roman city of Ratae Corieltauvorum, well…. there really isn’t anywhere quite like it. The immersive mix of cultures, the food, the diversity and surroundings are simply like no other. It is a city that is completely captivating and inspiring and makes me so proud to call home being Leicester born and bred.
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- Plan Before You Travel
- How to Get to Leicester
- Best Time To Visit
- Where to Stay
- The Best Things to do in Leicester
- Entertainment in the City
- Neighbourhoods Close to the City Centre
- Wining & Dining
- Independent Shopping
- Leicester’s Famous Market
- Sport in the City
- Local Parks
- Helpful Local Resources
- A Local’s Weekend Guide to Leicester Round-Up
- Pin & Save For Later
Plan Before You Travel
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This weekend Leicester guide by a local, provides you with a fine directory to plan a break in the city and surroundings with carefully curated abodes, activities, restaurants, cafes and much more. My passion is to support local and independent businesses in the city and therefore I share with you many of my favourite local businesses who I whole-heartedly support in the city.
There is so much to see and do in Leicester for everyone! You decide when!
Be-lavie Tip: Download the Leicester Google Map by signing up to the Be-Collective below as all the suggestions here have been added to the map and can be accessed on your smart phone in seconds. Click below to access:
How to Get to Leicester
- Air : East Midlands is the closed airport to Leicester, and is approximately a half an hour by car to the city.
- Train : Due to Leicester’s central location, it is served by a number of train lines including East Midlands Railways and is only 1 hour 3 mins to St. Pancras Station and also Cross-Country Trains with links to many of the airports.
- Car : Leicester can be accessed via the M1 (Junction 21) or the M69 from the north and south of the country.
- Bus : Leicester Coach Station is located right in the heart of the city with a frequent service run by National Express through England (direct and with connections). Megabus is also a great option if you have flexible travel times (also book train tickets through here)
Many hotels will be able to recommend parking options but here are some of city centre ones, which can be located on the Leicester Map Download.
- The HIghcross Shopping Centre
- NCP Dover Street
- NCP Rutland Street (Also good for the Curve Theatre)
- NCP Lee Circle
Best Time To Visit
Leicester is a lively bustling city any time of year but if you love culture a great time to visit is when the city is holding one of its many diverse festivals. Here are a few notable ones to add to your list:
- December: Christmas Lights throughout the city centre
- Autumn (varies each year) Diwali: The largest celebration for this HIndu festival outside of India
- February: The Leicester Comedy Festival
- Summer (dates vary each year); International Street Art Festival (Bring the Paint)
- June: The Riverside Festival: Waterside festival of the arts and crafts + food
Where to Stay
- Novotel Leicester Located in the heart of the city centre, a stone’s throw from medieval Leicester and Highcross Shopping Centre. Think modern and sleek interiors.
- The Gresham Apart-Hotel Housed A modern apart-hotel style accommodation, housed in the old Fenwicks building with a rich history. The newest accommodation to be added to teh city centre scene.
- Winstanley House A stunning Grade II listed Georgian house, now a stunning boutique hotel located just out of the city centre with 19 bedrooms and the famous Black Iron restaurant.
- Marriott Hotel Located just off the M1 with easy links in and out of the city, the hotel is modern with beautiful rooms and a cocktail bar and pool.
- Belmont Hotel A boutique hotel found on the leafy, tree-lined pedestrian walkway known as New Walk, this boutique hotel dates back to the 1930’s. They also do a pretty good afternoon tea!
Read Next: The Most beautiful Hotels in Leicestershirerelated Article
Search For Your Leicester Hotel Below
The Best Things to do in Leicester
Leicester Through History
Leicester is most definitely a destination that has a lot to offer in terms of activities and things to do from historic places of interest and self-guided tours to outdoor activities as well as traditional entertainment. I’ve included my Top 12 things to do in and around Leicester.
Remember all locations are downloadable and on a handy Leicester Google Map.
Read Related Post: For History & Culture Vultures: Local’s Historic Guide to Leicester, which covers the city’s past through the ages and must-visit prominent spots to visit during your stay. Includes Museums, Heritage sites and Experiences. Also has a guide to all the areas in Leicester City Centre through the times.
Top 12 Things to do in Leicester
Read Next-Related Post: If you love walks click on the Pin to find out all about my 5 Autumn Historical walks in Leicester.
These walks can be taken in any season by the way, however Autumn is a beautiful favourite time of year.
Be-lavie Tip: One of the Best tours to do in Leicester, traces the history and discovery of King Richard III, The Last Plantagenet King.
For those who may want to take some time out of the city centre environment and venture into the suburbs, how about seeing one of the other neighbourhoods in the city.
- Wistow Maze Explore one of the country’s largest Maze if you fancy a mind and body exercise. Also a great way to keep the kids entertained for a while!
- Belvoir Castle A fabulous day out on in the vale of Belvoir, have a peruse of the beautifully manicured gardens and stunning castle, the home of the Duke & Duchess of Rutland. One of the most stunning places you will visit in the area.
- Foxton Lochs On the line of the Grand Union canal, this 10 lock canal consists of two staircase locks and is a great place to walk and discover the history of this system at the on site museum and a visit to the local watering hole.
Other Leicester Activities
Read Next-Related Post: Fancy something a little more adventurous to do in the Leicestershire countryside? Find out what it’s like to Kayak on the River Soar with Lets Get Lost Leicester.
