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The Insider’s Guide to Leicester

Planning to visit soon? We’ve pounded the streets, hit up the best places and discovered a whole load of fun for you to enjoy during your stay. Let's get started...

Leicester is a melting pot of culture tucked away within the East Midlands. The city lies on the River Soar and is brimming with diversity making it a fantastic place to soak up the incredible restaurants, fab indie shops, festivals, art, theatre and more.

EAT

There’s no shortage of places to scoff and quaff in these parts and you’ll be hard pushed to find a more diverse place to eat. The city’s Golden Mile is heaving with a fantastic range of curry houses, Indian cafes, dessert shops and lots of veggie-friendly places too. The best thing? You can eat a huge feast here for just a few quid.

Pic Credit: https://www.be-lavie.com

If you’re staying in town, saunter over to modern cafe-bar, Sonrisa. Go for a lazy lunch, or an evening meal and don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to stay late into the night. Expect small delectables plates inspired by South America, plus the decor is totally Instagrammable.

NineB Restaurant is part of the mahoosive Great Central Square regeneration on the former Great Central Railway station site. Despite the glam decor, the vibe is friendly and very relaxed and the food is fab. They’ve got everything from salads, to steaks, burgers to bar bites and more. Check out our review here

Visit the LCB Depot for Last Friday on the errm…last Friday of every month for an amazing variety of street food from burgers to Greek food, waffles to churros – but be prepared to queue for the food or come early to grab the best dishes before they run out!

For brunch, you can’t beat Kai. It’s one of the most popular joints in the city, so get here early to bag a table. Order their stack of fluffy pancakes and you won’t be disappointed. Topping include berry jam, banana, maple syrup, Red Leicester cheese, bacon and more plus, there’s plenty of vegan options too.

Don’t leave without popping into Cocoa Amore where you can design your own  ‘build a bar’ or book on to one of their chocolate workshops. Nearby Gelato Village is run by two mates from Turin. They serve real Italian gelato using locally sourced milk, pistachios from Sicily and lemons from the Amalfi Coast. Bellissima!!

STAY 

If you want to splash some cash, rooms at Winstanley House are elegant, spacious and seriously plush. The hotel is a short drive from the city and is surrounded by gorgeous green parkland.

St Martin’s Lodge is located in a gorgeous Grade ll Listed Georgian building. Many original features have been retained including the hallway with its chandelier and elegant staircase and the boutique hotel is slap bang in the middle of the city, just opposite Leicester Cathedral.

WALK

You can easily cover the city in a weekend and there really are some treasures to discover here from the King Richard III Visitor Centre where you can see exhibits on King Richard III’s life, death and grave discovery to The Guildhall – one of the best preserved timber framed halls in the country, dating back 600 years and the oldest building still in use in the city.

A short drive away, the National Space Centre will take you on an adventure through time and space and art aficionados will appreciate the city’s impressive galleries including Leicester Museum and Art Gallery where kids will love the dinosaur gallery.

DRINK

If you’re after dancing and drinks, head to brand-new, Audrey’s Bar. They’ve got a variety of martinis, flavoured gin and plenty of other tipples to enjoy if you don’t mind the pink decor too much.

45 West is an independent Bottle Shop and Bar situated in the heart of Leicester, a stone’s throw away from Leicester Cathedral. Enjoy signature G & T’s here and an extensive cocktail menu featuring locally made Burleigh’s Gin.

SHOP 

Largely high street here, but Loseby Lane has a boutique vibe and is dotted with pretty indie shops including interiors store, Pomponette and Muddy’s award-winning art gallery, Wingates.

Head slightly further afield into Stoneygate and you’ll find a treasure trove of  beauty delights over at Amelia Nour. Inside the shelves are teeming with beautiful vegan, vegetarian and eco-friendly products ranging from Oskia to Prismologie.

A few doors down is Nest, a gorgeous boutique shop selling an inspirational collection of gifts from jewellery to stationery.

TOURIST

As well as the wonderful sights of the city, it’s totally worth visiting the stunning Bradgate Park. It’s the perfect spot to clear a fuzzy head. Set in 830 acres, the park is steeped in history – from its Norman beginnings as a hunting park to the building of Bradgate House, home of Lady Jane Grey in the early 1500s and beyond. Todays, there’s footpaths, small streams, a kids playground, a small cafe, stone ruins, plus roaming peacocks and wild fallow deer – even the kids will love it!

Abbey Pumping Station collects and displays the industrial, technological and scientific heritage of Leicester and is right next door to the Space Centre and features four working steam-powered beam engines and exhibits for transport, public health, light and optics, toys and more.

KIDS

Don’t think there’s enough to do in the city with the kids? Think again! Flip Out trampoline park gives burning energy a whole new meaning with things like a ninja obstacle course, gladiator pits, tumble tracks obstacle courses and more. Plus the brand new Ninja Warrior has just opened up.

Pic Credit: Tom Horton

Abbey Park was opened in 1882 and includes flower gardens, a Chinese peace garden, walkways and gorgeous green spaces and the city’s Fun Fair is on here until the end of August. A few minutes away, Leicester’s Outdoor Pursuits Centre, offers a range of adventurous outdoor activities from abseiling, air rifle shooting, kayaking, fencing and heaps more.

QUIRKY

Escape Asylum offers visitors the chance to choose from our three escape rooms to see if you have what it takes to get out in time – it will set your brain to work solving puzzles and mysteries.

The Doughnotts store in Silver Arcade make their sweet snacks fresh every morning in their own bakery.  Flavours include a vegan vanilla caramel, strawberry crumble and our personal fave, Thicka than a Snicka. Don’t be surprised if you leave with an entire box!

Join the Dead Leicester tours which guide you through medieval streets where you can hear stories and legends of foul beasts and dastardly deeds, of lost souls and fallen kings.

During September, Heritage Open Days offers visitors the chance to explore some of the city’s historic places free of charge including Castle Gardens, Belgrave Hall, Abbey Pumping Station and more.

CULTURE

Over the summer, the city comes alive with a variety of fantastic events including the infectious reggae and soca beats of the Caribbean Carnival. This August, catch outdoor cinema and live dance performances from the annual event, An Indian Summer taking place at Green Dragon Square.

If you’ve got time, book tickets to Hairspray, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe all on over the next few months at the city’s Curve theatre.

HIPSTERS

Oh how we love Bottle Garden Bar over in St Martin’s Square. This beautiful botanical cocktail bar has an urban garden theme inside – think hanging plants, trees and herbs in pots and heaps of faux greenery dotted around. Try their Toblerone Martini – one and you’ll be hooked! While here, pop your head in at Fox Books, a fab new indie bookshop that’s just opened.

Found this Insider Guide useful? Check out our brand new Guides to WindsorExeterBrightonWinchesterBathCanterburyLeamington SpaSt AlbansSt Ives

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