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New Walk, Leicester
Photograph: PETE HOLYOAK / Shutterstock.comNew Walk, Leicester

The 16 best things to do in Leicester

Discover the best things to do in Leicester, from ancient cathedrals to stadium tours. There's something for everyone!

Written by
Marianne Eloise
,
Kayleigh Watson
&
Charmaine Wong
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What is the first thing you think about when Leicester comes up in conversation? You might think of crisps, although thinking about crisps is more of a default feature for many of us. You may even think back to the heady days of 2016 and that improbable Premier League win. No matter your first thought, the reality is Leicester will surprise you.

Once the second-richest city in Europe and as close to the heart of England as you will find, Leicester is a charming city packed with gorgeous walks, thriving arts, and more history than you can shake the proverbial stick at. The food and drink are pretty fantastic, too, and we’re not just talking about crisps. These are the best things to do in lovely Leicester.

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At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

 

Best things to do in Leicester

The Space Centre
Photograph: Stuart Hollis

1. The Space Centre

What is it? Built in 2001, the National Space Centre is a museum and educational centre full of rockets, exhibitions, galleries, and the UK’s largest planetarium. Apparently, it’s the only museum in the world to house upright space rockets indoors.

Why go? The Space Centre is great for kids, but even if you don’t have any, it’s still a fun day out. You can visit the planetarium, check out real rockets, find out what it’s like to live in space and enjoy the plethora of interactive exhibits. They also put on regular events and film clubs.

Golden Mile
Photograph: Les Golding / Shutterstock.com

2. Golden Mile

What is it? Leicester is famous for its Indian restaurants and shops, and you can find tons of places to buy authentic food, spices, clothing and other goods along the Golden Mile. It’s just a ten-minute walk from the centre on Belgrave Road, which then turns into Melton Road, at the heart of the city’s Asian community.

Why go? As well as being able to buy anything you could possibly need, the Golden Mile is home to great restaurants.

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King Power Stadium
Photograph: Go My Media / Shutterstock.com

3. King Power Stadium

What is it? One for the football fans, the King Power stadium is home to Leicester City Football Club. Located on Filbert Way, the stadium is the twentieth largest in England and sits a little outside the centre.

Why go? There isn’t much to do at the stadium unless there’s a game on, but if you’re a fan, it’s a must-see pilgrimage. You can walk around the ground, take a tour, have your photo taken, visit the gift shop, and try to feel some of the excitement that fans and players felt when they won the Premier League in 2016. Yes, that actually happened.

Leicester Cathedral
Photograph: trabantos / Shutterstock.com

4. Leicester Cathedral

What is it? When ‘The King Under the Car Park’ was discovered in 2012, Leicester received an unexpected wave of press and attention. Following studies on the remains and a celebration that Benedict Cumberbatch attended, Richard III was buried at Leicester Cathedral, where he remains today.

Why go? Richard III is a massive part of Leicester’s history, and the cathedral itself is a stunning building right near the centre of town. Visiting his burial place won’t take long, but if you’re interested, the visitor centre is nearby and offers a ton of interesting educational resources about the King and the search for him.

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King Richard III Visitors Centre
Photograph: Steve Travelguide / Shutterstock.com

5. King Richard III Visitors Centre

What is it? Leicester is a fabulous place if you like history; in fact, it’s one of the oldest cities in England.

Why go? Known for being the place where King Richard III was slain in the Battle of Bosworth, the city came under the spotlight in 2012 when the king’s remains were unexpectedly located under a car park. Located in the old town, the renovated Alderman Newton’s School building is now home to the King Richard III Visitors Centre, where history buffs and novices alike can learn more about the missing monarch through digital reimaginings, artefacts and the forensic science that helped solidify his identity. 

6. Grand Union Canal

What is it? While Leicester is completely landlocked, it is home to several green spaces and waterways. The Grand Union Canal runs from London to Birmingham, cutting straight through Leicester and offering a serene walkway minutes from the busy city.

Why go? It can get pretty hectic in Leicester centre, and just walking along the canal can feel like you’re somewhere else entirely. If you walk far enough in either direction, you can find yourself at the Space Centre, Abbey Park, or the Aylestone Meadows nature reserve.

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Bradgate Park
Photograph: Nicola Pulham / Shutterstock.com

7. Bradgate Park

What is it? A 25-minute drive from the city centre, Bradgate Park is a favourite amongst outdoor-loving locals for both its expanse and its proximity.

Why go? Home to free-ranging red and fallow deer herds, the park is a rare opportunity to see the animals in their natural habitat. The ruins of Bradgate House – the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days – are visible to walkers, whilst the eighteenth-century landmark of Old John’s Tower sits on the highest point of the park and is free for all to explore.

Leicester Market
Photograph: krusomnp / Shutterstock.com

8. Leicester Market

What is it? Right in the centre of town near the clock tower, Leicester Market is the biggest covered outdoor market in Europe and has been exactly where it sits now for 700 years. The area is also home to a Lloyd’s Bar and a statue of the 5th Duke of Rutland.

Why go? For the most authentic Leicester experience, explore the market on a Saturday afternoon to browse fruit, veg, clothes, and other products at the 270 stalls. The market sells anything you could possibly need, but it’s also just a great place to soak up the vibes.

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9. #LastFriday at LCB Depot

What is it? Everyone loves a bit of street food, right? Hosted on the last Friday of every month at LCB Depot in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, the aptly named #LastFriday brings the best of the city’s independent vendors into the venue’s courtyard for an evening of music, art, socialising and good old-fashioned grub.

Why go? Whilst the brands pitching up on any given evening tend to be on rotation, visitors can expect to encounter greasy burgers, stonebaked pizza and delicious Greek food. Vegetarians and vegans are always catered for, so see out the working week by grabbing a pew and cracking a bevvy.

New Walk
Photograph: PETE HOLYOAK / Shutterstock.com

10. New Walk

What is it? 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 New Walk Museum.

Why go? The walk down the path is gorgeous in itself, but it’s worth checking out the museum – it’s entirely free and home to Ancient Egyptian and dinosaur exhibits as well as regular events. If you reach the end, you’ll come to Victoria Park (locally known as Vicky), where you can wander, look at war memorials, and check out the famous Caribbean Carnival on the first Saturday of August.

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