Leicester tourist attractions

Top Leicester sights

Leicester sightseeing is most certainly a treat. From thrilling festivals to historic cathedrals and a vibrant town centre filled with cultural venues, Leicester is a delightful weekend break.

  1. Enjoy some splendid views of Castle Gardens and around
  2. Explore the beautiful church of St Nicholas
  3. Make the most of Leicester’s exciting festivals
  4. Discover the King Power Stadium
  5. Explore the bustling town centre

The centre of Leicester is on the move, with the addition of Highcross, a large and glitzy shopping centre, and the creation of a Cultural Quarter equipped with both a flashy performance venue, Curve Theatre and a first-rate independent cinema, Phoenix. End your day of exploring by enjoying a fantastic show or film.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Enjoy some splendid views of Castle Gardens and around

Near the Roman ruins, Castle Gardens is a narrow strip of a park that runs alongside a canalized portion of the River Soar. It’s a pleasant spot and one that incorporates the overgrown mound where Leicester’s Norman castle motte once stood. It stands as one of the most popular Leicester tourist attractions. Beyond the motte, at the far end of Castle Gardens, you emerge on The Newarke. Turn left and follow the road round, and in a jiffy you’ll reach Castle View, a narrow lane spanned by the Turret Gateway, a rare survivor of the city’s medieval castle. Just beyond the gateway is St Mary de Castro, a rambling old church with a chunky tower. Curiously, Chaucer may well have got married here.

Best for: The great outdoors

While you’re there: If you fancy a bite after exploring we suggest booking a table at Kayal. It serves outstanding South Indian food.

2. Explore the beautiful church of St Nicholas

A five-minute stroll from the cathedral, beside the large St Nicholas Circle roundabout, you’ll spot the conspicuous church of St Nicholas. Beside that, in a small dell, lie the foundations of Emperor Hadrian’s public baths, which culminate in the Jewry Wall, a substantial chunk of Roman masonry some 18ft high and 73ft long. The baths were a real irritation to the emperor: the grand scheme was spoilt by the engineers, who miscalculated the line of the aqueduct that was to pipe in the water, and so bathers had to rely on a hand-filled cistern replenished from the river - not what Hadrian had in mind at all. Searching for Leicester holidays? One of our top choices will surely tickle your fancy!

Best for: A look back in time

While you’re there: Head to Castle Park after a tranquil walk.

3. Make the most of Leicester’s exciting festivals

The crowded terraced streets on and around Belgrave Road are the hub for the city’s principal Hindu festival, Diwali, the Festival of Light, held in October or November, when thousands of lamps illuminate proceedings. In addition, the city’s sizeable African- Caribbean community holds England’s second-biggest street festival (after Notting Hill Carnival). It’s called the Leicester Caribbean Carnival, and it’s held on the first weekend in August.

Best for: Culture

While you’re there: For more culture head to Curve. In the heart of the Cultural Quarter, it is Leicester’s leading performing arts venue.

4. Discover the King Power Stadium

Any keen football fan will enjoy a tour of the King Power Stadium. Each tour will begin in the reception area where you will be able to have a look at some of the club’s memorabilia. Your knowledgeable guide will then take you to the players’ entrance and you’ll get a chance to explore the media suite. Next up is the tunnel and the home changing rooms. It’s a great day out for any Leicester City FC fans!

Best for: Football fans

While you’re there: You can also see the home dugout on a tour too.

5. Explore the bustling town centre

The most conspicuous buildings in Leicester’s bustling centre are the two large shopping centres, the ultramodern Highcross and the clumpy Haymarket, but the proper landmark is the Victorian Clock Tower of 1868, standing in front of the Haymarket and marking the spot where seven streets meet. One of the seven is Cheapside, which leads to Leicester’s open-air market, one of the best in the country and the place where the young Gary Lineker, now the UK’s best-known football pundit, worked on the family stall. Good-hearted Gary remains a popular figure hereabouts and has been made a freeman of the city, which, among other things, gives him the right to graze his sheep in front of the town hall. Another of the seven streets is Silver Street (subsequently Guildhall Lane), which passes through The Lanes, where a medley of small, independent shops gives this part of the centre real character.

Best for: Walks in the town centre

While you’re there: Head to Globe. It’s a popular and traditional pub in an attractive old building at the heart of the city.

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