Top Leicester museums

Best Leicester museums

Leicester, is a fine city to explore. It’s home to some wonderful museums with a plethora of interesting discoveries. Find hieroglyphics, a planetarium and Richard III’s body all in this East Midlands beauty.

  1. Go back in time at the New Walk Museum
  2. Have a fun family day out at the National Space Centre
  3. Discover the King Richard III Visitor Centre
  4. Head to nearby Grantham for a museum visit
  5. Discover the Guildhall Museum
  6. Visit the Newarke Houses Museums

Leicester has a wide range of museums to keep travellers more than entertained. If it's space, history of Egyptian collections you’re looking for, Leicester has it all. Looking for Leicester holidays? If you’re planning to travel there in August, this is when the streets of the city come alive with the Leicester Caribbean Carnival - the second-biggest street festival in England (after Notting Hill Carnival).

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1. Go back in time at the New Walk Museum

The New Walk is a long and agreeable pedestrianized promenade that’s home to the city’s best museum, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery. The museum covers a lot of ground, from dinosaurs to geology and beyond, but one highlight is its collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, featuring mummies and hieroglyphic tablets brought back to Leicester in the 1880s. The museum also holds an enjoyable collection of paintings and, although these are rotated regularly, you’re likely to see a good range of works by British artists as well as an outstanding collection of German Expressionist works, mostly sketches, woodcuts and lithographs by artists such as Otto Dix and George Grosz.

Where?:53-55 New Walk, LE1 7EA

Opening times: Mon-Fri 11am-4.30pm, Sat & Sun 11am-5pm

2. Have a fun family day out at the National Space Centre

For one of the funnest museums in Leicester, head to the National Space Centre. On the outskirts of the city, the National Space Centre is devoted to all things astronomical. The museums hold a string of themed galleries plus a planetarium and a 135m-high Rocket Tower. The emphasis is on the interactive, which makes the place very popular with kids. Budding astronauts will have a blast here!

Where?: Exploration Dr, Leicester LE4 5NS

Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm

3. Discover the King Richard III Visitor Centre

Across the street from the cathedral, Leicester’s old Grammar School is a substantial Victorian redbrick that has been turned into the ambitious King Richard III Visitor Centre. This came into action after the royal body was discovered in 2012 beneath the adjoining car park, where Greyfriars church had once stood. The Centre has four distinct sections. The first examines Richard’s reign and the battle of Bosworth Field that ended it. The second explores the nature of Richard’s disability - he suffered from curvature of the spine - and relates the story of how the body was discovered, a remarkable tale in itself. The third section comprises a replica of Richard’s skeleton with the various wounds the king suffered at the Battle of Bosworth Field clearly observable. This is really intriguing stuff - and it’s all immaculately presented. The fourth and final section gives visitors the chance to peer down into the makeshift grave where the body was found.

Where?: 4A St Martins, Leicester LE1 5DB

Opening times: Daily 10am-4pm

4. Head to nearby Grantham for a museum visit

Leicester museums are great. But if you have a bit of spare time during your visit you may want to visit neighbouring Grantham. Grantham (a couple miles north of Leicester city centre) is a pleasant old town of red-brick and half-timbered houses with a parish church complete with steeple. It used to be famous for its connections with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who propounded the theory of gravitation, and who was born at nearby Woolsthorpe Manor. These days, however, it is better known as the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister who dominated British politics in the 1980s. Friendly little Grantham Museum on St Peter’s Hill explores the town’s links with both of them, and much more.

Where?: St Peter's Hill, Grantham NG31 6PY

Opening times: Thu–Sat 10am–4pm

5. Discover the Guildhall Museum

The Guildhall is the oldest building in the city to date and now hosts its very own museum - one of the best museums in Leicester, in fact. The Guildhall Museum hosts the Medieval Leicester galleries and is home to Victorian police cells. Here, you will find Leicester's well-known pick-pockets, Crankie Gemmie and Emma Smith. With plenty of objects on show, travellers can go back in time in an instant. You might already recognise the building - it’s appeared on many television shows such as ‘Most Haunted’, being the most haunted building in the city.

Where?: Guildhall Ln, Leicester LE1 5FQ

Opening times: Daily 11am-4.30pm

6. Visit the Newarke Houses Museums

Two historic houses make up the Newarke Houses Museum: Wygston’s Chantry House and Skeffington House. Here you can explore the history of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. There is also a recreation of a First World War trench for you to discover. Remember to find the presentation of toys from the Tudor times to the present day. Kids will love seeing what toys once were and how they’ve developed over time.

Where?: 20 The Newarke, Leicester LE2 7BY

Opening times: Daily 10am-4pm

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