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—  City and Unitary Authority Area  —
City of Leicester
Clock Tower, Central Leicester

Arms of the Leicester City Council
Motto: 'Semper Eadem'
Location within England
Coordinates: 52°38′06″N 1°08′06″W / 52.635°N 1.135°W / 52.635; -1.135
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East Midlands
Ceremonial county Leicestershire
Admin HQ Leicester City Centre
Founded AD 50
as Ratae Corieltauvorum by the Romans
City Status "restored" 1919
 - Type Unitary authority, City
 - Governing body
 - Leadership Leader & Cabinet
 - City and Unitary Authority Area 28.3 sq mi (73.32 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - City and Unitary Authority Area 294,700 (Ranked 25th)
 Urban 441,213
 - Ethnicity
(United Kingdom Census 2006 Estimate)[1]
62.0% White
29.4% S.Asian
4.6% Black
2.6% Mixed
1.5% Chinese and other
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode LE
Area code(s) 0116
Twin Cities
 - People's Republic of ChinaChongqing China
 - GermanyKrefeld Germany
 - NicaraguaMasaya Nicaragua
 - IndiaRajkot India
 - FranceStrasbourg France
 - BulgariaHaskovo Bulgaria
 - PakistanSialkot Pakistan
Grid Ref. SK584044
ONS code 00FN
ISO 3166-2 GB-LCE
Distance to London 102.8 mi (165.4 km)
Demonym Leicesterian

Leicester (pronounced /ˈlɛstər/ ( listen), LES-tər) is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England. It is the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest. In 2006, the population of the Leicester unitary authority was estimated at 289,700, the largest in the East Midlands, whilst 441,213 people lived in the wider Leicester Urban Area. Eurostat's Larger Urban Zone listed the population of the area at 772,400 people as of 2004. Leicester is the 10th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom using the 2001 census definitions and the urban area is the fifteenth largest conurbation in the UK, the second largest in the region behind the Nottingham Urban Area.

Ancient Roman pavements and baths remain in Leicester from its early settlement as Ratae Corieltauvorum, a Roman military outpost in a region inhabited by the Celtic Corieltauvi tribe. Following the demise of Roman society the early medieval Ratae Corieltauvorum is shrouded in obscurity, but when the settlement was captured by the Danes it became one of five fortified towns important to the Danelaw. The name "Leicester" is thought to derive from the words castra of the "Ligore", meaning a camp on the River Legro, an early name for the River Soar. Leicester appears in the Domesday Book as "Ledecestre". Leicester continued to grow throughout the Early Modern period as a market town, although it was the Industrial Revolution that facilitated an unparalleled process of unplanned urbanisation in the area.

A newly constructed rail and canal network routed through the area stimulated industrial growth in the 19th century, and Leicester became a major economic centre with a variety of manufactories in engineering, shoemaking and hosiery production. The economic success of these industries, and businesses ancillary to them resulted in significant urban expansion into the surrounding countryside. The boundaries of Leicester were extended throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming a county borough in 1889, and granted city status in 1919.

Today, Leicester is located on Midland Main Line and close to the M1 motorway. The city has a large ethnic minority population, particularly of South Asian origin, a product of immigration to the United Kingdom since the Second World War. To cater for the South Asian community, there are many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim places of worship and the Melton Road district serves as a focus, containing large numbers of Asian restaurants and other small businesses. Leicester is a centre for higher education, with both Leicester University and De Montfort University being based in the city.



According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a mythical king of the Britons King Leir founded the city of Kaerleir ('Leir's chester' – i.e. fortified town). Even today the name of the city in the Welsh language is Caerlŷr. Leir was supposedly buried by Queen Cordelia in a chamber beneath the River Soar near the city dedicated to the Roman god Janus, and every year people celebrated his feast-day near Leir's tomb.[2] William Shakespeare's King Lear is loosely based on this story and there is a statue of Lear in Watermead Country Park.


St Nicholas' Church and the Jewry Wall

Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least 2000 years. The first known name of the city is the Roman label Ratae Corieltauvorum. Before being settled by Romans it was the capital of the Celtic Corieltauvi tribe ruling over roughly the same territory as what is now known as the East Midlands.

The Roman city of Ratae Corieltauvorum was founded around AD 50 as a military settlement upon the Fosse Way Roman road. After the military departure, Ratae Corieltauvorum grew into an important trading centre and one of the largest towns in Roman Britain. The remains of the baths of Roman Leicester can be seen at the Jewry Wall and other Roman artefacts are displayed in the Jewry Wall Museum adjacent to the site.

Anglo-Saxon and Viking

Knowledge of the town in the 5th century is very patchy. Certainly there is some continuation of occupation of the town, though on a much reduced scale in the 5th and 6th centuries. The area was first settled by the Middle Angles and was subsequently included in the kingdom of Mercia. Leicester was chosen as the centre of a bishopric (and therefore a city) in 679/80 which survived until the 9th century, when Leicester was captured by the Danes (Vikings) and became one of the five boroughs (fortified towns) of Danelaw, although this position was short lived. The Saxon Bishop of Leicester fled to Dorchester-on-Thames and Leicester was not to become a bishopric again until the 20th century.

It is believed the name "Leicester" is derived from the words castra (camp) of the Ligore, meaning dwellers on the 'River Legro' (an early name for the River Soar). In the early 10th century it was recorded as Ligeraceaster = "the town of the Ligor people". The Domesday Book later recorded it as Ledecestre.


Leicester Guildhall, dating from the 14th century

Leicester became a town of considerable importance by Medieval times[citation needed]. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'civitas' (city), but Leicester lost its city status in the 11th century owing to power struggles between the Church and the aristocracy. It was eventually re-made a city in 1919, and the Church of St Martin became Leicester Cathedral in 1927. The tomb of King Richard III is located in the central nave of the cathedral although he is not actually buried there. He was originally buried in the Greyfriars Church in Leicester, but there is a legend that his corpse was exhumed under orders from Henry VII and cast into the River Soar, although there is no evidence for this and some historians believe that his tomb and bones were destroyed with the dissolution of the church.

Leicester played a significant role in the history of England, when, in 1265, Simon de Montfort forced King Henry III to hold the first Parliament of England at the now-ruined Leicester Castle. This was not the only time parliament was held in Leicester, see Parliament of Bats.


Leicester Abbey ruins, now part of Abbey Park.

On 4 November 1530, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was arrested on charges of treason and taken from York Place. On his way south to face dubious justice at the Tower of London, he fell ill. The group escorting him was concerned enough to stop at Leicester. There, Wolsey's condition quickly worsened and he died on 29 November 1530 and was buried at Leicester Abbey, now Abbey Park.

Lady Jane Grey, (1536/7 — 12 February 1554), a great-granddaughter of Henry VII, reigned as uncrowned Queen Regnant of England for nine days in July 1553, and for that reason is called "The Nine Days Queen"[3] was born at Bradgate Park near Leicester.

Queen Elizabeth I's personal favoured courtier, Robert Dudley, who the Queen had one time thought of marrying, and who has been named and known as her possible lover for centuries, was given the Earldom of Leicester.

