Leicester Landmarks and Monuments
(Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK)
There are certainly some reasonable landmarks in Leicester city, if you are prepared to look hard enough.
Leicester Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Martin) is one landmark that certainly stands out from the crowd and is to be found next to the city's Grammar School, where it dates as far back as the 12th century.
Others include the historic Guildhall, the Secular Hall, Leicester Castle and the Great Hall, and the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower.
It should be noted that a number of grand residences and privately owned landmarks in the city always allow access to the general public as part of the Heritage Open Days each September.
Leicester Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Martin)
Address: 21 St. Martin's, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5DE, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 248 7400
Leicester Cathedral operates as a Church of England cathedral and as the seat of the city's bishop. Built to replace an old Saxon church, the Church of St. Martin was not actually granted its cathedral status in 1927. Much restoration work was carried out in 2004 and 2005, costing in excess of £600,000 and partly funded by a donation from the English Heritage. Those exploring the interior will discover some beautiful stained-glass windows, with the East Window serving as a special memorial to those who lost their lives during the First World War. Each Thursday and Sunday morning, the cathedral's 13 bells ring out over the city.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 07:00 to 17:00
Admission: donations suggested
Address: Town Hall Square, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 9BG, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 223 2000
A particularly famous and important landmark in the city centre, close to Bishop Street and Horsefair Street, Leicester Town Hall was built in the 1870s and is known for its traditional Queen Anne style architecture and appearance. This building is fronted by a much-loved bronze-coloured fountain, which stands in the centre of the Town Hall Square and was unveiled in 1879. The Town Hall stands on a site once used as a cattle market and now incorporates a large place for parking bicycles, in a successful attempt to encourage cycling in the city. Guided tours are available on the first Wednesday of every month, being free of charge and led by experienced Blue Badge guides.
Open hours: Monday to Wednesday - 08:30 to 17:00, Thursday and Friday - 08:30 to 16:30
Address: Guildhall Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5FQ, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 253 2569
Dating from the end of the 14th century and now a Grade 1 listed landmark, the beautiful timber-framed Leicester Guildhall is said to be the most haunted structure in the whole of the city. Inside there are historic prison cells and a 'gibbet', which is a structure resembling gallows and was used for hanging recently executed criminals as means of a deterrent. Over the years, the Guildhall has also been used for several different purposes, such as a venue for meetings of the Guild of Corpus Christi organisation, library space, a courtroom, school and police office space, and even as the town hall. Today the city's Guildhall functions as a performance venue and as a museum-type attraction, where visitors are able to step back in time and meet imprisoned Victorian pickpockets.
Open hours: daily - 11:00 to 16:30
Leicester Abbey (Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis)
Address: Abbey Park Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5AQ, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 222 1000
The ancient remains of the Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis (Saint Mary of the Meadows) can be found approximately 2 km / 1.5 miles to the north of the city centre and within the grounds of Abbey Park. Leicester Abbey was founded in the mid-12th century by the city's resident earl, only to be closed in 1538 at the request if King Henry VIII. After this, the first Earl of Devonshire (William Cavendish) set up home here and built his own house, which became known as Cavendish House. In 1645, the house was used by Charles I during the city's Civil War siege and upon his departure, his soldier set fire to the building, and the charred window frames can still be seen today. In 1925, the Earl of Dysart gifted the site to the council, along with its 13 hectares / 32 acres of land, and it became a popular parkland and recreational space. With strong connections to the Archbishop of York, the Lord Chancellor of England
and also Cardinal Wolsey, the ruined Abbey is still an extremely important site of historical interest.
Open hours: daily
Leicester Castle and the Great Hall
Address: Castle View, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5WH, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 225 4980
Situated on Castle Yard and on the western side of the city centre, Leicester Castle complex stands alongside the Church of St. Mary de Castro, close to the De Montfort University and within the Castle Park area. The complex is home to many interesting places of interest, with its charming gardens being a very pleasant place to relax, bounded by the canal banks. The 11th-century medieval castle ruins are a particular highlight here, as is the John of Gaunt's Cellar and the Castle Yard, which was historically the setting for public executions. However, it is the mid-12th century Great Hall that really stands out and was used as a meeting place for parliament on a number of occasions, although actually appears more youthful that its actual age, since the addition of a red-brick exterior in the 17th century.
