Leicester is a city in the East Midlands region of England. It is the capital of the traditional county of Leicestershire, with a population of some 330,000 in the city area and nearly 500,000 in the wider metropolitan area.

What is now known as Leicester began life as a settlement of the Iron Age Corieltauvi tribe. When the Romans conquered England the settlement became an important staging post on the Fosse Way, the road running from Isca (modern Exeter) and Lindum (modern Lincoln) and was known as Ratae Corieltauvorum (the town of the Corieltauvi). The Roman town still lies underneath the modern city centre. As well as thousands of Roman rtefacts, several mosaics and beautiful wall-paintings have been discovered during excavations, an indicator of the wealth of at least some of Ratae's Roman citizens. The forum lies undernath the Holiday Inn hotel and the remains of the town's baths can be seen next to St Nicholas' Church, including the highest portion of Roman wall still standing in the UK.

Ledescestre was named as a city in the Norman Domesday Book (1068) but soon lost that status, only regaining it in 1919.

In 1485, the body of King Richard lll was brought to Leicester after he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. He was buried in Greyfriars Priory but the gravesite was lost over the centuries. It was not until 2012 that his bones were discovered (confirmed as his by DNA analysis) during an excavation of the Greyfriars site.

The Grand Union Canal was constructed in the 1790s, linking Leicester to Birmingham, and the railway first arrived in the city in 1832. Industrialisation brought large mills, a huge boot & shoe industry, textile industries such as stocking- and sock-making, engineering factories and steelworks.

Modern Leicester is perhaps the most multi-cultural and multi-ethnic city in England, with a large Asian community as well as numerous other comunities of differing ethic origins. This cultural mix is reflected in the vibrancy of the city centre and its events, the wide variety of foods on sale in the thriving outdoor market and the multitude of truly excellent ethnic restaurants.



Sights and Activities

  • King Richard III Visitor Centre: Dynasty, Death and Discovery, 4A St. Martins, LE1 5DB, ☎ 0300 300 0900 https://kriii.com/ Life and times of King Richard III; events surrounding the battle in 1485, when he was killed; the discovery in 2012 of his remains; the archaeology, identification, DNA and other tests in confirming the identity of the remains. The museum includes the original burial site, within the site of Greyfriars Priory, viewed through a glass floor.
  • Leicester Cathedral, Peacock Lane, LE1 5PZ, ☎ +44 116 261-5200. The medieval church of St Martin, substantially rebuilt in the 1860s and designated a cathedral in 1927. Since March 2015 the remains of King Richard III have been buried there under a specially-created tombstone. Additional displays include the ceremonial pall which covered the coffin during the reburial period. https://leicestercathedral.org/
  • Leicester Guildhall, Guildhall Lane, LE1 5FQ, ☎ +44 116 253-2569. https://www.visitleicester.info/see-and-do/the-guildhall-p692741 Standing next to Leicester Cathedral, this is one of the best-preserved timber-framed halls in the country, dating back to the 14th century.
  • New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, New Walk. Ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, fossils, Victorian artwork, Picasso ceramics and much more. Open every day from 11am. Free entry.
  • Newarke Houses Museum 20, Newarke Street. Housed in two historic buildings, the museum tells the story of social Leicester. Includes the museum of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and information about Daniel Lambert.
  • St Nicholas Church - The oldest (over 1,200 years) place of Christian worship in Leicester. Open to visitors every Saturday, 2:00pm - 4:00pm, as well as for worship.
  • St. Mary de Castro Church - One of the oldest buildings in Leicester, dating from the early 12th century. The name means "St Mary of the Castle". It stands in the grounds of what was once Leicester Castle, for which it was once the chapel. Open: Monday to Friday 12:00pm - 2:00pm; Saturday 2:00pm - 4:00pm.
  • The National Space Centre, Exploration Dr, LE4 5NS (2 kilometres north of the city centre.), ☎ +44 845 605 2001 A popular tourist attraction with visitors from all over the world. It is the nation's only Space Centre. https://spacecentre.co.uk/
  • Abbey Pumping Station Corporation Road. http://www.abbeypumpingstation.org/ Leicester's museum of Science and Technology. Adjacent to the National Space Centre.
  • The National Gas Museum, 195 Aylestone Rd, LE2 7QJ, ☎ +44 116 250 3190 http://www.nationalgasmuseum.org.uk/



