Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Leicester, a city in the East Midlands region of England, is a place of great historical and cultural significance. It is home to numerous sites that attract visitors from all over the world, giving them some amazing insights into British history and so many things to do to enjoy its place in British history.

Leicester’s history dates back more than 2000 years. Romans encountered an Iron Age settlement in Leicester in the 1 or 2nd century BC. Evidence of the Romans can still be found in Leicester.

Leicester was made famous worldwide recently upon the release of the controversial film The Lost King. The film is based upon the astounding discovery of King Richard III underneath a Leicester car park.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Just half an hour from Leicester you can experience the Battle of Bosworth and discover how King Richard III was defeated in the conflict which transformed the history of Britain, bringing the Middle Ages to an end and ushering in the Tudor dynasty.

Like many England destinations, such as Kidderminster, there are just many places to visit in Leicester and Leicestershire and enough history to be learned during a visit, as Leicester is rich in well-documented historical events and many artefacts kept intact in its many museums.

A view towards Bradgate Park from the shore of Cropston Reservoir in Leicestershire in summertime

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Where is Leicester City Located?

Leicester is a city in the East Midlands region of England, the largest city of the ceremonial and historic county of Leicestershire. Leicester is situated in the central UK, The city lies on the River Soar and is close to the eastern end of the National Forest. It is to the south of Nottingham, northeast of Birmingham and Coventry, and west of Peterborough.

How to get to Leicester City from London?

 It takes just 66 minutes to come to Leicester on a direct train from London, St Pancras. Leicester lies on the London-Sheffield and the Birmingham-Peterborough lines. Leicester Railway Station is ideally situated on A6 London Road. You can walk straight out of the station and into the main shopping area of the city within five minutes. 

By car, the drive is around 2.5 hours north of London.

A visit to Leicester city is a visit that you will remember, so here is a guide that will inform and direct you to the top attractions in Leicester.

22 Top Attractions In Leicester, England

Leicester Cathedral

Leicester Cathedral is a magnificent example of ancient architecture, with a rich history dating back over 937 years. It is famous for being the final resting place of King Richard III, whose remains were discovered in a car park in 2012 and re-interred in the Cathedral in 2015.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Visitors who come to Leicester Cathedral can explore its rich history and architecture through a guided tour, which includes a visit to the tomb of King Richard III, the Chapter House, and the Bell Tower.

Leicester Cathedral King Richard III Tomb

Leicester Cathedral is open Sundays to Tuesdays from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Usually, admission is free, but donations are welcome.

20 Magnificient Cathedrals in England to see

Leicester Abbey and Cavendish House

The ruins of Leicester Abbey and Cavendish house are about a mile north of the city centre on the western side of the River Soar across from Abbey Park. The Abbey dates back to the 12th century and Cavendish House is a 17th-century mansion built on the Abbey ruins.

In 1326 the abbey was caught up in political strife. Hugh le Despenser, Edward II’s favourite, stored valuables at the abbey for safekeeping. Soldiers in the service of the Earl of Lancaster attacked the abbey to seize the property.

In 1530 Henry VIII  accused Thomas Wolsey of treason, and he began a journey to London to clear his name. But on his way south, the Cardinal was taken gravely ill and he stopped at Leicester Abbey where it is written that he said  ‘Father Abbot, I am come hither to leave my bones amongst you’.

Wolsey lay in his coffin until ‘four or five of the clock at night’ so that ‘all men might see him dead there without feigning’, after which his body was moved to the church, ‘with many torches alight’. His body lay in ‘Our Lady Chapel’, and candles burned through the night. At four o’clock in the morning, Mass was said and afterwards, the Cardinal’s body was finally interred in the grounds. To this day though the mystery around where Wolsey’s body was buried is still a mystery. There’s another movie about finding the body in this somewhere.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

The Abbey was dissolved in 1538 and the land was leased, by 1562 the land was in the hands of Henry Hastings who built a mansion out of the materials salvaged from the abbey. In 1613 the house was sold to William Cavendish, first Earl of Devonshire. Many important people were guests at the house, including Charles I, who spent the night of 24 August 1642 here before, on the next day, he raised his standard at Nottingham.

During the Civil War Cavendish House was used by King Charles I after his successful siege of Leicester. When the king and his entourage left the house was ransacked and burned by Parliamentary soldiers. It was never restored.

King Richard III Visitor Centre

King Richard III Visitor Centre is a museum dedicated to the life and reign of King Richard III.

He is one of England’s most controversial monarchs due to the drama that trailed his reign and the drama that still managed to find him in death.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©King Richard III Visitor Museum

The Museum features a range of interactive exhibits and displays, including a virtual reality experience that allows visitors to explore the Battle of Bosworth, where King Richard III was killed in 1485.

The National Space Centre

The National Space Centre is a state-of-the-art attraction that celebrates the science and technology behind space exploration. It features a wide range of interactive exhibits and displays that provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the wonders of the universe.

the UK national space centre, Leicester

The centre is home to several unique features, including the Rocket Tower, which houses a range of real rockets and satellites, and the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium, which offers visitors a breathtaking tour of the night sky.

