The 14 Best Things To Do In Leicester – Attractions, Tours & Sights

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2023)

Leicester is an exciting East Midlands city, known for its rich history, diverse culture, and thriving commerce.

The city has become a major economic hub in the region and is located at the intersection of two major railway lines, the Midland Main Line and the Birmingham-Peterborough Line.

Leicester offers visitors so much, from Roman ruins and Tudor landmarks for history buffs, to top attractions such as the National Space Centre and Abbey Park for families.

The city also hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, and has a vibrant restaurant, bar and live music scene.

There’s lots to see and do in Leicester, and here are some of my favourites.

Things To Do In Leicester

1. Leicester Cathedral

One of the structures in the city of Leicester that holds the greatest amount of historical importance is St. Martin’s Cathedral, which is also referred to as Leicester Cathedral.

This stunning church can trace its origins all the way back to the 12th century and can be found in the Old Town, which is at the very centre of the city.

The current structure was constructed in several stages over a period of many centuries, incorporating elements from a variety of architectural styles including Norman, Gothic, and Victorian.

Even though it has a long history and has undergone many changes over the course of time, St. Martin’s has maintained its position as the epicentre of civic life in Leicester for many centuries.

King Richard III, who passed away in combat in 1485, has been kept at the University of Leicester since his discovery beneath a car park in the city, he has now been laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral.

Every year, thousands of tourists flock to this historic tomb in order to gain a deeper understanding of King Richard III and the part he played in the history of England.

A trip to Leicester Cathedral will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of any trip to Leicester.

Address: Leicester Cathedral, St Martins House, 2 Peacock Ln, Leicester LE1 5PZ

2. National Space Centre

The National Space Centre is one of the most popular attractions in the UK.

This fascinating museum in Leicester features six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, a 3D SIM ride, and a 42-meter Rocket Tower.

The tower is truly impressive, as it is over 42 metres tall and has a semi-transparent design in the form of a “pillow” that enables visitors to take in the amazing scenery around them.

This world-famous landmark is home to the historic rockets Blue Streak and Thor Able, as well as the informative Gagarin Experience, which guides guests through the early days of space exploration.

The National Space Centre admission ticket not only grants you access to the thrilling rocket tower, but you can also access the planetarium.

Visitors have the opportunity to experience We Are Stars, an exhibit that transports you on an incredible journey through the explosive beginnings of our universe using cutting-edge video, sound, and computer animation technology.

Or, you could attend one of the several live shows that are put on each day and be taken on a guided tour of the night sky.

The National Space Centre is one of the best places to go, regardless of whether you’re interested in astronomy, it’s great fun for all the family.

Address: National Space Centre, Exploration Dr, Leicester LE4 5NS

3. King Richard III Visitor Centre

For those with an interest in history or archaeology, a trip to the King Richard III Visitor Centre is an absolute necessity.

The discovery of King Richard III remains in the Grey Friars car park in 2012, the site of the Grey Friars friary, was Richard III’s burial place in 1485.

It offers visitors an in-depth look at how modern science and traditional archaeological techniques have allowed us to learn more about this iconic king.

The visitor centre explores the life, death, and rediscovery of Richard III through the use of fascinating storytelling and interactive exhibits.

Visitors will be able to learn about DNA sequencing and other cutting-edge technologies that have helped us uncover new information about our history.

In general, it is an informative and exciting experience that will appeal to anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the history and culture of England.

Address: King Richard III Visitor Centre, 4A St Martins, Leicester LE1 5DB

4. New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is a cultural hub that can be found in Leicester city centre.

It is home to a wide variety of natural and cultural collections, including Dinosaur fossils, Ancient Egyptian exhibits and a Wild Space gallery.

The many fascinating art displays include the Victorian Gallery with a range of portraits and landscapes, Picasso Ceramics and the German Expressionist collection.

The museum’s collections cover a wide range of subject matters but a favourite for families with young children is ‘The Den,’ a special space for children aged five and under .

This Leicester museum not only has permanent galleries and collections, but it also hosts temporary exhibitions on a regular basis.