Bradgate Park : The former home of Lady Jane Grey
Be-lavie Tip Bradgate Park: A personal favourite for seasonal walks, this huge parkland in Newtown Linford provides acres of fresh green space, deer, peacocks and very rich in history.
English Heritage Properties
Read next: Related Post: 10 Sites to Explore with English Heritage
Two English Heritage Properties in Leicestershire worth visiting:
- Ashby de la Zouch Castle: A short distance out of Leicester, in Ashby, this former house ruins makes for a perfect day out and even provides you with an audio guide for. areal feel for the site.
- Kirby Muxloe Castle: A gorgeous castle surrounded by a moat, compete with a turret or two. Spend some time ar leisure checking out the area with a picnic.
Entertainment in the City
Entertainment List options to explore in the city in terms of activities, theatre, cinema and live music. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Neighbourhoods Close to the City Centre
Be-lavie Tip: Belgrave Road was an ancient Roman link road now known for its Indian fashion, spice bazaars, jewellery shops and of course for hosting the biggest Diwali celebrations each year outside of India.
- Clarendon Park: This leafy suburb is not only where I grew up but also has a lovely local shopping road called Queens Road. It’s packed full of lovely restaurants, bars, gift shops, coffee hangouts and is a lovely chilled area to take in the local scenes. It’s around a 20-30 minute walk from the city via Victoria Park and New Walk.
- Stoneygate Shopping Another of Leicester’s suburbs, Stoneygate is within easy reach of the city centre and has some lovely coffee and cake stops as well as gift shops, bars, a yoga centre, great brunch spots, beauty salons and much more!
Wining & Dining
Being complete coffee fiends, Be-lavie can totally confirm, Leicester has a fab coffee shop culture with lots of fantastic independent shops in and around the city.
Read Next- Related post: Independent Coffee and Cake Hangouts in LE1
Read Next-Related Posts: Look for Cafes in and around Leicester
Over the past few years, Leicester has excelled in its Brunching options from pancakes to continental to full English to boozy!
Read Next-Related Post Read more about Brunch spots in Leicester
You can easily locate and access all these options by downloading the Leicester Google Map by signing up to The Be-Collective below
So whether you love a real ale or fancy cocktails or even mocktails, there are options to suite everybody! Here are some fantastic independent Bar & Pub options around the city.
Read Next: Related Post: Best bars in Leicester as well as Best Espresso Martini haunts
Leicester truly is a melting pot of cultures and flavours and has many independent cuisines so please note this is by no means an exhaustive list and by all means research is key if there is a particular kind of cuisine you wish to try.
Read Next- Related post: For all your bread and cake lovers, here are a few bakeries for you to tuck into freshly made treats. If you love sourdough especially, I recommend popping into Skylark and picking up a loaf supplied by Bisbrooke Artisans and sipping on some tea and cakes whilst you’re there!
If you like your desserts, then fear not there are some specialist stores that will cater for your sweet needs!
Read Next- Related post: There are a fine mix of independent stores in Leicester, selling clothing, to gifts to interiors and there’s even a chocolatier, Cocoa Amore, where you can pre-book workshops. Why not have a little mooch around the shops and help support local?
Leicester’s Famous Market
Read Next- Related post: Leicester Market is one of Europe’s oldest covered market., from its history to the sites connection with local suffragette, Alice Hawkins.
Sport in the City
Sporting fans will be aware that Leicester is well known for its sport including football , Rugby, Basketball and Cricket.
Club locations- have been added to the downloadable Google Map
- Leicester City Football Club
- Leicester Tigers, Rugby Club
- Grace Road Cricket Club
- Leicester Riders Basketball Centre
Leicester has many beautiful open spaces to walk around and get some fresh air. They are well maintained and some are stunningly landscaped. Pick as many as you like from the line-up in theLeicester Parks:
- Abbey Park
- Victoria Park
- Leicester Botanical Gardens
- The Oval (New Walk)
- Castle Gardens
- Knighton Park
- Bradgate Park,
- Swithland Woods
- Beacon Hill.
Find out more about Leicester Parks
Helpful Local Resources
Some useful links, which will provide you with further resources to plan your visit…
- Cool as Leicester A website that serves as a directory with a whole host of things to do, where to eat and drink, upcoming news, local interviews, weekly events, entertainment and music guides.
- Discover Leicester Head over to their Instagram account, which details all the fun things to do in Leicester including outdoor adventures, latest offers at certain establishments and much more.
- Visit Leicester Information collated by Leicester City Council to help you make the most of your visit to the city, including an events calendar.
- Story of Leicester One of my favourite websites, which brings the story of the city alive through buildings, history and key people of relevance. There are boards displayed all around the city signifying the presence of points of interest.
- Be-lavie Keep checking back as the ‘Leicester Life’ sections is always being update as well as lots of other lifestyle and sustainability matters
To sign up and have access to this FREE map, click below
A Local’s Weekend Guide to Leicester Round-Up
If you’ve managed to get this far, I’m pretty sure you’ve noted down a few reasons why you want to visit the city and what experiences you have your eye on.
All that’s left for me to say is I hope you love your visit to my home city and adore it as much as I do for its rich past, friendly locals, culture-filled presents and exciting future as a destination not just made famous by King Richard III but he definitely helped!