Open hours: event days only
Address: 32 Oxford Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5XU, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 254 3091
Standing on Oxford Street and just a stroll away from the ruined castle, the Jain Centre is an especially splendid building, being fronted by a simple marble facing with Indian carvings on the top section. The Jain Centre actually began its life as a disused church and was converted using materials shipped here from India, and is the only Jainism temple of its kind in Europe (Jainism is an Indian religion and evolved at roughly the same time as Buddhism).
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:30 to 20:30, Sunday - 08:30 to 18:30
Address: University of Leicester
, University Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 7RH, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2522
Address: De Montfort University (DMU)
, The Gateway, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 9BH, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 255 1551
There are two separate universities located within the city. Located next to Victoria Park, the University of Leicester is home to more than 20,000 students and was founded as a college in 1927, with its Botanical Gardens, Beaumont Hall, Digby Hall, Gilbert Murray Stamford Hall, John Foster Hall and halls of residence being located in the suburb town of Oadby. The faculties here comprise arts, law, medicine and biological sciences, science and social science.
Close to Victoria Park and just 3 km / 2 miles to the north-west, De Montfort University accommodates just over 21,000 students and was founded as a Polytechnic in 1969, gaining its university status in 1992. The De Montfort campus boasts numerous notable landmarks and attractions, which are spread around its two campuses (Leicester City and Charles Frears) and include the Campus Centre Building, the Eric Wood Building, the John Sandford Sports Centre, the Kimberlin Library and the Queen's Building. Faculties here cover art and design, business and law, health and life sciences, humanities and technology, as well as the Institute of Creative Technologies.
Open hours: daily
Address: 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1WB, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 292 1964
A Grade II listed building dating back to the 1880s, the Secular Hall was constructed for the Leicester Secural Society, who had strong non-religious beliefs. Although the Secular Hall rarely opens its door to members of the general public, its facade is quite impressive and features a selection of stone carvings, including busts of Jesus, the French writer François-Marie Arouet, founder of socialism Robert Owen, English writer and revolutionary Thomas Paine, and Greek philosopher Socrates.
Open hours: special events only
Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower
Address: Haymarket Centre, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 3YA, England, UK
The Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower serves as a much-used meeting spot in the city centre and stands close to the Haymarket shopping centre. Originally built in 1868 as a dramatic centrepiece for a traffic island with a five-way junction, the Clock Tower now stands in a pedestrianised precinct and next to the Gallowtree Gate and the High Street. Of interest, the design for the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower was decided by means of a competition.
Open hours: daily
The City Rooms
Address: Hotel Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5AW, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 251 5337
Located in the heart of the city and ranking as a Grade 1 listed landmark, the City Rooms are traditionally Georgian in character, being built in the early 1790s. Originally intended to be the city's very first hotel for those visiting the races at Victoria Park, the City Rooms building was sold before its interior layout was complete, and so was used for a different purpose. The ground floor is now a popular coffee house, while the upper floors regularly host banquets and similar receptions, with the lavish ballroom being the star attraction. At the beginning of the new millennium, the City Rooms began a substantial restoration and renovation project, which is now completed and functions as both a sumptuous boutique-style hotel and conference centre.
Open hours: daily
Church of St. Mary de Castro (Church of St. Mary of the Castle)
Address: 15 Castle Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5WN, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)116 262 8727
The Church of St. Mary de Castro dates back more than 900 years and is located close to Leicester Castle, where is was established as a collegiate church. The exact history of this church is a little unclear and many locals actually believe that is origins are even earlier. It is certainly known that it was rebuilt towards the end of the 12th century, and that the current spire was added at the turn of the 15th century.
Open hours: daily