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery makes a great ‘free to enter’ day out, and includes a cafe and gift shop offering a range of exhibition merchandise.

Address: 53 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA

5. Abbey Park

Abbey Park, which can be found in the city of Leicester’s north end, is an attractive public park that has something to offer visitors of all ages and interests.

This park caters to those looking for activities suitable for families as well as those who simply wish to unwind and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Adults and children of all ages are welcome to rent paddleboats, rowboats, or pedalboats at the park’s boating lake.

This is a wonderful way to spend some time outside and take in the sights of the parkland that is located all around you during the warmer months of the year.

In addition, Abbey Park features a bowling green, five hard tennis courts, an orienteering course, and table tennis tables.

You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the ruins of Leicester Abbey, which dates back to the 12th century, and Cavendish House, which dates back to the 17th century.

Address: Abbey Park, Abbey Park Rd, Leicester LE4 5AQ

6. LCFC King Power Stadium

Since its opening in 2002, King Power Stadium has been the primary playing ground for Leicester City Football Club, making it one of the most prestigious sporting venues in the UK.

The stadium, which is located in the middle of Leicester, serves as a focal point for sports fans as well as fans of anything related to Leicester City.

A stadium tour will take you to several different areas of the stadium, such as the player’s tunnel, changing rooms, the dugout area, and the press box.

Visitors can learn about some of Leicester City’s greatest victories, but also some of the most memorable moments in the club’s history.

In addition, the stadium contains a large number of artefacts that are on display, providing spectators with the opportunity to gain insight into the rich history and legacy of this illustrious club.

Address: LCFC King Power Stadium, Filbert Way, Leicester, LE2 7FL

7. Abbey Pumping Station

Abbey Pumping Station is a museum that showcases the industrial, technological, and scientific history of Leicester.

This remarkable site includes a wide variety of exhibits that tell the story of how Leicester dealt with its sewage problems over the course of the centuries.

Some of the exhibits include steam-powered beam engines that are fired up on special event days.

The pumping station was first constructed in 1891 with the intention of pumping the sewage from the city to Beaumont Leys, which is located just outside of the city centre.

This incredible feat of engineering was one of the largest works of its kind in Europe at the time, and it swiftly became a source of civic pride for the residents of Leicester.

In modern times, the Abbey Pumping Station is home to a number of exhibits that highlight various facets of Leicester’s industrial past.

These exhibits include showcases that are dedicated to printing presses, toy manufacturing, and other significant industries that were located in the area.

Address: Abbey Pumping Station, Corporation Rd, Leicester LE4 5PX

8. Leicester Botanic Garden and Attenborough Arboretum

On the outskirts of Leicester you’ll find the stunning Botanic Garden, which is a haven in the middle of the urban sprawl.

This botanical paradise has sprawling grounds and a diverse collection of gardens.

The Gardens are broken up into a number of distinct sections, each of which focuses on a different category of flora and a unique gardening aesthetic.

The Woodland Garden is a peaceful area that is full of native trees and shrubs, many of which are utilised in the traditional herbal remedies that are associated with the Charnwood Forest.

The Medicinal Plant Garden is home to a wide variety of plants that have a history of being utilised in various forms of traditional medicine, including as astringents, tonics, and pain relievers.

The lovely glasshouses at the botanical gardens are home to a diverse range of plants from both temperate and tropical climates, in addition to exceptional collections of alpines and succulents.

You’ll also find the five-acre Attenborough Arboretum situated within the grounds of the Botanic Garden, it was first introduced to the public by Sir David Attenborough in 1997.

Entry is free to the Garden and Arboretum, although guided tours are available to visiting groups at a small cost.

Address: Leicester Botanic Garden and Attenborough Arboretum, 5-23 Carisbrooke Rd, Leicester LE2 3TQ

9. Leicester Line (Grand Union Canal)

The Leicester Line is a picturesque waterway that meanders through the stunning English countryside and is part of the larger Grand Union Canal.

Foxton Locks are a set of ten locks that are constantly busy with narrowboats as they make their way along the canal along the Leicester Line.

