Yes I know what you are thinking, ‘Leicester, really?’ and I’ll be honest, I didn’t have particularly high hopes of Leicester as a city when I visited one of my school friends there. In my mind I’d pictured Leicester as quite an industrial, slightly run down concrete city. Yet I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised. Among the blocks of grey, there were attractive marketplaces, dainty cafes and historic monuments that I would never have expected. This includes things like the Roman baths, industrial artifacts, as well as the new(ish) discovered burial place of Richard III. Who’d have thought it? There was a lot more things to do and see then I imagined and I left with plenty more places to come back to and explore!
How to get there
Leicester is situated in the East Midlands of England, not far from the National Forest. It’s Britain’s tenth largest city and is a fairly accessible city to get to – particularly by train. If you’re based in England, there’s good train links from London, Nottingham and Sheffield. Check out the Trainline for the cheapest deals. Leicester does have its own airport but you might do better to fly into Birmingham or London and then catch a train or megabus to Leicester.
What to see and do
Richard III Visitor Centre
Possibly the top attraction in Leicester is the King Richard III Visitor Centre, which is built right next to where the remains of the 15th century king were discovered back in 2012. It aims to document King Richard III’s turbulent life, as the last king of England to die in battle. With interactive exhibitions and state of the art equipment, it’s definitely one to visit.
Opposite the Visitor Centre lies Leicester Cathedral, which is another Leicester must-visit, especially if you’re into your history and would like to find out a little more about King Richard III’s faith. The cathedral is a beautiful architectural feat with stained glass windows (which are always spectacular with the sun shining through), intricate interiors and the royal tomb.
Did you know that this is the largest outdoor covered market in Europe? Me neither. Incredibly, Leicester Market has more than 270 different stalls, with people selling such a variety of food, clothes, flowers and miscellaneous items. The flower stall was perhaps my favourite, so reasonably priced and such a wonderful array of different colours and flowers. Equally though the food stalls were incredible, selling fresh fruit for half the price of those sold in the main supermarkets. Not only that but they looked such good quality and very fresh, as though they had just been dug up from the ground. It’s open six days a week and is sure to offer pretty much anything you could want right in the heart of the city centre. If you go anywhere in Leicester, this would be my personal top recommendation!
Would it be an Edits of Jo post without some mention of books? I had to sneak this one in being a gorgeous old bookshop, which specialises in antique and second hand books. I could have easily spent an entire day in there. Although small, there were books piled to the ceiling, covering every topic and genre you can imagine. I was sorely tempted to buy a number of books (especially given their affordable price tag of just 50p each) however decided to refrain given the enormous amount of books I have at home, ready to read. Such a lovely little find, would definitely recommend if you’re a book lover like me and have a bit of time in Leicester.
The Skylark Bakery
An absolute must-visit and one of my highlights of the entire weekend visit. This beautifully quaint bakery is run by a mother and daughter team who make the most delicious and elegant cakes. We decided to pick up some cakes for afternoon tea at home which were honestly incredible. We chose some cupcakes in the end, which was a long and arduous decision given how mouth-watering each cake looked. I decided on a white chocolate and raspberry one whilst my friends chose carrot cake and cookie crumble. They also had lemon meringue, cheesecake, mars bar and coffee which all looked so tasty and were finished so professionally.
Have you visited Leicester? Where would be your top recommendations?