Leicester Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK)
There are all kinds of tourist attractions in the city Leicester, with the sweeping Curve Theatre in the Cultural Quarter being known for its outrageous contemporary architecture, and the Abbey Pumping Station offering something all together more historic. Alternatively, tourists in Leicester should consider the further available attractions, which include stream train rides to Loughborough on the Great Central Railway, seasonal soccer matches at the King Power Stadium, or a picnic at Bradgate Park.
The National Space Centre is one of the largest and most popular places to visit in Leicestershire and is highly successfully at making the world of space, astronomy and science all the more accessible. Suitable for all ages and brimming with hands-on activities, spread over six different galleries, the National Space Centre in Leicester has recently been voted as the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year and really is a must-see.
National Space Centre
Address: Exploration Drive, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5NS, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 261 0261
The National Space Centre overlooks the River Soar and officially opened in the summer of 2001, costing in excess of £50 million to build. The main highlights here include displays explaining the history of the universe and the solar system, together with the achievements of space exploration and travel. Also at the National Space Centre is the biggest planetarium in the United Kingdom (the Space Theatre), the actual Lander Operations Control Centre (LOCC) for the Beagle 2 Mars spacecraft, and the only Soyuz spacecraft existing in Western Europe. Those with a real fascination about the universe should be sure to pay a visit to the Space Now area, where you can check on the current status of real-life space missions. If you are in need of refreshment, then the Boosters cafe is on hand and comes complete with giant rocket boosters. Many special events have taken place here since its opening, including both Doctor Who and Star Wars days.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00; school holidays, daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old, students and families (two adults and up to three children), children five years old and under are free
Great Central Railway
Address: Redhill Circle, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK
Tel: +44 01509 230 726
The Great Central Railway of Leicestershire is often abbreviated as simply GCR and is an important heritage railway, dating as far back at the end of the 19th century and originally connecting London
. Sadly the railway was closed in 1969 due to cutbacks, although after much campaigning for funds, the double track stretching between Rothley and Loughborough was reopened in 2000 and the Grand Central Railway was gradually brought back to life. There are now four operational train stations along this 13-km / 8-mile preserved section, with Leicester North and Loughborough being located at either end, sandwiching Quorn and Rothley in between. Both steam and diesel powered trains are operated along the track, with fun-packed steam-gala days and other special events throughout the year. If you are feeling a little flush, then you may even like to pay for a Steam Locomotive Driving Package, where you can become the train driver for up to an entire day, with your own crew to assist you.
Open hours: daily - seasonal variations
Admission: charge for some activities
Abbey Pumping Station
Address: Corporation Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5PX, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 299 5111
Standing just across from the National Space Centre, the Abbey Pumping Station is sited on Corporation Road and is also close to the riverside. The Abbey Pumping Station was completed in 1891, after being built to pump the city's sewage to the neighbouring treatment plant at Beaumont Leys. This grand Victorian attraction was once the city's pride and joy, and with magnificent steam-powered beam engines and enormous fly wheels, capable of pumping more than 200,000 gallons every single hour. In total there are four engines, three of which have undergone an extensive restoration programme and are now in perfect working condition. The Abbey Pumping Station opened to the public in 1972 and also features its very own narrow gauge railway, as well as a calendar of fun steam-related events.
Open hours: February to October, daily - 11:00 to 16:30
Admission: free, nominal charge on special event days
Address: Loughborough Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5PN, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 268 1426
Various outdoor activities and recreational attractions present themselves in the city, and in particular, at the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre on Loughborough Road. Here you can enjoy everything from abseiling and archery, to camping, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, fencing, orienteering, rowing and even quad biking. There are also obstacle courses, raft building activities and various team games.
Open hours: daily - hours vary
Admission: charge for some activities
Address: Abbey Park Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5AQ, England, UK
Situated off the Abbey Park Road and offering an array of family based attractions, Abbey Park is a spacious parkland with playground areas for children, sports fields and tennis courts, a boating lake, a miniature railway, a paddling pool, an oriental Chinese garden, and a pets corner with friendly animals. The landscaped gardens provide plenty of seasonal colour and sensory interest, although many come here specifically to check out the 12th-century ruins of Leicester Abbey
and Cavendish House
. Abbey Park is owned and maintained by the City Council and regularly wins the Green Flag award for overall excellence.
Open hours: daily - dawn to dusk
Address: Bradgate Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE6 0HE, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 236 2713
Bradgate Park lies on the north-westerly outskirts of the city and to the north of Swithland Wood, where it is part of the Charnwood Forest and next to the Cropston Reservoir. Covering more than 340 hectares / 840 acres in total, Bradgate Park is something of a wildlife haven and is the perfect place to take a stroll, have a picnic, and generally relax, away from city life. The park is home to the meandering River Lin and stands between the villages of Anstey, Cropston, Newtown Linford, Swithland and Woodhouse Eaves. Visitors should look out for the visitors centre, the remains of Bradgate House (once the home of Lady Jane Grey), and the 18th-century hilltop folly of Old John, which from a distance resembles a beer tankard.
Open hours: daily - dawn to dusk
Leicester City Football Club / King Power Stadium
Address: Filbert Way, Raw Dykes Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE2 7FL, England, UK
Tel: +44 0844 815 7000
The home ground of the Leicester City FC, formerly called the Walkers Stadium, was built in 2002 and was officially opened by local footballing legend Gary Lineker, who was born in the city in 1960. Renamed the King Power Stadium as of 2011, the stadium can hold more than 32,000 spectators and also features its own eateries - the Filberts Carvery and the Fusions Restaurant, along with the 1884 Sports Bar party venue.
Open hours: hours vary
Admission: charge for events
Belgrave (The Golden Mile)
Address: Belgrave Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK
The Golden Mile is the popular title for a long section of Belgrave Road, which earned it name in the sixties due to its high concentration of shops selling gold jewellery. Located approximately 1.5 km / 1 mile to the north of Leicester city centre, the Golden Mile of today is known for its wealth of restaurants specialising in Indian cuisine, as well as numerous sari shops and similar Indian-themed attractions. In December, the Belgrave area is filled with seasonal lighting, which celebrates both Christmas and the Hindi Diwali festival.
Open hours: daily
Address: Curve Theatre
, Rutland Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1SB, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 242 3560
Address: The Little Theatre
, Dover Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 6PW, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 255 1302
Address: Phoenix Arts Centre
, Phoenix Square, Midland Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1TG, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 242 2803
The city's three theatres each have something different to office. Located on Rutland Street and next to the Athena conference centre, the dazzling Curve Theatre lies within the Cultural Quarter and was formerly known as the city's Performing Arts Centre. The Curve opened as recently as 2008 and is able to seat audiences of 750 people, while the Little Theatre has a small auditorium with a capacity of around 350, being favoured by youth and amateur theatrical groups. To the west and next to the main De Montfort University
, the Phoenix Arts Centre is smaller still and has recently been taken over, being used for a variety of different events and performances.
Open hours: daily - hours vary according to performance
Admission: charge for shows