Civil War

Leicester was a Parliamentarian stronghold during the English Civil War. In 1645, Prince Rupert decided to attack the city to draw the New Model Army away from the Royalist headquarters of Oxford. Royalist guns were set up on Raw Dykes and after an unsatisfactory response to a demand for surrender, the Newarke was stormed and the city was sacked on 30 May. Although hundreds of people were killed by Rupert's cavalry, reports of the severity of the sacking were exaggerated by the Parliamentary press in London.[4]

18th and 19th centuries

The construction of the Grand Union Canal in the 1790s linked Leicester to London and Birmingham and by 1832 the railway had arrived in Leicester; the new Leicester and Swannington Railway providing a supply of coal to the town from nearby collieries. By 1840 the Midland Counties Railway had linked Leicester to the national railway network and by the 1860s, Leicester had gained a direct rail link to London (St Pancras) with the completion of the Midland Main Line.

These developments in transport encouraged and accompanied a process of industrialisation which intensified throughout the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). Factories began to appear, particularly along the canal and the River Soar. Between 1861 and 1901 Leicester's population increased from 68,000 to 212,000 and the proportion employed in trade, commerce, building and the city's new factories and workshops rose steadily. Hosiery, textiles and footwear became major industrial employers joined, in the latter part of the century, by engineering.

During this period a number of what were to become substantial Engineering business were established these included Taylor & Hubbard Ltd, Kent Street, Leicester (Crane Makers, Founders), William Gimson and Company, Vulcan Road (Steam Boilers, Founders), Richards & Co , Martin Street(Founders, Structural Steel workers).

Years of consistent economic growth meant that, for many, living standards increased. The second half of the 19th century also witnessed the creation of many public institutions that we now take for granted such as the town council, the Royal Infirmary and the Leicester Constabulary and the acceptance that municipal organisations had a responsibility for water supply, drainage and sanitation.

The borough expanded throughout the 19th century, most notably in 1892 annexing Belgrave, Aylestone, North Evington, Knighton and the rapidly expanding residential suburb of Stoneygate, home to many of the city's wealthier families and some of its growing middle class. Leicester became a county borough in 1889, but, as with all county boroughs, was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in 1974, becoming an ordinary district of Leicestershire. It regained its unitary status in 1997.

The early 20th century

Leicester was formally recognised as a city in 1919 and a cathedral city on the consecration of St Martin's in 1927. It obtained its current boundaries in 1935, with the annexation of the remainder of Evington, Humberstone, Beaumont Leys and part of Braunstone. In 1900 an important new transport link, the Great Central Railway provided a new goods and passenger route to London.

By the time of Queen Victoria's death in 1901 the rapid population growth of the previous decades had already began to slow and the Great War of 1914-18 and its aftermath had a marked social and economic impact. Leicester's diversified economic base and lack of dependence on primary industries meant that it was much better placed than many other cities to weather the severe economic challenges of the 1920s and 1930s. The Bureau of Statistics of the newly-formed League of Nations identified Leicester in 1936 as the second richest city in Europe and it became an attractive destination for refugees fleeing persecution and political turmoil in continental Europe. These years witnessed the growth in the city of trade unionism and particularly the co-operative movement. The Co-op became an important employer and landowner and when Leicester played host to the Jarrow March on its way to London in 1936, the Co-op provided the marchers with a change of boots (perhaps made at its `Wheatsheaf' works in Knighton Fields?).

Post World War II

The War Memorial in Victoria Park

The years after World War II, particularly from the 1960s onwards, brought many social and economic challenges. There was a steady and irreversible decline in Leicester's traditional manufacturing industries and in the city centre working factories and light industrial premises have now been almost entirely displaced by new businesses. The 1960s and 1970s saw the movement of passengers and freight by rail and barge eclipsed by the growth of road transport. The Great Central Railway and the Leicester and Swannington Railway both closed and the northward extension of the M1 motorway linked Leicester into a growing motorway network. By the 1990s Leicester's central position and its good road transport links to the rest of the country had given it a new strategic importance as a distribution centre and the south western boundaries of the city have attracted many new businesses in both service and manufacturing sectors.

Since the war Leicester has experienced large scale immigration from across the world. Immigrant groups today make up around 40% of Leicester's population, making Leicester one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United Kingdom. Many Polish servicemen were prevented from returning to their homeland after the war by the communist regime, and they established a small community in Leicester. Economic migrants from the Irish Republic continued to arrive throughout the post war period. Immigrants from the Indian sub-continent began to arrive in the 1960s, their numbers boosted by Indians arriving from Kenya and Uganda in the early 1970s.

In the 1990s, apparently drawn by the city's free and easy atmosphere and by the number of mosques, a group of Dutch citizens of Somali origin settled in the city. Since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union a significant number of East European migrants have settled in the city. While some wards in the northeast of the city are more than 70% Asian, wards in the west and south are all over 70% white. The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) had estimated that by 2011 Leicester would have approximately a 50% ethnic minority population, making it the first city in Britain not to have a white British majority.[5]

This prediction was based on the growth of the ethnic minority populations between 1991 (Census 1991 28% ethnic minority) and 2001 (Census 2001 - 36% ethnic minority). However Professor Ludi Simpson at the University of Manchester School of Social Sciences said in September 2007 that the CRE had "made unsubstantiated claims and ignored government statistics" and that Leicester's immigrant and minority communities disperse to other places.[6][7] The Leicester Multicultural Advisory Group was a forum set up in 2001 by the editor of the Leicester Mercury to coordinate community relations, with members representing the council, police, schools, community and faith groups, and the media.


Snow in Spinney Hill Park, Leicester

Areas of Leicester

Areas in the Leicester unitary authority area:

The Office for National Statistics has defined a Leicester Urban Area, which consists of the conurbation of Leicester, although it has no administrative status. The area contains the unitary authority area and several towns, villages and suburbs outside the city's administrative boundaries.


Leicester Town Hall

On 1st April , 1997, Leicester City Council became a unitary authority, local government up until then having been a two-tier system with the city and county councils being responsible for different aspects of local government services (a system which is still in place in the rest of Leicestershire). Leicestershire County Council retained its headquarters at County Hall in Glenfield, just outside the city boundary but within the urban area. The administrative offices of Leicester City Council are in the centre of the city at the New Walk Centre and other office buildings near Welford Place. Some services (particularly the police and the ambulance service) still cover the whole of the city and county, but for the most part the two councils are independent.

After a long period of Labour administration (since 1979), the city council from May 2003 was run by a Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition under Roger Blackmore, which collapsed in November 2004. The minority Labour group ran the city until May 2005, under Ross Willmott, when the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives formed a new coalition, again under the leadership of Roger Blackmore.

In the local government elections of 3 May 2007, Leicester’s Labour Party once again took control of the council in what can be described as a landslide victory. Gaining 18 new councillors, Labour polled on the day 38 councillors, creating a governing majority of +20. Significantly however, the Green Party gained its first councillors in the Castle Ward, after losing on the drawing of lots in 2003, though one of these subsequently resigned and the seat was lost to Labour in a by-election on 10th September 2009. The Conservative Party saw a decrease in their representation, whilst the Liberal Democrat Party was the major loser, dropping from 25 councillors in 2003 to only 6 in 2007.

Leicester is divided into three Parliamentary constituencies, all won by The Labour Party at the 2005 general election: Leicester East, represented by Keith Vaz, Leicester West represented by Patricia Hewitt, and Leicester South, represented by Sir Peter Soulsby.

