Leicester travel guide

Leicester Tourism | Leicester Guide

You're Going to Love Leicester

Since it was founded in the second century BC, Leicester has been a Saxon stronghold, a Roman garrison, and the city that supplied the coal that fired the Industrial Revolution. Today, it's a top tourist destination known for its sports teams, its friendly locals, and the National Space Centre. Plus, it's the last resting places of one of Britain's most infamous kings.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Leicester

1. It's a Must for Sports Fans

Leicester City FC is one of the country's most successful soccer teams. If you're not able to get tickets for a game, take a tour of the King Power Stadium instead.

2. Discover Richard III

Learn more about the king that Shakespeare labelled a ruthless opportunist at the King Richard III Visitor Centre or see his new tomb at 11th-century Leicester Cathedral.

3. Great Museums and Galleries

See the largest piece of masonry from Roman times in the UK and discover what the city was like during its days as a garrison town at the Jewry Wall Museum. Or, spend the day at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery among dinosaur bones, Egyptian mummies, and ceramics by Picasso.

4. The Beautiful Outdoor Spaces

Visit Abbey Park, a leafy space divided in two by the River Soar. Highlights include the ruins of the 12th-century abbey, a boating lake, beautiful gardens, and play areas.

5. It's a Cultural Melting Pot

The part of Belgrave Road known as the Golden Mile celebrates the city's cultural diversity. Visit the city in August for the Belgrave Mela or Leicester Caribbean Carnival.

What to do in Leicester

1. King Richard III Visitor Centre: A Dramatic Royal Attraction

In 2012, academics made an incredible discovery underneath a Leicester car park when they unearthed the remains of King Richard III. Made famous by Shakespeare (who portrayed Richard in an unflattering light), the king defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 has now been given a royal setting where visitors can discover everything about his life and times. Filled with tales of murder and war, the Visitor Centre offers a unique window into England's turbulent past and one of its most controversial rulers.

2. Leicester Cathedral: A Fitting Royal Burial Site

After visiting the Richard III Visitor Centre, head to the Cathedral, where the legendary king was reburied in 2015, and stay to see one of England's most beautiful churches. Highlights include the solemn East Window, which remembers the dead of World War I, the stone statues of saints crowning the Vaughan Porch, and the tower, which contains 13 bells that ring on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings (as well as the king's tomb, of course).

3. National Space Centre: An Out of this World Attraction

Located in the northern part of the city by the River Soar, the National Space Centre offers something completely different from long-dead kings. The UK's premier space museum allows visitors to cruise the surfaces of Venus, explore the origins of the universe, inhabit a module of the International Space Station, or stare up at the Thor Able rocket in the 42 meter tall Rocket Tower. Everything here is geared towards the needs of youngsters, with plenty of hands-on installations and even the chance to try on space suits, so any budding astronauts young or old will adore it.

4. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery: See Some Fantastic Fossils

Located just south of the city center, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery has hosted a superb collection of scientific and artistic exhibits since 1849. From fully reconstructed skeletons of plesiosaurs to one of the world's oldest fossils, it houses one of the finest natural history collections around. You'll also find a marvelous collection of German Expressionist art, and four eerie Egyptian mummies as well. Admission is free, making it an affordable yet unmissable Leicester attraction.

5. Newarke Houses Museum: Bringing Leicester's History to Life

A couple of hundred meters south of the Cathedral, Newark Houses Museum is a quirky, varied, and fun museum of Leicester's history. Find out about larger-than-life figures like Daniel Lambert (once Britain's largest man), see an enchanting collection of toys that stretch back to Tudor times, and experience what life was like in the First World War trenches, where local soldiers fought and often died. A neat complement to the Richard III exhibits, this child-friendly museum is a fascinating testament to the city's history.

1. King Richard III Visitor Centre: A Dramatic Royal Attraction

In 2012, academics made an incredible discovery underneath a Leicester car park when they unearthed the remains of King Richard III. Made famous by Shakespeare (who portrayed Richard in an unflattering light), the king defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 has now been given a royal setting where visitors can discover everything about his life and times. Filled with tales of murder and war, the Visitor Centre offers a unique window into England's turbulent past and one of its most controversial rulers.

2. Leicester Cathedral: A Fitting Royal Burial Site

After visiting the Richard III Visitor Centre, head to the Cathedral, where the legendary king was reburied in 2015, and stay to see one of England's most beautiful churches. Highlights include the solemn East Window, which remembers the dead of World War I, the stone statues of saints crowning the Vaughan Porch, and the tower, which contains 13 bells that ring on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings (as well as the king's tomb, of course).

3. National Space Centre: An Out of this World Attraction

Located in the northern part of the city by the River Soar, the National Space Centre offers something completely different from long-dead kings. The UK's premier space museum allows visitors to cruise the surfaces of Venus, explore the origins of the universe, inhabit a module of the International Space Station, or stare up at the Thor Able rocket in the 42 meter tall Rocket Tower. Everything here is geared towards the needs of youngsters, with plenty of hands-on installations and even the chance to try on space suits, so any budding astronauts young or old will adore it.

4. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery: See Some Fantastic Fossils

Located just south of the city center, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery has hosted a superb collection of scientific and artistic exhibits since 1849. From fully reconstructed skeletons of plesiosaurs to one of the world's oldest fossils, it houses one of the finest natural history collections around. You'll also find a marvelous collection of German Expressionist art, and four eerie Egyptian mummies as well. Admission is free, making it an affordable yet unmissable Leicester attraction.

5. Newarke Houses Museum: Bringing Leicester's History to Life

A couple of hundred meters south of the Cathedral, Newark Houses Museum is a quirky, varied, and fun museum of Leicester's history. Find out about larger-than-life figures like Daniel Lambert (once Britain's largest man), see an enchanting collection of toys that stretch back to Tudor times, and experience what life was like in the First World War trenches, where local soldiers fought and often died. A neat complement to the Richard III exhibits, this child-friendly museum is a fascinating testament to the city's history.

Top activities & attractions in Leicester

Where to Eat in Leicester

Head for the Golden Mile area of Belgrave Road for the best curries in the city. For a more upmarket version of the UK's most popular food, try the Maiyango Hotel and Restaurant. A simple lunch will cost from £5-8 while dinner for two with wine at a smart restaurant will be £45 - £70.

When to visit Leicester

Leicester in November
Estimated hotel price
£41
1 night at 3-star hotel
Leicester in November
Estimated hotel price
£41
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best time to visit Leicester is during the summer months from May to September for seasonal attractions like the Carnival and the Mela. Soccer and rugby lovers might prefer to visit during the winter months when the season is well underway.

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Temperatures
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How to Get to Leicester

Plane

The closest airport to Leicester is East Midlands Airport (EMA). Take the Skylink bus from the airport to St. Margaret's Bus Station in the city center or make the journey by taxi for £30 - £40.

Train

The city is on the main route from London to Leeds. The railway station is 10 minutes from the heart of the city and a five-minute walk from St. Margaret's Bus Station.

Car

Leicester is right next to the M1 motorway if you're coming from London and the south. Those traveling from other parts of the Midlands like Coventry or Birmingham can take the M69 and connect to the M1 at Junction 21.

Bus

There are regular services to Leicester from London and other major cities. Operators include National Express and Megabus.

Airports near Leicester

Airlines serving Leicester

Lufthansa
Good (1,385 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,464 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,901 reviews)
KLM
Good (292 reviews)
Air France
Good (299 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,076 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,657 reviews)
British Airways
Good (941 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (360 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (937 reviews)
Iberia
Good (668 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (642 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (663 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (197 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (373 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (74 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,167 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (307 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (203 reviews)
Finnair
Good (450 reviews)
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Where to stay in Leicester

Try the Mercure Leicester Grand Hotel in the city center or pick a designer hotel like the Maiyango Hotel. Budget-friendly alternatives include the Croft Hotel.

Popular neighbourhoods in Leicester

City Center - the city's commercial and retail center. Attractions include Leicester Cathedral, the National Space Centre, and the Curve center for performing arts.

Belgrave - the district to the north of the city center is known for its restaurants, sari stores, and jewelry shops.

Clarendon Park/Knighton - home to the city's two prestigious universities, the University of Leicester and De Montfort University Leicester, plus a large student population.

Where to stay in popular areas of Leicester

Most booked hotels in Leicester

Holiday Inn Leicester, An IHG Hotel
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
£74+
The Link Hotel Loughborough
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
£61+
Burleigh Court Hotel
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
£92+
Holiday Inn Express Leicester City
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
£66+
Ramada Encore by Wyndham Leicester City Centre
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
£66+
Days Inn by Wyndham Leicester Forest East M1
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
£38+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Leicester

Public Transportation

Local buses cover Leicester and neighboring towns. Arriva buses depart from St. Margaret's Bus Station while First buses can be boarded at stops all over the city center. Day tickets are available but they are not interchangeable.

Taxi

Taxis are readily available in all parts of the town. A typical five-mile journey will cost £8.

Car

Many people choose to rent a car since the city is within driving distance of some of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom. Leading brands like Enterprise and Budget can be found at East Midlands Airport.

The Cost of Living in Leicester

Shopping Streets

Visit 700-year-old Leicester Market, the oldest covered market in Europe, for a vast assortment of clothing, foods, and accessories. If you prefer a more upmarket setting, you'll find leading brands and designer names in the Gold Award-winning Highcross shopping mall.

Groceries and Other

Pick up food, toiletries, and other essentials from supermarket chains like Morrison's, Tesco, and Waitrose. You'll pay 75p for a quart of milk and £2.03 for a dozen large eggs.

Cheap meal
£10.46
A pair of jeans
£56.63
Single public transport ticket
£2.62
Cappuccino
£2.61