Events and Festivals

Regular events include:

Leicester Comedy Festival in February. One of the best comedy festivals in the country, with hundreds of shows in tens of venues across the city.
The Riverside Festival in June. Fun fair, family activities, beer tent, street market and street food stalls, live music, arts & crafts and much more.
Caribbean Carnival in August. Parades, live music, street market & food, parties and after-parties.
Belgrave Mela in August. Music, street performance, dance, food, arts and Indian culture.
Divali in November. Huge celebrations across the city, with fireworks, city illuminations, street food, live music and more.




Leicester experiences a maritime climate with mild to warm summers and cool winters, rain spread throughout the year, and low sunshine levels.



Getting There

By Plane

East Midlands Airport (EMA) is the main gateway, located about 20 miles from Leicester. Ryanair flies to Alicante, Belfast, Bergerac, Berlin, Budapest, Bydgoszcz, Carcassonne, Dinard, Dublin, Faro, Girona, Granada, Ibiza, Knock, Krakow, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Limoges, Lodz, Málaga, Marrakech, Milan, Murcia, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Reus (Barcelona), Riga, Rimini, Rome, Rzeszów, Tenerife-South, Turin, Valencia and Wroclaw.
Other holiday airlines fly to places throughout Europe

To/from the airport
The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network via the M1 and M42. The closest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, 6 kilometres away. If you book a taxi in advance you can have a reduced price getting to the railway station, as buses don't go here anymore. Skylink branded bus services operate to and from Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Loughborough and Coalville.

By Train

Leicester is on the main London to Leeds rail route operated by East Midlands Trains from London St Pancras station. There are up to four trains to and from the capital every hour. The journey takes up to 1:30h on the slower trains. As with all British trains, an open return valid for one month bought on the day of travel is just marginally more expensive than a single ticket. Tickets bought in advance are often significantly cheaper.

Often cheaper, but longer time-wise, you can travel from London via Nuneaton, Warwickshire. In Nuneaton, change to the Stagecoach bus 48 or Arriva bus 158 both going directly to Leicester directly (very limited service in the evening and at the weekends). Nuneaton bus station is 5 minutes 'walk from the railway station and buses to Leicester depart from stand C.

Leicester also offers direct rail access to Stansted Airport, East Midlands Airport, Luton Airport, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Peterborough, Cambridge and Birmingham.

Cross country services (Cambridge, Stansted, Nuneaton, Coventry and Birmingham) are operated by Cross Country Trains.

Suburban services to Sileby, Barrow-on-Soar, and Lougborough are operated by East Midlands Trains and those towards Wigston and Narborough -by Cross Country Trains.

Leicester station is ten minutes walk from the clock tower in the centre of the city. St Margaret's bus and coach station is 15 minutes' walk from the railway station and five minutes' walk from the clock tower.

By Car

Leicester is adjacent to the M1 Motorway, allowing speedy road access south to London and north to many other major English cities.
The M69 motorway provides good access from the south of the city at M1 junction 21 towards Birmingham, Coventry, Nuneaton and Hinckley.

By Bus

National Express couches arrive at St Margaret's bus station, a short walk to the city centre. There are regular services to and from London, Birmingham and Nottingham where connections are available to most of the UK. Eurolines services to continental Europe.
Megabus also connects Leicester with London and, from there, to other British cities, as well as Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.



Getting Around

By Car

There is a Park & Ride service that runs Monday-Saturday from Meynells Gorse that is, at Braunstone Cross Roads, just off the A47 Every 12 minutes and is run by Paul James Coaches. This service is well-signposted on the A47 and the M1 (leave at junction 21A). This serves the city centre with a reliable, regular, fast service from a large car park. Newer park & ride services run from Enderby to the South of the city and Birstall to the North. You must be a car user to use the Park & Ride services, but as prices are generally per car, this can be a cost-effective way of travelling.