Coat of arms

Coat of arms, Leicester

The Corporation of Leicester's coat of arms was first granted to the city at the Heraldic Visitation of 1619, and is based on the arms of the first Earl of Leicester, Robert Beaumont. The field is a white cinquefoil on a red background, and this emblem is used by the city council.

After Leicester became a city again in 1919, the city council applied to add to the arms, permission for which was granted in 1929, when the supporting lions, from the Lancastrian Earls of Leicester, were added.

The motto "Semper Eadem" was the motto of Queen Elizabeth I, who granted a royal charter to the city. It means "always the same" but with positive overtones meaning unchanging, reliable or dependable. The crest on top of the arms is a white or silver legless wyvern with red and white wounds showing, on a wreath of red and white.The legless wyvern distinguishes it as a Leicester wyvern as opposed to other wyverns. The supporting lions are wearing coronets in the form of collars, with the white cinquefoil hanging from them.


Leicester compared[8]
UK Census 2001 Leicester East Midlands England
Total population 292,600 4,172,174 49,138,831
Foreign born 23.0% 6.0% 9.2%
White (2001) 63.9% 93.5% 90.9%
White (2006) 62.0% 91.4% 88.7%
South Asian (2001) 29.9% 4.0% 4.6%
South Asian (2006) 29.4% 4.8% 5.5%
Black (2001) 3.1% 0.9% 2.3%
Black (2006) 4.6% 1.4% 2.8%
Mixed (2001) 2.3% 1.0% 1.3%
Mixed (2006) 2.6% 1.4% 1.6%
East Asian and Other (2001) 0.8% 0.5% 0.9%
East Asian and Other (2006) 1.5% 1.0% 1.4%
Christian 44.7% 72.0% 71.7%
No religion 17.4% 15.2% 14.6%
Hindu 14.7% 1.6% 1.1%
Muslim 11.0% 1.7% 3.1%

The United Kingdom Census 2001 showed a total resident population for Leicester of 279,921, a 0.5% decrease from the 1991 census.[9] Approximately 62,000 were aged under 16, 199,000 were aged 16–74, and 19,000 aged 75 and over.[9] 76.9% of Leicester's population claim they have been born in the UK, according to the 2001 UK Census. Mid-year estimates for 2006 indicate that the population of the City of Leicester stood at 289,700 making Leicester the most populous city in East Midlands.[10]

The population density is 3,814 inhabitants per square kilometre (9,878.2/sq mi)[11] and for every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. Of those aged 16–74 in Leicester, 38.5% had no academic qualifications, significantly higher than 28.9% in all of England.[12] 23.0% of Leicester’s residents were born outside of the United Kingdom, higher than the English average of 9.2%.[13]

In terms of districts by ethnic diversity, the City of Leicester is ranked 11th in England. According to 2006 estimates, 58.3% of residents are white British (just under 170,000 people), 3.7% other white (around 10,000 people), 29.4% Asian or Asian British (some 84,000 people), 4.6% black or black British (some 9,000 people), 2.6% mixed race (approximately 6,000 individuals) and 1.5% Chinese or other ethnic group (over 2,000 people).[14] Amongst some of Leicester's emerging ethnic groups are the Poles who now number an estimates 30,000 in the city.[15]


Alongside English there are around 70 languages and/or dialects spoken in the city. In addition to English, many other languages are commonly spoken: Gujarati is the preferred language of 16% of the city’s residents, Punjabi 3%, Somali 3% and Urdu 2%. Other smaller language groups include Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Malayalam and Polish.[16]

With continuing migration into the city, new languages and or dialects from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe are also being spoken in the city.[16]

In primary schools in Leicester, English is not the ‘preferred’ language of 45% of pupils and the proportion of children whose first language is known, or believed to be, other than English, is significantly higher than other cities within the region, or within the UK.[16]

The people and dialect of Leicester are known as Chisit[s].[17]

Population change

Population growth in Leicester since 1901
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1971 2001
Population 211,579 227,222 234,143 239,169 261,339 285,181 273,470 284,208 279,921
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time


Highcross Leicester shopping centre


Engineering is an important part of the economy of Leicester. Companies include Jones & Shipman (machine tools and control systems), Richards Engineering (foundry equipment), Transmon Engineering (materials handling equipment) and Trelleborg (suspension components for rail, marine, and industrial applications). Local commitment to nurturing the upcoming cadre of British engineers includes apprenticeship schemes with local companies, and academic-industrial connections with the engineering departments at Leicester University, De Montfort University, and Loughborough University.


In 2008 Leicester was positioned thirteenth in the retail shopping league of England (CACI Retail Footprint 2008).

There are two main shopping centres in Leicester - the Haymarket Centre and Highcross Leicester. The Haymarket Centre was opened on the site in 1974, and was the first to be built in the City, with parking for up to 500 cars on several levels, two levels of shopping with bus station, and was also the site of the former Haymarket Theatre. Highcross Leicester oppened in 2008 after work to redevelope "The Shires Centre" was completed at a cost of £350 million (creating 120 stores, 15 restaurants, a cinema, 110,000 m2 of shopping space). Smaller shopping centres are St Martin's Square and the Silver Arcade. The Leicester Lanes area has numerous designer and specialist shops. Leicester Market is the largest outdoor covered market in Europe selling a wide variety of goods. The Golden Mile is the name given to a stretch of Belgrave Road renowned for its authentic Indian restaurants, sari shops, and jewellers, The Diwali celebrations in Leicester are focused on this area and are the largest outside India[citation needed].

Leicester has a number of department stores including Fenwick, House of Fraser, John Lewis, and Debenhams.

Food and drink

Henry Walker was a successful pork butcher who moved from Mansfield to Leicester in the 1880s to take over an established business in High Street. The first Walker's production line was in the empty upper storey of Walker's Oxford Street factory in Leicester. In the early days the potatoes were sliced up by hand and cooked in an ordinary fish and chip fryer. In 1971 the Walker's crisps business was sold to Standard Brands, an American firm, who sold on the company to Frito-Lay. Walker's crisps currently makes 10 million bags of crisps per day at two factories in Beaumont Leys, and is the UK's largest grocery brand.[18]

Meanwhile the sausage and pie business was bought out by Samworth Brothers in 1986. Production outgrew the Cobden Street site and pork pies are now manufactured at a meat processing factory and bakery in Beaumont Leys, coincidentally situated near the separately owned crisp factories. Sold under the Walker's name and under UK retailers own brands such as Tesco's Finest, over three million hot and cold pies are made each week.[19] Henry Walker's butcher shop at 4-6 Cheapside is still in business, selling Walker's sausages and pork pies, and is currently trading under the ownership of Scottish company Fife Fine Foods which bought up the Walker's butchers stores chain from Dewhurst's in 2006.

Leicester Market is the largest outdoor covered marketplace in Europe and among the products on sale are fruit and vegetables sold by enthusiastic market stallholders who shout out their prices, and fresh fish and meat in the Indoor Market. Every year during the summer the Leicester city council hold cultural festivals here. In 2009 the Leicester Mela was held in the market area.

