15 Best Things to Do in Leicester (England)

Nestled in the heart of the East Midlands, Leicester was once forgotten on the list of must-visit cities in the United Kingdom. Yet as the 21st century passed, the name and apparent cultural significance of the city has come to the forefront of peoples mind, making it a desirable place to visit.

Once only famous for Walkers crisps, Leicester’s popularity has grown thanks to its underdog football team winning the premier league, the historic breakthrough of the finding of King Richard III’s body and a whole host of other cultural milestones.

The city-wide renaissance has created a location that offers so much to both locals and visitors alike. Take a look at these 15 things to do in Leicester and start planning your visit right away.

1. The National Space Centre

The National Space CentreSource: Julian Worker / shutterstock
The National Space Centre

Opened in 2001, the National Space Centre is an out-of-this-world experience, perfect for lovers of space and galactic travel. As one of the city’s most popular attractions, it’s a fantastic day out for the whole family. Home to the country’s largest planetarium and the only building to house upright space rockets, the National Space Centre is a must-see.

With over 150 individual exhibits, there is more than enough to fill a full day’s outing at the centre and with yearly shows, it is also worth heading back once in a while to see what’s new.

Website: https://spacecentre.co.uk/

2. The Golden Mile

Leicester CurrySource: Bartosz Luczak / shutterstock
Leicester Curry

Belgrave Road in Leicester’s city centre has long held a reputation for being the cultural heartland of Asian Leicester. Known as the Golden Mile, a name given because of the seemingly endless gold and jewellery shops here, the road has become a haven for shoppers and Indian food lovers for miles around. Visit the Golden Mile and indulge in some of the best south Asian cuisines outside of the Indian subcontinent.

During November, The Golden Miles comes to life with one of the biggest Diwali celebrations in the UK. A true epicentre of culture, great food and life, Leicester’s Golden Mile is an unmissable destination when visiting the city.

3. King Power Stadium

King Power StadiumSource: jeafish Ping / shutterstock
King Power Stadium

Over the past few years, Leicester City Football Club has come out of the shadows of being a footballing underdog to a top contender in English football. The club’s shock Premier League win in 2016 catapulted the team into the spotlight and has continued to hold their status ever since.

Both fans of the East Midlands club and fans of premier league football in general, will enjoy a tour of the club’s ground, King Power Stadium. Visitors who take the tour can enjoy all the sights and sounds of the backroom football staff as well as catch a glimpse of the trophy case.

Website: https://www.lcfc.com/king-power-stadium/tours

4. Leicester Cathedral

Leicester CathedralSource: trabantos / shutterstock
Leicester Cathedral

The iconic Leicester Cathedral is must-visit for anyone with interest in English history. A church has existed on the exact site for over 900 years, yet the cathedral we see today was consecrated in the early 20th century. Alongside its breathtaking Gothic architecture, the cathedral is most famous for housing the tomb of King Richard III.

After a lengthy search to find the former king’s resting place, the exhuming and reburying of the famous Plantagenet king made national and international headlines in 2012. In 2015 the remains were reburied in Leicester Cathedral enveloped in an elaborate tomb, which can be seen today.

Website: https://leicestercathedral.org/

5. Grand Union Canal

Grand Union CanalSource: Marie-Louise Garratt / shutterstock
Grand Union Canal

The hectic city centre of Leicester can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re looking for a little peace and quiet. Fear not!, the Grand Union Canal, an iconic waterway surrounded by elegant and natural green spaces, is perfect for breathing the fresh air of Leicestershire.

Enveloped by a number of walking trails and nature spots, the Grand Union Canal makes for a welcome escape from the urban centre of the city. Keen hikers can walk the length of the grand canal for miles as it runs from London right through Leicester and to the city of Birmingham.

6. Leicester Market

Leicester MarketSource: krusomnp / shutterstock
Leicester Market

One of the biggest covered outdoor markets in all of Europe, Leicester Market is a fantastic place to soak up the atmosphere and ethos of the city. Still trading in exactly the same place for hundreds of years, the market is a cornerstone of the Leicester community and a fine place to pick up a bargain or two.

With nearly three hundred stalls, Leicester Market sells anything from your standard fruit and veg and clothing to the more obscure garden and DIY implements. The handy covering of the market means that even on an English rainy day, nothing can stop visitors enjoying the sights and sounds of the traditional East Midlands.

Website: https://www.leicestermarket.co.uk/

7. Watermead Country Park

Watermead Country ParkSource: Calibre / shutterstock
Watermead Country Park

Despite sitting just six miles north of Leicester’s city centre, Watermead Country Park is a hidden gem seldom visited by tourists. Boasting endless woodland, stretches of open water and miles of walking trails, it’s easy enough to while away an afternoon, or even a whole day in this idyllic park.

What’s more, the park has something to accommodate everyone. For families with young ones, you’ll find rib-cage climbing frames and a mini-henge in the Jurassic Play Trail, and for those with a well-behaved four-legged friend, you’re more than welcome to bring your dog along for a day out.