Visitors to the National Space Centre can explore the exhibits at their own pace or participate in one of the Centre’s many interactive activities, such as building a rocket or launching a satellite.

Leicester Museum And Art Gallery

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery used to be known as the New Walk Museum and this is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and history. It opened its doors in 1849 and has continued to serve the public ever since.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©Leicester Museum

The Museum’s collection includes works of art, fossils, and other artefacts that showcase the city’s rich heritage. Come with your loved ones and enjoy some arty and magical moments together while learning more about ancient artefacts.

Popular exhibits include the “Dinosaur Gallery,” which features a collection of dinosaur fossils, and the “World Arts Gallery,” which showcases artefacts from around the world. You do not want to miss it as it is well-packed with a lot of historical and educational pieces.

Jewry Wall Museum

Jewry Wall Museum is located in the heart of Leicester and focuses on the city’s Roman history. The Museum is built around the ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse, which dates back to the 2nd century AD.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©By NotFromUtrecht – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Jewry Wall Museum is important in British culture because it highlights the impact of the Roman occupation on the country’s history. The Museum’s exhibits include artefacts such as coins, jewellery, and pottery, as well as interactive displays that show the ancient Roman way of life.

Belgrave Hall And Gardens

Belgrave Hall and Gardens is a historic house on Leicester’s outskirts. The house was built in the early 18th century and has been restored to its original grandeur to give the younger generation an idea of what it looked like to belong to the upper class from 1714 to 1830.

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Belgrave Hall and Garden is important in the history of Leicester as it represents the grandeur of the city’s upper class during the Georgian era. Visitors can see how the wealthy lived during this period and admire the beautiful architecture and gardens.

The Hall’s features include a grand staircase, a drawing room, and a dining room. The gardens feature a variety of plants and flowers, as well as a fountain and a pond. Visitors can also attend special events throughout the year, such as garden tours and craft fairs.

Bradgate Park

Bradgate Park is a must-visit attraction site in Leicester, England. It is a large public Park located in Charnwood Forest, covering an area of about 850 acres. The Park is well known for its beautiful scenery and rich history that span decades of interesting events and happenings in England.

This iconic Park is home to various attractions, including large herds of red and fallow deer, goose, and some of the oldest rocks in England.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Bradgate Park is also known for its association with Lady Jane Grey who was born here. She was proclaimed Queen of England for nine days in 1553 and executed later for high treason, which she confessed to committing during her trial.

Visitors can explore the Park on foot or by bicycle. There are several picnic areas throughout the Park, where you can simply sit on the grass or a stone or lay a mat to sit on while you enjoy your picnic with loved ones.

The Great Central Railway

The Great Central Railway is a famous old railway line from Loughborough to Leicester. It is the only double-track mainline heritage railway in the UK and a popular attraction for train enthusiasts and families.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©Visit Leicester

The Railway dates back to the 19th century. It features steam and diesel locomotives, historic carriages, and a range of special events throughout the year.

The Great Central Railway is an important part of British railway history and is a unique attraction in Leicester. It provides visitors with a glimpse into the past, showcasing the engineering feats and innovations of the railway industry.

King Power Stadium

The King Power Stadium is a football stadium located in Leicester. It is the home of Leicester City Football Club, which won the English Premier League in 2016 in a historic underdog victory.

The King Power Stadium has a capacity of over 32,000. It has been a popular attraction for football fans and visitors to Leicester since the stadium became home to the Leicester City football team in 2002.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

The King Power Stadium offers guided tours, including a visit to the trophy room, changing rooms, and players’ tunnel. The stadium is open to visitors throughout the year, and tour times vary. For bookings, visitors are advised to check the website for details.

De Montfort Hall

De Montfort Hall, erected over a century ago, is a well-known entertainment venue in the heart of Leicester city. It has played an important role in British culture and the arts scene since it was built.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©Par NotFromUtrecht

The Hall was constructed in 1913 and was originally intended as a memorial to Simon de Montfort, who was a leading figure in the Second Barons’ War in the 13th century. It was designed by Shirley Harrison, a local architect, and opened by King George V and Queen Mary on July 21st, 1913.

Over the years, De Montfort Hall has hosted a wide variety of events, including concerts, comedy shows, plays, and dance performances. It has welcomed some of the biggest names in entertainment, from The Beatles to David Bowie to Elton John.

De Montfort Hall is open whenever there is a show at the iconic Hall, which sees many people in attendance irrespective of what time of day the event holds.

New Walk

Leicester’s New Walk area is a pedestrianised walkway that runs out of the city centre to Victoria Park. It’s lined with bars and restaurants and features the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery at the end of the New Walk is Victoria Park.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©Friends of New Walk

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a fine green space next to the University of Leicester campus.