Financial and business services

Financial and business service companies with operations in Leicestershire include Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, State Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda, HSBC, and KPMG. Companies that have their head office based in the area include Next (clothing) Mattel UK and the British Gas Business.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Leicester at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross
Value Added[20]
Agriculture[21] Industry[22] Services[23]

Births, marriages and deaths

The staff at the Leicester office registers 9,500 births and 5,700 deaths annually. In addition around 1,000 marriage ceremonies take place within the building every year together with an increasing number of civil partnership registrations. As part of the legal preliminaries to their wedding the citizens of the city of Leicester who wish to marry anywhere other than the Church of England must give a legal notice of their intention to marry. In the course of a year more than 2,000 notices are entered in the records of this office.

The original records of all births, marriages and deaths which have taken place in Leicester since 1837 are kept at the register office. Every year approximately 12,000 certified copies are issued from these historic records.

Business awards

The Leicestershire Business Awards has categories including Investing in Leicestershire, Contribution to the Community, and Entrepreneur of the Year.

Recent Leicestershire winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise are Guidance Ltd, listed on the Lord Lieutenant's website. Guidance Monitoring Limited (GML) specialises in the design and manufacture of sophisticated electronic tagging/tracking systems for asset protection and personnel monitoring including for security and criminal justice applications.[2]


There are ten Scheduled Monuments in Leicester and thirteen Grade I listed buildings: some sites, such as Leicester Castle and the Jewry Wall, appear on both lists.

20th century architecture: Leicester University Engineering Building (James Stirling & James Gowan : Grd II Listed), Kingstone Department Store, Belgrave Gate (Raymond McGrath : Grd II Listed)

Older architecture:

Tourist: Discover Leicester Tour is an open top tour bus linking many of the Leicestershire tourist sites in and around the city. See [3].

Parks: Abbey Park, Botanic Garden, Victoria Park, Gorse Hill City Farm, Castle Gardens, Grand Union Canal, River Soar, Watermead Country Park,Knighton Park.

Industry: Abbey Pumping Station, National Space Centre, Great Central Railway.

Places of worship: Shree Jalaram Prarthana Mandal (Hindu temple)[4], Jain Centre [5], Leicester Cathedral, Masjid Umar (Mosque)[6] Guru Nanak Gurdwara (Sikh), Neve Shalom Synagogue (Progressive Jewish).

Historic buildings: Town Hall, Guildhall, Belgrave Hall, Jewry Wall, Secular Hall, Abbey, Castle, St Mary de Castro, The City Rooms, Newarke Magazine Gateway.

Shopping: Haymarket Centre, Highcross, Market, Golden Mile, Fosse Park, St Martin's Square, Silver Arcade.

Sport: Walkers StadiumLeicester City FC, Welford RoadLeicester Tigers, Grace RoadLeicestershire County Cricket Club, John Sanford Sports Centre – Leicester Riders, Saffron Lane Sports Centre - Leicester Coritanian Athletics Club, City Cricket Academy.

Leicester as viewed looking west to north from the top floor of the Attenborough Tower at the University of Leicester. In the foreground are Victoria Park and various buildings associated with the University of Leicester, and more distant landmarks visible include the Walker's Stadium (Leicester City FC), Welford Road (Leicester Tigers RFC), Leicester Royal Infirmary, New Walk Centre (Leicester City Council), and St. George's Tower.



Leicester railway station lies on the eastern side of the city centre on the A6 London Road.

The rail network is of growing importance in Leicester, and with the start of Eurostar international services from London St Pancras International in November 2007 giving Leicester railway station almost direct links to the continent, this growth is sure to continue.

East Midlands Trains are the InterCity operator running 'fast' and 'semi-fast' services to and from London to northern England, and provide local services throughout the East Midlands, regional services to the West Midlands and East Anglia are provided by Cross Country.

Rail routes run north–south through Leicester along the route known as the Midland Main Line, going south to Bedford, Luton and London; and north to Lincoln, Sheffield, Leeds and York. Junctions north and south of the station link the east–west cross country route, going east to Cambridge, Stansted Airport and Norwich; and west to Nuneaton and Birmingham. Leicester is 99 miles (159 km) from London on the Midland Main Line, the fastest trains taking 1 hour and 07 minutes. Journeys to Sheffield take around 1 hour, Leeds and York are approximately a 2 hour journey. Birmingham and Peterborough are around 1 hour away.

Passengers using the railway station can include a PlusBus ticket with their train ticket which gives unlimited bus travel in a designated area.

Network Rail has plans afoot to re-develop the station incorporating the city council's plans for the surrounding area.[24]

Great Central Railway

Leicester was also on a competing line from London to the North, built by the Great Central Railway in the late 1890s. Served by Leicester Central railway station, the Great Central Main Line closed as a through route in the late 1960s. A preserved section remains, from the newly opened Leicester North railway station (the original route through Leicester has now been rebuilt on), to Loughborough is now a heritage steam railway.


Leicester is close to the heart of the M1 motorway at Junction 21, this section considered to be the busiest part in the country[citation needed]. The M69 motorway also starts near Leicester, and runs to the M6 Motorway and is contiguous with Coventry's eastern bypass.


East Midlands Airport is near Castle Donington which is in North West Leicestershire. Served by low-cost international airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet & Bmibaby and serves charter holidays like Thomson Holidays. This makes Leicester easily accessible from other parts of the world providing regular services to many principal European destinations. This includes Amsterdam, Berlin & Paris. Also there are internal flights to Belfast, Edinburgh & Glasgow and limited services to trans-continental destinations such as Barbados, Mexico & Orlando.

Also Birmingham Airport is only about a 45 or 50 minute drive from Leicester, and London Luton Airport can be reached in an hour or just over. Luton serves similar destinations to East Midlands though Luton services are more regular. Birmingham airport generally flies to places like Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich & Paris with airlines like Air France, KLM & Lufthansa.

Leicester's other local airport is Leicester Airport at Stoughton, Leicestershire.

Buses and coaches

An Arriva Midlands Dennis Dart departing from St. Margaret's bus station, Leicester.

St. Margaret's bus station is the main interchange for coach services in Leicester, while local bus services are split between St. Margaret's and the Haymarket bus station. Leicester currently has two permanent Park and Ride sites, one at Meynells Gorse with buses operating at least every fifteen minutes and a site oppened in 2010 at Enderby. There are also weekend services from County Hall, Glenfield (service 101) and Leicester Racecourse at Oadby (service 102).

Passengers using the railway station can include a PlusBus ticket with their train ticket which gives unlimited bus travel in a designated area.

  • Skylink buses link the city to Loughborough, East Midlands Airport & Derby
  • National Express operate long distance services.
  • Stagecoach Group operate a mixture of mid to long distance bus and coach services including Megabus.
  • Skylink buses operate hourly during the day and two hourly at night to East Midlands Airport.
  • First Group are the parent company of First Leicester who operate mainly high frequency local bus routes.Most First routes are within the city due to its former identity being Leicester City Transport.
  • Arriva Group are the parent company of Arriva Midlands who operate a mixture of local and rural bus services throughout Leicestershire.It operates both in the city and county and it was formerly known as Arriva Fox County,Urban(county)Fox,Midland Fox and Midland Red (East).
  • Centrebus operate local services mainly between local authority estates.
  • A number of coach operators run excursions from the station including Woods Coaches of Wigston.Other operators include Fleetline Buses,Ausden Clarke,Confidence,Hylton and Dawson and Steve Akiens.