By Public Transport

The city supports an extensive bus network. Services are operated mainly by First Leicester and Arriva. First Leicester services cover the more local (city) destinations, those operated by Arriva can also be useful for reaching areas just outside Leicester, as well as city destinations. First Services leave from a variety of points in the city centre; most Arriva services depart from St Margaret's Bus Station.

By Foot

All city centre locations are easily reachable within walking distance.

By Bike

Cycling in and around Leicester is generally pleasant with there being a good road network and generally well-mannered car and bus drivers. Previous city council policies led to the development of well signposted, well designed cycle-tracks: some of these are now in need of repair and upkeep, but the network remains. Sustrans Route 6 bisects the city North/South, with Route 63 going north-west toward Charnwood Forest.
The city centre Bike Park provides a handy place to park your bike with complete security during the week, daytime. The Bike Park is situated in one corner of the Town Hall (in Town Hall Square) right in the city centre. The friendly staff can help with repairs and local knowledge. There are changing facilities here if you require them.




Leicester is a fantastic place for Indian food. Laguna has existed since the late 70's and operates a traditional tandoor oven, on Narborough Road and the Good Food Guide listed The Rise of the Raj is on Evington Road.

Leicester's large Gujarati community - centred in the Belgrave area - has led to the opening of many excellent Indian vegetarian restaurants in that part of the city. Sharmilee, Sayonara and Phulnath, come highly recommended by local residents. The Chaat House is also a great places for Masala Dosas and other light meals.

The choice of fine restaurants in Leicester is limited and sadly there has been a recent closure of two fine restaurants namely Entropy and The Opera House, however the City is in the grip of major renovation and regeneration which is likely to spur on a greater choice and profusion of fine dining experiences. However excellent food can be had at Watsons Restaurant which is a refined and tasty experience (near the Phoenix Theatre) and The Case near St. Martins, the lunch menu is excellent as are the wait staff, a distinctly French feel is on offer and The Case has the joy of being connected to the delightful Champagne Bar on its ground floor. Dinos on Garrick Walk, Haymarket has an excellent reputation and a very Italianate, exciting menu. A more recent addition with an excellent menu is The Quarter, housed in the former wholesale vegetable market building on Halford Street and close to the Curve theatre, Leicester's new theatre which opened in 2008. This Restaurant/Bar is a beautiful open space with a great menu and superb cocktails!

Some good, mid range restaurants/ bars with menus can be found near the City on Braunstone Gate, the best of these being the ever popular Left Bank, which is cheap, spirited and tasty. Across the road, Mobius is interesting with a lively bar to the ground floor and restaurant upstairs. The Sultan, one of a number of Turkish restaurants along the Narborough Road, has very good value authentic Turkish meals: donor, shewarma, pide and meze.

Mid priced food can also be found easily at decent chains such as Ask, Zizzi, Las Iguanas, La Tasca and three Pizza Express restaurants around the city.

For those with even tighter budgets, Leicester offers a wide array of different takeaways. Leicester takeaways range from Indian food to Italian, American, Turkish, Chinese, Thai and other types of food. Generally, a takeaway meal for two can be purchased between £10 and £15.

Tea rooms and Coffee Shops/Bars abound, most notable are Mrs Bridges on Loseby Lane and Bossa close to the City Gallery, if you want to avoid the usual Starbuck and Costa chains, Fenwicks also houses a pleasant old school style cafe, steeped in the 60's/70's, on its top floor, with excellent food on offer at reasonable prices.




With two universities, Leicester boasts a good number of bars, pubs, and clubs offering a wide variety of alcoholic drinking experiences, offering everything from traditional pubs to champagne and vodka bars.

Leicester also has a small number of bars and a nightclub catering for the lesbian/gay communities.

For those that prefer their drink without alcohol there are also a good number of coffee shops in the city centre, but these usually tend to only open during shopping hours.




There is no shortage of overnight accommodation in Leicester at almost all budget ranges: the tourist information people can help.

View our map of accommodation in Leicester



Keep Connected


Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.


The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.


Accommodation in Leicester

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This is version 10. Last edited at 8:04 on Apr 1, 20 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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