The centrepiece of the park is the magnificent memorial arch, built to commemorate the dead of the First World War. The arch was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, as were the beautiful wrought iron gates at the park’s Peace Walk and London Road entrances.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Leicester Market

The Leicester Market, located in the heart of Leicester, England, is a bustling and vibrant hub of culture and commerce that has been serving the community for over 700 years. It serves as a place where buyers meet sellers to carry out business activities that drive the economy of this city.

This lively Market is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the city and discover its rich history and vibrant atmosphere. In addition, visitors can buy locally crafted products and various items that will remind them of their trip to Leicester in a heartbeat.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

The Leicester Market is an important part of the city’s cultural and economic fabric. It serves as a gathering place for people from all walks of life.

The Market is home to over 300 traders who offer various goods and services, from fresh produce and meat to clothing, jewellery, and crafts. So, you can find anything you need there.

The Golden Mile

The road runs along the line of an ancient Roman road that linked Leicester to Lincoln and in reality, is called Belgrave Road but it came upon the Golden Mile nickname probably due to the incredible Indian jewellery shops located on the Mile.

Not only is the Golden Mile famous for its brilliant shops but the Indian restaurants are top notch and this is where you want to come when celebrating Diwali – The Golden Mile hosts the biggest Diwali Festival outside of India.

Spinney Hill Park

Spinney Hill Park is a popular green location that attracts locals and tourists. Visit the Park for a moment with nature and its friendly elements and for a relaxing time alone or in the company of loved ones.

Spinney Hill Park was opened in 1885. It covers an area of 34 acres. The Park has been a favourite destination for over a century, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

The Park offers several amenities for visitors to enjoy. The playground is a popular spot for families with children, while sports enthusiasts can use the football pitches, tennis courts, and basketball courts. The Park’s bandstand is also a regular venue for local music performances.

This Park opens every day, making it an ideal spot you can stroll to whenever you want.

Evington Park

Nestled in the heart of the Evington district in Leicester lies Evington Park, a beautiful green space that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a great place to sit to hear the birds chirp and the crickets sound and feel the wind in your hair.

Evington Park covers an area of 44 acres and features a range of amenities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. One of the Park’s most prominent features is its beautiful lake, which is home to a variety of waterfowl, such as swans and ducks.

Visitors can also enjoy the many walking paths that wind their way through the Park’s picturesque landscape. The paths are dotted with mature trees and flower beds that have existed for many decades.

Van Gogh -The Immersive Experience

Van Gogh – The Immersive Experience is an exhibition that offers visitors the chance to step inside the world of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most celebrated artists.

People take in the immersive Van Gogh Alive Exhibit

The exhibition is a multi-sensory experience that uses projection, sound, and even scent to bring Van Gogh’s paintings to life, giving you a front-row view of his life.

Visitors can explore a range of Van Gogh’s works, from his famous sunflowers to his lesser-known sketches and drawings.

The exhibition also includes a range of interactive exhibits, such as a virtual reality experience that allows visitors to step inside one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.

Abbey Pumping Station

Abbey Pumping Station is a museum of science and technology in Leicester, It was built during the Industrial Revolution to supply Leicester with sewage disposal and clean water.  Step through the doors beneath the 150-foot chimney, entry is free and you and the kids can see four incredible beam engines in working order, and get hands-on with the history of science and transport.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

 The museum also charts the early days of motorised transport with a rare collection of vintage vehicles including buses, fire engines, a chip van, a hansom cab and its  narrow-gauge railway.

East Street Lanes

East Street Lanes is a popular destination in Leicester that offers a unique experience to those who love to bowl, eat, drink, and have fun. East Street Lanes, located in the heart of the city, has become a must-visit destination for locals and tourists.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©East Street Lanes

East Street Lanes is an important addition to the city’s entertainment scene. It provides a unique experience that appeals to people of all ages. The venue has been praised for its focus on sustainability and its commitment to reducing negative environmental impact.

Feel free to visit this bowling alley at any time of the day, as it stays open all day and all night.

Abbey Park

Abbey Park is a mile north of the city centre, and the perfect place to spend a day in Leicester with the kids. The River Soar runs through the park and you can go boating on the lake, take a miniature train around the park, attempt the Lavender Maze or indulge all your senses in the Sensory Garden.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Leicester Botanic Garden

The University of Leicester botanic garden sits just outside the centre, and it contains the Attenborough Arboretum and tons of different plants across acres of garden and glasshouse.

Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended
©By NotFromUtrecht – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Leicester has a rich history and diverse attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. From ancient Roman ruins to modern immersive experiences, Leicester has something to offer everyone.

Start planning your trip to Leicester, you can make a tourist checklist of the top attractions you will like to visit here and tick them off during a trip.

Leicester City is a vibrant and exciting destination that offers a range of activities for locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re interested in exploring the rich history of the city, immersing yourself in its diverse culture or indulging in some retail therapy, there’s something here to suit every taste. From museums and galleries to parks and sports venues, Leicester has it all. So why not plan your next trip to this wonderful city today? You won’t be disappointed!

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Things to do in Leicester England where the middle-ages ended

Author

  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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