National Cycle Network

Many routes that make up the country's National Cycle Network pass through Leicestershire. The Leicester Bike Park is also located in the city centre. The city is also home to Cyclemagic, a community cycling organisation with probably the widest range of bikes and pedal powered machines in the world.


University of Leicester seen from Victoria Park - Left to right: the Department of Engineering, the Attenborough Tower, the Charles Wilson Building.

Leicester is home to two universities, the University of Leicester, which attained its Royal Charter in 1957 and is one of Britain's leading universities ranked 12th by the 2009 Complete University Guide, and the De Montfort University, which opened in 1969 as Leicester Polytechnic and achieved university status in 1992.

It is also home to the National Space Centre located off Abbey Lane, due in part to the University of Leicester being one of the few universities in the UK to specialise in space sciences.

Leicester City Local Education Authority initially had a troubled history when formed in 1997 as part of the local government reorganisation - a 1999 Ofsted inspection found "few strengths and many weaknesses", although there has been considerable improvement since then. While many state schools provide a good standard of education, there have been problems with one or two of the large community colleges, in particular New College on Glenfield Road. However, recent changes of leadership at New College have seen a turnaround in the school's prospects.

Current plans to improve the city's education system include the opening of The Samworth Enterprise Academy, an academy whose catchment area will draw in children from the Saffron and Eyres Monsell estates, co-sponsored by the Church of England and David Samworth, chairman of Samworth Brothers. State school status has been granted to the Leicester Islamic Academy. The city's special schools are currently undergoing reorganisation.

Under the "Building Schools for the Future" project, Leicester City Council has contracted with developers Miller Consortium for £315 million to rebuild Beaumont Leys School, Judgemeadow Community College in Evington, and Soar Valley College in Rushey Mead, and to refurbish Fullhurst Community College in Braunstone.[25]

Leicester City Council underwent a major reorganisation of children's services in 2006, creating a new Children & Young People's Services department.

Leicester was one of the last places in the UK where milk was supplied to primary schools in third pint glass bottles. In 2007 the supplier changed to plastic bottles.


Curve theatre
Phoenix Square cinema and media complex

The city hosts an annual Pride Parade (Leicester Pride), a Caribbean Carnival (the largest in the UK outside London), the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India and the largest comedy festival in the UK Leicester Comedy Festival.One of the renowed places within the city is Melton Road. Based very near the city centre, this road contains many diverse retail stores and restaurants for the locals and outside tourists. From clothing to fine cuisines,specialist bridal/groom makeup and home appliances, this road promotes and holds many authentic cultures globally. Melton Road is regarded as the pin point of Leicester as a multifaith city. For many residents of Leicester, Melton Road is place with strong links to their roots and origins. From an ethnic point of view, this is just one of the many sites within the city that enables every person to feel a sense of homeliness and strong pride of cutlture.

The Leicester International Short Film Festival[7] is an annual event; it began life with humble beginnings in 1996 under the banner title of "Seconds Out". It has become one of the most important short film festivals in the U.K. It usually runs in early November, with venues including the Phoenix Arts Centre.

Arts venues in the city include:



While Leicester has often been neglected as a centre for popular music, it has had a vibrant history that has thrown up a large number of notable, as well as forgettable, artists. Current venues for music include:

One of Leicester's main live music venues, The Charlotte, closed in January 2009, however it has now re-opened

There are also a number of small jazz clubs such as the 'Copa'.


Leicester's main small venue for pop and rock was the Il Rondo on Silver Street. The roll call of bands who played at the Il Rondo runs like a who's Who of early–mid sixties pop and rock. The Yardbirds and The Animals played there before passing into rock history along with less well remembered groups like the Graham Bond Organisation. It also played host to many visiting American blues musicians including Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, Lowell Fulson, Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. The Beatles also came to De Montfort Hall.

Colin Hyde (East Midlands Oral History Archive) carried out a range of interviews about growing up in Leicester in the 1950s and 1960s and began to map where all of the venues of the day were.[27] He identified a number of clubs, pubs, and coffee bars like the Chameleon, run by Pete Joseph, the El Casa, or the El Paso – cafes which stayed open after the pubs closed. Among others, people also remembered the Blue Beat club on Conduit Street, run by Alex Barrows who later started the House of Happiness on Campbell Street. Night clubs such as the Burlesque or the Night Owl became more popular as the 1960s progressed, and they opened up the opportunity to dance all night.

A local beat band called The Foresights were signed to EMI. They were notable for all members wearing glasses.

Also emerging during this period was the band Family, fronted by Leicester man Roger Chapman.


The seventies saw the emergence of the well known cabaret band Showaddywaddy from the city with lead singer Dave Bartram and their 1950s-themed songs. The De Montfort Hall held the first of its annual One-World festivals, with the aim of celebrating the cultural diversity of the city and breaking down the barriers of hostility and suspicion that had a potential to foment racial conflict. Adult and children's groups performed traditional dances and music from the many communities settled here - British, Irish, East European, Asian, African and Caribbean. These festivals continued until the 1980s.


The early 1980s saw Leicester punk band Rabid have two minor indie hits, and there were greater successes later in the decade for Yeah Yeah Noh. The mid-1980s saw the emergence of bands such as Gaye Bykers on Acid, Crazyhead, The Bomb Party, and The Hunters Club, who were all associated with the Grebo scene. The Deep Freeze Mice had formed in 1979 and went on to release ten albums in total. Diesel Park West had their first top 75 hits in the late 1980s. Other notable Leicester bands from this decade included Po! and Blab Happy.


The early nineties were marked in the city's music scene by a period of muted reflection. The band Prolapse, was formed by a group of Leicester University and Polytechnic students in 1992. The band rose in popularity, and quickly gained a record deal with Cherry Red Records, recorded a number of John Peel sessions for Radio 1, and toured with Sonic Youth, Stereolab and Pulp. 1992 also saw the formation in Leicester of Cornershop, an Anglo-Asian agit pop band, who became most famous for the 1998 Number 1 single "Brimful of Asha". Perfume and Delicatessen both also rose to critical acclaim. Leicester is home of the influential Rave – Drum & Bass Formation Records label and associated 5HQ Record Shop.


Since 2000 the city has once more seen a notable upsurge in the success of the local music scene. Several Leicester musicians and/or acts have received considerable media attention in their fields since 2003-2004. Kasabian, followed by The Displacements,[28] The Dirty Backbeats,[29] Kyte,[30]Maybeshewill, Minnaars, Pacific Ocean Fire, and Don's Mobile Barbers[31] all rose from the city to national attention. The Go! Team were first signed to local label Pickled Egg Records, other Leicester musicians such as Frank Benbini, Kav Sandhu & Mikey Shine along with others feature in such bands as Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Happy Mondays, The Holloways, Envy & Other Sins, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw.

The development of the award-winning music festival Summer Sundae with connecting Summer Sundae Fringe Festival (run by the local arts collective Pineapster) as well as other music festivals focused on blues and folk music may well provide the city with more of a focus for its local bands to break out nationally. 2006 saw the closure of The Attik, a venue that for over 20 years had played host to hundreds of bands.