The side-ponds that are located on either side of the locks are natural havens that are rich with reed beds and home to a variety of bird species, including herons and other water birds.

An innovative boat lift that was used to raise or lower working boats in water-filled tanks between two different levels is one of the other interesting features that can be found along this historic waterway.

This feature is known as the Foxton Inclined Plane.

Even though this once-revolutionary piece of history is not in use anymore, it has been carefully preserved as a fascinating historical attraction.

Other points of interest along this scenic route include the towns of Market Harborough and Welford, in addition to other notable locations such as Kilby, which is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its distinct ecosystem.

Address: Leicester Line, Leicester

10. Leicester Guildhall

The Leicester Guildhall is both one of the oldest buildings in the city as well as one of the most historically significant.

This magnificent timber-framed structure dates back to the 14th century and has served in a variety of roles over time, including as a court, venue for Shakespeare performances, and a prison.

The Leicester Guildhall is currently used as a performance venue and also houses the Medieval Leicester Galleries.

It is home to a number of fascinating exhibits that detail the history of the building itself, as well as its position in Leicester’s extensive and eventful past.

Exhibits include medieval armour and tapestries to Tudor artworks and ancient coins

Address: Leicester Guildhall, Guildhall Ln, Leicester LE1 5FQ

11. Leicester Market

Leicester Market is one of the oldest markets in the world and an ideal destination for anyone looking to purchase fresh, local produce.

Visitors can find a wide variety of butchers, delicatessens, and fishmongers, in addition to more than 800 stalls selling everything from carpets and curtains to fresh fruit and vegetables.

There are also a lot of clothing shops at Leicester Market, so if you’re looking to give your closet a new look or discover some hidden treasures it’s the place to go.

Address: Leicester Market, Market Pl, Leicester LE1 5GG

12. Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a wonderful place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, and it is conveniently located only a few steps away from the lively campus of the University of Leicester.

A striking World War I memorial arch, designed by the illustrious architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, stands at the core.

The arch is located at the beginning of the Peace Walk, which is a monumental stone path that is bordered by London Road gates and that leads directly into the centre of the park.

Victoria Park has some lovely areas of formal flowerbeds with winding pathways lined with trees and small play areas for children.

Visitors also have access to bowling greens with a restaurant and sports pavilion, croquet areas, tennis courts, and a floodlit artificial turf field that is suitable for use throughout the year.

Address: Granville Rd, Leicester LE1 7RY

13. Curve Theatre

Located in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, the Curve Theatre has two auditoria, the large Main Theatre and a second smaller Studio Theatre.

The building is a wonderful modern structure with a stunning curved facade and 46,000 square metres of glass.

Well worth a visit, tickets for top shows and performances can be purchased online or from the Box Office.

Address: Curve Theatre, 60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB

14. Bradgate Park

Bradgate Park is steeped in history as Bradgate house was the home of the Grey family and the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey who was born in 1537 and was queen for just 9 days in 1553.

Today there is 830 acres of publicly accessible green spaces and countryside with Red and Fallow deer in a herd of around 550 animals.

Bradgate visitor centre is in the middle of the park, near the Deer Barns, where visitors can also find a cafe.

The Centre is free to visit and the exhibitions tell the story of the Estate and its fascinating history.

Address: Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford, Leicester LE6 0HE

FAQ

What is Leicester’s Golden Mile?

Leicester’s Golden Mile is full of great restaurants, jewellers and clothing shops.

The area refers to the length of the Belgrave Road and is famous for its shops selling Indian gold jewellery.

Are there any theme parks in Leicestershire?

Twinlakes Family Theme Park is a 70 acre park located about 20 miles from Leicester city centre.

It is full of family fun things to do, with rollercoasters, a log flume, go carts, an open air independent cinema, toboggan slides, a boating lake and miniature railway.

Where is the Church of St Mary de Castro?

The medieval Church of St Mary de Castro was built around 1107 and is located adjacent to De Montfort University.

What is Leicester best known for?

Leicester has a rich culture and is known for it’s diversity.

Author

  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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