Website: https://www.leicscountryparks.org.uk/watermead-visitor-information/

8. Abbey Park

Abbey Park, LeicesterSource: Wael Onsy / shutterstock
Abbey Park, Leicester

Just a mile north of the city lies Abbey Park, an area of natural beauty and a great antidote to the inner city streets of Leicester. Once home to the medieval St Mary’s Abbey, ruins of the building are now scattered across the lush green grass of the park. With a perfect combination of historical archaeology and modern city park landscapes, a visit to Abbey Park is a perfect way to spend a sun-soaked afternoon.

Abbey Park is also the site of an annual flower show dating back to the 19th century and a yearly music festival that has been held here since the early ‘80s.

9. Highcross Leicester

Highcross LeicesterSource: Matthew Stone / shutterstock
Highcross Leicester

If you’re in the mood for a little retail therapy while in Leciester, be sure to hit up the Highcross Shopping Centre. Sitting smack bang in the middle of the city, the centre offers up shops, restaurants, cafes and even a Cinema de Lux.

From affordable high-street brands to luxury shopping stores, there will be something for you no matter what you style or budget. And, when you’re all shopped-out, choose from Mexican, Indian, Chinese or classic English restaurants to refuel.

Website: https://www.highcrossleicester.com/

10. University of Leicester Botanic Garden

University of Leicester Botanic GardenSource: jeremySO / Flickr | CC BY
University of Leicester Botanic Garden

Any keen horticulturalists visiting Leicester should not pass up the chance to visit the Leicester Botanic Garden, located just a few miles south of the city. Used for research purposes by the local university, the garden has a huge range of native plants from the British Isles and exotic plants from all over the world.

With accompanying water features, sculptures and garden paths, the botanic garden makes for a fantastic day out for those who love being surrounded by plants, picturesque gardens and nature. The sculptures scattered around the gardens are changed every year, creating art exhibitions here as well as botanical ones.

Website: https://le.ac.uk/botanic-garden

11. Stonehurst Family Farm and Museum

Stonehurst Family Farm and MuseumSource: www.stonehurstfarm.co.uk | CC0
Stonehurst Family Farm and Museum

A few miles north of the city lies Stonehurst Family Farm and Museum. This working farm invites you in to explore the inner workings of a modern farm, from its animals to daily life. This is a fantastic place for young children to explore and interact with farmyard animals, feeding pigs, goats, sheep and many more.

The onsite motor museum is also a great added extra to the day’s activities. Housing an array of classic motor vehicles, including 1960s sports cars, this is must-see for any petrolhead enthusiast.

Website: https://www.stonehurstfarm.co.uk/

12. King Richard III Visitor Centre

King Richard III Visitor CentreSource: RobinLeicester / Wikimedia | CC0
King Richard III Visitor Centre

After the body of the former king was found just yards from the city centre, and the reburial in Leicester Cathedral, it was seen as a fitting tribute to open a visiting centre dedicated to the historical figure. Step through the doors of this well-designed exhibit and learn all there is about King Richard III.

The exhibition showcases the king’s entire life and relives the exciting process of searching for the burial place and finally laying the king to rest. This story has placed Leicester firmly on the English historical trail, and the state of the art visitor centre is a must for any history buff.

Website: https://kriii.com/

13. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

New Walk Museum and Art GallerySource: Julian Worker / shutterstock
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Opened in 1849, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery was one of the first public museums to open in the UK. This iconic status has been carried through to the 20th and 21st centuries, and still, it stands as one the best museums of its type in the country. The wide variety of exhibitions include displays of science, history and art, from both international and local artists.

A visit here is worth it for the building itself and was designed by famous architect Joseph Hansom, working in the neo-gothic style.

Website: https://www.leicestermuseums.org/leicester-museum-art-gallery/

14. Social Climbing

Climbing WallSource: Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich / shutterstock
Climbing Wall

Social Climbing is Leicester’s first climbing wall sports complex and offers a massive 700 square meters of climbing walls and boulders. Perfect for all ages, this makes an active and fun day out for the entire family, whatever your fitness levels.

Start as an absolute beginner on the smaller climbing walls and work your way up to a huge climbing frame – making you feel like a true adrenaline junkie climber. This is the ideal day out when those rainy days move in, and you still want to stay a little active.

Website: https://www.social-climbing.com/

15. Curve Theatre

Curve Theatre, LeicesterSource: ahabeland / Flickr | CC BY-ND
Curve Theatre, Leicester

As the name suggests, Curve Theatre is Leicester’s premier theatre destination, shaped in a giant curve. Designed by top Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, the Curve Theatre adds a whole new dimension to plays, musicals and concerts performed here.

Check out the huge repertoire of performances on at the Curve Theatre before you set out on your Leicester adventure, there is sure to be a show for you!

Website: https://www.curveonline.co.uk/

15 Best Things to Do in Leicester (England):

  • The National Space Centre
  • The Golden Mile
  • King Power Stadium
  • Leicester Cathedral
  • Grand Union Canal
  • Leicester Market
  • Watermead Country Park
  • Abbey Park
  • Highcross Leicester
  • University of Leicester Botanic Garden
  • Stonehurst Family Farm and Museum
  • King Richard III Visitor Centre
  • New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
  • Social Climbing
  • Curve Theatre