Leicester is also popular for underground music genres such as grime and UK hip hop, leading artists are Kaution, Loose Talent and 3D Camp


The Sports Statue on Gallowtree Gate
The Caterpillar stand at Welford Road Stadium

Professional & semi professional sports teams include: Leicester Riders (basketball), Leicester Tigers (rugby union), Leicester City (football), , Leicester Coritanian A.C. (Athletics), Leicester Phoenix (Rugby League) and the Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Sports clubs include: Leicester Penguins Swimming Club who were awarded Sports Club of the Year by the Leicester Mercury at their annual sports awards for 2007 & 2008.

Leicester Racecourse is located to the south of the city in Oadby.

After a period of success for the football, cricket and rugby teams around the turn of the millennium, Leicester was for some time dubbed (by the local press and local inhabitants at least) the sporting capital of the UK, and a statue commemorating this period was erected in the town centre.

Leicester Tigers on Welford Road are one of the most successful rugby union teams in Europe, having won the European cup twice, the first tier of English rugby eight times, and the Anglo-Welsh cup six times. Notable former players include Englands Rugby world cup winning captain Martin Johnson, Neil Back, Dean Richards and Austin Healey.

Leicester City have also enjoyed a fair degree of success. They have championed the second tier of the English league system on no less than six occasions, competed in the top flight regularly during their history, won three Football League Cups and reached the FA Cup Final four times despite never winning the trophy. In the 2008–09 season they competed in and won League One (third tier), to which they were relegated for the first time. Their current stadium is the Walkers Stadium, situated south of the city centre and near to the site Filbert Street from which they relocated in 2002 after 111 years. Notable former managers include Jimmy Bloomfield, David Pleat, Brian Little, Martin O'Neill and Peter Taylor. Notable former players include Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton, Frank Worthington, Gary Lineker, Alan Smith, Emile Heskey, Neil Lennon, Simon Grayson and Matt Elliott.

Motorcycle speedway racing was staged in Leicester. In the pioneer days speedway was staged at a track known as Leicester Super situated in Melton Road and at 'The Stadium' in Blackbird Road. Post war the Leicester Hunters joined the National League Division Three in 1949 and operated at various levels until closure at the end of 1962. The sport was revived for a spell from 1968 before the sale and subsequent redevelopment of the site ended the Leicester Lions era. The history of Leicester's Speedways is well documented in three books by Allan Jones.

However, planning permission was granted in October 2009 for a brand-new speedway track, to be built at Beaumont Park, and it is hoped that Leicester Lions will return to action in 2010 in the British Premier League.

Leicester Phoenix are a rugby league club based in the centre of the city. The club was founded in 1986. After playing in different BARLA leagues (namely the Midlands and South West Amateur Rugby League and the East Midlands Amateur Rugby League) the Phoenix were one of the 10 founder members of the Rugby League Conference (then the Southern Conference League) in 1997 reaching the grand final in the inaugural season. Since then they have been one of the league's most consistent performers. Their 1st Grade Team currently compete in the Midlands Premier division of the Rugby League Conference.

The city also hosted British and World track cycling and Road Racing championships at its Saffron Lane velodrome in August 1970. The cycle track was improved specially for the event which was televised all over the world. Another first meant that sponsors were allowed to buy sections of the track to utilise for advertising purposes. This was also the first time that a public road - the A46 - was closed in the UK to allow the Road Race to take place:- See The Benny Foster Story published by Fretwell 1971.[citation needed]

In 1989 and 2009, the city hosted the British Special Olympics. This is the adopted charity for the Lord Mayor of Leicester 2008-2009,Councillor Manjula Sood.[32]

Until its demolition in 1999 Granby Halls was a popular live music, exhibition and sports arena in the city. It was also notable as the long serving home of professional basketball team, the Leicester Riders, from 1980 until 1999.

Leicester was also the '2008 European City of Sport'.[33]

Public services

In the public sector, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust is one of the larger employers in the city, with over 12,000 employees working for the Trust. Leicester City Primary Care Trust employs over 1,000 full and part time staff providing healthcare services in the city. Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust employs 3,000 staff providing mental health and learning disability services in the city and county.

In the private sector are Nuffield Hospital Leicester and the Bupa Hospital Leicester.

Notable people

Local media

Leicester is home to the Leicester Mercury newspaper, and the Midlands Asian Television channel known as MATV Channel 6.

BBC Radio Leicester was the first BBC Local Radio station to be based in the city. Other analogue FM radio stations are Leicester Sound, Takeover Radio, Heart 106, 106.6 Smooth Radio and Hindu Sanskar Radio, which only broadcasts during Hindu religious festivals. BBC Asian Network and Sabras Radio broadcast on AM.

The local DAB multiplex has the following stations:

The local Hospital Radio station is Hospital Radio Fox. The first children's radio station, Takeover Radio, broadcasts in Leicester.

Sister cities

Leicester has a number of twin/sister cities[34], these are:


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics". 
  2. ^ Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, translated by Lewis Thorpe, p. 81 and 86, Harmondsworth, 1966
  3. ^ "Official Website of the British Monarchy – Jane". 
  4. ^ "1645:The Storming of Leicester and the Battle of Naseby". 
  5. ^ "Equality and Human Rights Commission - home page". 
  6. ^ "Research (The University of Manchester)". 
  7. ^ "Equality and Human Rights Commission - home page". 
  8. ^ United Kingdom Census 2001 (2001). "Leicester (Local Authority)". Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  9. ^ a b "Leicester profile of 2001 census". Office for National Statistics. 2003. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  10. ^ "Mid-year estimates for 2006" (XLS). Office of National Statistics. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  11. ^ "Leicester population density". Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  12. ^ "Leicester key statistics". Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  13. ^ "Leicester country of birth data". Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  14. ^ "Leicester ethnic grouping percentages". Office of National Statistics. 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ a b c "The Diversity of Leicester May 2008, A Demographic Profile". Leicester City Council. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  17. ^ Leicester Mercury, 16 July 2004
  18. ^ Walkers Crisps, Coming to the crunch - The Manufacturer, October 2006
  19. ^ Our company - Samworth Brothers, October 2007
  20. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  21. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  22. ^ includes energy and construction
  23. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  24. ^ "Plans for £150m station facelift". 2008-03-06. 
  25. ^ Schools building deal is signed and sealed - Leicester Mercury, 19 December 2007
  26. ^ "Curve website". 
  27. ^ talking history:the newsletter of the East Midlands Oral History Archive. Number 7: May 2003.
  28. ^ "The Displacements - Track Reviews - NME.COM". 
  29. ^ "Mark Lamarr's Maida Vale Sessions - The Dirty Backbeats". 
  30. ^ "Kyte Announce New 2008 Tour Dates".,article&id=3503. 
  31. ^ "Don's Mobile Barbers - Boom Times!". 
  32. ^ "City to host its second 'games'". BBC News Online. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  33. ^ Leicester City Council - European City of Sport 2008
  34. ^ "Twinning". Leicester City council. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 

Further reading

  • Hoskins, W. G. (1957) Leicestershire: an illustrated essay on the history of the landscape. London: Hodder & Stoughton

External links

Coordinates: 52°38′03″N 1°08′19″W / 52.63422°N 1.13852°W / 52.63422; -1.13852

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Leicester [1] is the largest city in the East Midlands region of England, 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 metropolitan area.


Leicester is one of the oldest English cities, having been founded by the Romans as Ratae Coritanorum in 50 CE. Presently, it is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United Kingdom. It is also Britain's first environment city. Leicester has grown rapidly throughout the centuries and is now a cosmopolitan city with friendly people from all races, backgrounds and cultures creating a culturally diverse city.

Get in

By road

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 Hinkley.
  • As noted below, for non-motorised road users, there is good access to the city for cyclists, from all points of the compass.
  • First-time visitors to the city coming by car may find the inner ring road and associated one-way systems confusing and somewhat daunting. Plan your journey well in advance, be patient, and look for signposts for the many car-parks close to the city centre; or use the Park & Ride services (see below under 'Bus')

The city offers a Park and Ride service Meynells Gorse Park and Ride, see the National Park and Ride Directory [2]

  • Leicester is on the main London to Leeds rail route operated by East Midlands Trains. There are up to four trains to and from the capital every hour. The journey takes about one hour ten minutes. *Leicester also offers direct rail access to [[*Stansted Airport [3]]], Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Cambridge and Birmingham.
  • Cross country services are operated by Cross Country and East Midlands Trains (That is to say, to Cambridge, Stansted, Nuneaton, Coventry & Birmingham).
  • Leicester station is conveniently situated close to the city centre. It is a very busy, compact station. The station staff are consistently friendly and often seem to bend over backwards to help both visitors and regular travellers.
  • The only suburban services are those operated by East Midlands Trains towards Sileby, Barrow-on-Soar, and Lougborough and the Birmingham services which call at Wigston and Narborough.
  • The city is close to East Midlands Airport situated in the county of Leicestershire and a drive should not take much longer than 30 minutes depending on the traffic situation, a recently introduced bus service "Airbus" from St Margarets bus station has made the bus journey much easier; this service runs regularly during the day, with an infrequent service overnight. Previously journeys by public transport were more complicated, involving a bus to Loughborough and then the train to Leicester.
  • Birmingham International Airport is also within a 45 minute to 1 hour drive from Leicester. There are also a limited number of flights available from Coventry Airport about a 45 minute drive away.
  • Stansted and Luton airports are linked directly to Leicester by regular train services.
  • Manchester airport can be reached easily by train, changing at Sheffield.
  • Gatwick airport can be reached easily by train, chainging at Luton or Bedford.
  • There is a small airfield for private planes at Stoughton to the east of the city.

By bus

National Express offer services into St Margarets Bus Station on the edge of the city centre, there are regular services to and from London and Birmingham where connections are available to most of the UK. Many services serve Leicester on a 'once a day' basis to and from many major UK cities. There are also services operated by local companies which serve the Asian communities in West London (Southall), Bradford, and other areas - these services are not gererally well advertised, may be short-lived, but can be cheap, and get you to out-of-the-way areas.

  • All city centre locations are easily reachable within walking distance.
  • 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 Margarets Bus Station. Be warned: First Leicester's bus services are notorious for not sticking to time tables and arriving at times their drivers deem appropriate. It can be advisable to walk smaller distances or use arriva or other routes operated by other companys.
  • Stagecoach run a regular service (Route 48) from St Margarets to Hinckley and Coventry
  • There are services operated by other companies - some are 'one route' only operators; you may find that a different company will run the same service on a Sunday (or during evenings) to the day-time operator.
  • You will generally be able to get advice on bus travel from St Margarets bus station.
  • You will find stops for most services in the City Centre streets. These stops can be confusing - even for locals!
  • Tickets are not interchangable between different companies; However, there is day tickets for all buses in the Leicester area called FlexiDays. These can be bought on any bus in Leicester for in the Leicester zone £4.00 and in the County zone £4.50 Day tickets can offer significant savings over single, and even return tickets - ask the driver for advice. Fares are expensive for very short journeys, but can be remarkable value if travelling to the suburbs or further.
  • There is one '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 . This service is well signposted on the A47, and M1 (leave at junction 21A). This serves the city centre with a reliable, regular, fast service from a large car park. There are Saturday only Park & Ride services from County Hall (A50 - Glenfield), and Oadby Leicester racecourse (A6 - Oadby). You MUST have to be a car user to use the Park & Ride services.
  • 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 to the right 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.
  • Remember that Leicester is effectively in a 'bowl', so whichever way you enter the city (except along the river / canal) you are likely to have to climb to leave it! As a cyclist you may wish to avoid routes leading directly to the local M1 junctions (21, 21A, & 22)as these carry heavy and fast motor traffic.
  • There is free, signposted motorcycle parking in the city centre - in Abbey Street and behind the Town Hall.
  • National Space Centre
  • Gas Museum
  • Leicester Guildhall
  • Jewry Wall Museum
  • New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
  • Abbey Park
  • The Golden Mile (Belgrave)
  • The City Gallery (Granby Street)
  • Those who wish to visit historic sights can visit the Jewry Wall museum located near the city centre, this is the 2000 year old remains of the Roman Bath House in the City and is the second largest such survival in the UK, the adjacent Mueseum tells Leicester's history since ancient times. The City had the roman name, Ratae Corieltauvorum.
  • The National Space Centre is also a popular tourist attraction with tourists visiting daily from all over the world. It is the nation's only Space Centre of its kind and features a space theatre.
  • Abbey park located near the Belgrave roundabout, is a large park with a pets corner, large sports fields, childrens play areas and beautiful gardens. The park features a 12th Century Abbey ruin and the ruins of Cavendish House, destroyed during the English Civil War and the seige of Leicester.
  • Bradgate Park located just northwest of the city, encompassing 850 acres of land. A good place to take a walk or a picnic, there is also a visitor's centre on site, the ruins of the former home of Lady Jane Grey (Queen for 9 days) Bradgate House, are within the park as is Old John, a hilltop folly in the shape of a beer tankard built in 1784. Both structures were built by the Grey family (Lady Jane's family) of Groby from the 15th Century onwards. The park is also a protective zone for many bird, deer and plant species.


Ticket prices shown are those for one adult ticket and are subject to change.

Football (Soccer): Leicester City Football Club [4], Walkers Stadium, Filbert Way, Leicester. Tickets: £23-30.

Rugby Union: Leicester Tigers [5], Welford Road Stadium, Welford Road, Leicester. Tickets: £20-34.

Cricket: Leicestershire County Cricket Club [6], County Ground, Grace Road, Leicester. Tickets: £12.

Basketball: Leicester Riders [7], John Sanford Sports Centre, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester. Tickets: £10.


The city centre of Leicester has a vibrant and friendly atmosphere along with many department stores and a large shopping centre called Highcross (formerly 'The Shires', High Street. Shoppers can expect to find the majority of items and services offered within a main city in the UK. As noted below The Shires is currently undergoing a huge expansion - visitors may find some disruption due to the building works.

The Haymarket centre has also recently undergone changes and has improved within the last 10 years.

Leicester also has some interesting independent shops around the 'Lanes' area leading from Loseby Lane. The St Martins area also has interesting small boutiques, delicatessans and cookware shops. The Shires has recently undergone a transformation and expansion, changing its name to Highcross. Highcross opened in September 2008 and features many new shops and restaurants including John Lewis, Topman, Levis, Superdrug and Hugo Boss amongst others.


Leicester is a fantastic place for Indian food. Leicester's oldest Indian restaurant, the Taj Mahal, on Highfields Street. It has been there for some 40 years. Also worth a try are Laguna which has existed since the late 70's and opertes a traditional tandoor oven, on Narborough Road and the Good Food Guide listed The Rise of the Raj 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[8], Sayonara and Phulnath[9], 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 presently 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 it's 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 vegatable market building on Halford Street and close to the soon to open Curve, Leicester's new theatre expected to open in Autumn 2008. This Restaurant/Bar is a beautiful open space with a great menu and superb cocktails!

Some good, mid range restaurants/ bars with menu's 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 restuarant upstairs. Mid priced food can also be found easily at decent chains such as Ask, Zizzi, Las Iguanas, La Tasca and two Pizza Express restaurants.

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 it's 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 a Travelodge very close to the City centre on Vaughan Way, close to the High Street. There is a Campanile Hotel close to the city centre, and very handy for the Golden Mile, and Abbey Park. (This is on the edge of the once notorious St Matthew's Estate, visitors should not be put off by the electronic access via huge gates - it's perfectly safe & secure). More upmarket is the Holiday Inn at St Nicholas Circle, just at the end of High Street; there is another Holiday Inn, to the south of the city, on Narborough Road, closer to the M1 junction 21. The Ramada Jarvis Grand [10] hotel is situated right in the city centre, as is the Comfort Inn, which is atop the Abbey Street car park. A further very popular hotel is the Belmont Hotel just off London Road.

  • There is no shortage of overnight accommodation in Leicester at almost all budget ranges - the tourist information people can help.
  • Rutland Water, a reservoir located 20 miles east of Leicester is a popular location for fishing, picnics and watersports such as sailing and jetskiing.
  • As noted above, Bradgate Park is close to the city, and very popular with locals for a breath of country air - it can, however get crowded on Bank Holidays.
  • The canal / River Soar is a popular green artery running both north and south of the city. North through Abbey Park towards Birstall is a pleasant walk, and return by bus from Birstall is possible; going south through the Aylestone Country Park, to Aylestone, Blaby and beyond will quickly get you into open country, with the option of returning either by bus or walking back along the Great Central Way (part of the Sustrans National Cycleroute).
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEICESTER, a municipal county and parliamentary borough, and the county town of Leicestershire, England; on the river Soar, a southern tributary of the Trent. Pop. (1891) 174,624, (1901) 211,579. It is 99 m. N.N.W. from London by the Midland railway, and is served by the Great Central and branches of the Great Northern and London and North-Western railways, and by the Leicester canal.

This was the Roman Ratae (Ratae Coritanorum), and Roman remains of high interest are preserved. They include a portion of Roman masonry known as the Jewry Wall; several pavements have been unearthed; and in the museum, among other remains, is a milestone from the Fosse Way, marking a distance of 2 m. from Ratae. St Nicholas church is a good example of early Norman work, in the building of which Roman bricks are used. St Mary de Castro church, with Norman remains, including sedilia, shows rich Early English work in the tower and elsewhere, and has a Decorated spire and later additions. All Saints church has Norman remains. St Martin's is mainly Early English, a fine cruciform structure. St Margaret's, with Early English nave, has extensive additions of beautiful Perpendicular workmanship. North of the town are slight remains of an abbey of Black Canons founded in 1143. There are a number of modern churches. Of the Castle there are parts of the Norman hall, modernized, two gateways and other remains, together with the artificial Mount on which the keep stood. The following public buildings and institutions may be mentioned - municipal buildings (1876), old town hall, formerly the gild-hall of Corpus Christi; market house, free library, opera house and other theatres and museum. The free library has several branches; there are also a valuable old library founded in the 17th century, a permanent library and a literary and philosophical society. Among several hospitals are Trinity hospital, founded in 1331 by Henry Plantagenet, earl of Lancaster and of Leicester, and Wyggeston's hospital (1513). The Wyggeston schools and Queen Elizabeth's grammar school are amalgamated, and include high schools for boys and girls; there are also Newton's greencoat school for boys, and municipal technical and art schools. A memorial clock tower was erected in 1868 to Simon de Montfort and other historical figures connected with the town. The Abbey Park is a beautiful pleasure ground; there are also Victoria Park, St Margaret's Pasture and other grounds. The staple trade is hosiery, an old-established industry; there are also manufactures of elastic webbing, cotton and lace, iron-works, maltings and brick-works. Leicester became a county borough in 1888, and the bounds were extended and constituted one civil parish in 1892. It is a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of Peterborough. The parliamentary borough returns two members. Area, 8586 acres.

The Romano-British town of Ratae Coritanorum, on the Fosse Way, was a municipality in A.D. 120-121. Its importance, both commercial and military, was considerable, as is attested by the many remains found here. Leicester (Ledecestre, Legecestria, Leyrcestria) was called a "burh" in 918, and a city in Domesday. Until 874 it was the seat of a bishopric. In 1086 both the king and Hugh de Grantmesnil had much land in Leicester; by i 101 the latter's share had passed to Robert of Meulan, to whom the rest of the town belonged before his death. Leicester thus became the largest mesne borough. Between 1103 and 1118 Robert granted his first charter to the burgesses, confirming their merchant gild. The portmanmote was confirmed by his son. In the 13th century the town developed its own form of government by a mayor and 24 jurats. In 1464 Edward IV. made the mayor and 4 of the council justices of the peace. In 1489 Henry VII. added 48 burgesses to the council for certain purposes, and made it a close body; he granted another charter in 1505. In 1589 Elizabeth incorporated the town, and gave another charter in 1599 James I. granted charters in 1605 and 1610; and Charles I. in 1630. In 1684 the charters were surrendered; a new one granted by James II. was rescinded by proclamation in 1688.

Leicester has been represented in parliament by two members since 1295. It has had a prescriptive market since the 13th century, now held on Wednesday and Saturday. Before 1228-1229 the burgesses had a fair from July 31 to August 14; changes were made in its date, which was fixed in 1360 at September 26 to October 2. It is now held on the second Thursday in October and three following days. In 1473 another fair was granted on April 27 to May 4. It is now held on the second Thursday in May and the three following days. Henry VIII. granted two three-day fairs beginning on December 8 and June 26; the first is now held on the second Friday in December; the second was held in 1888 on the last Tuesday in June. In 1307 Edward III. granted a fair for seventeen days after the feast of the Holy Trinity. This would fall in May or June, and may have merged in other fairs. In 1794 the corporation sanctioned fairs on January 4, June 1, August 1, September 13 and November 2. Other fairs are now held on the second Fridays in March and July and the Saturdays next before Easter and in Easter week. Leicester has been a centre for brewing and the manufacture of woollen goods since the 13th century. Knitting frames for hosiery were introduced about 1680. Boot manufacture became important in the 19th century.

See Victoria County History, Leicester; M. Bateson, Records of Borough of Leicester (Cambridge, 18 99) .

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  1. A city in Leicestershire, England

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Leicester is a city in the Midlands, in England. It is the home of Walker's Crisps, Leicester City F.C. and the Leicester Tigers rugby team. It also has a cricket team for adults and juniors called Leicestershire CCC. It has three MPs- one is the Labour's Keith Vaz. Leicester has a wide variety of people from other countries. Leicester is known for having many cultures with people of all different religions living in the City. Leicester is divided into many 'areas' such as Belgrave, Highfields, Rushey Mead.

The word 'Leicester' is pronounced Lester.

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