(Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK)
There are some good museums to choose between in the city of Leicester, and with free admission, there really is no good reason not to try and visit at least a couple. The best include the Newarke Houses Museum, which comprises two separate historical 16th-century buildings, the Skeffington House and the Wygston's Chantry House.
The Jewry Wall Museum is another favourite attraction for culture vultures in Leicester and contains factual information and exhibits relating to this ancient Roman boundary. With Queen Anne-style architecture, beautifully landscaped walled gardens and resident ghosts, Leicester's Belgrave Hall Museum is also of note and this splendid house was completed at the beginning of the 18th century and has been open to the general public since 1936.
Newarke Houses Museum
Address: The Newarke, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE2 7BY, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 225 4980
The Newarke Houses Museum celebrates the city's 20th-century history, with period recreations and street scenes from the 1950s. The houses also contain a collection of toys dating back to Tudor times, as well as dedicated gallery space documenting the story of the city, which is entitled 'Moving Here'. There are also displays about both holiday package tycoon Thomas Cook (1808 to 1892) and Daniel Lambert (1770 to 1809) - a local well known for his extreme obesity, along with information about the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and the First World War. The Newarke Houses Museum has been recently refurbished at the cost of more than £1.25 million, thanks to a sizeable grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 17:00
National Gas Museum
Address: 195 Aylestone Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE2 7QH, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 250 3190
Founded in 1977 and originally named as the John Doran Museum, after the former chairman of the East Midlands regional office of British Gas, the National Gas Museum features an assortment of fascinating gas-related artefacts. These exhibits illustrate the historic movement from oil towards natural gas and this collection is reputed to be the best and most extensive of its kind in the world. The museum is easy to find, being located in a beautiful Victorian building, which dates from 1878 and has a very distinctive soaring clock tower.
Open hours: Tuesday to Thursday - 12:00 to 16:30
Jewry Wall Museum
Address: St. Nicholas Circle, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 4LB, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 225 4971
Often mistakenly thought to be linked with the religion of Judaism, the Jewry Wall is one of the most significant Roman civil structures in the country and offers visitors the chance to explore various excavated archaeological remains, such as public Roman baths built around 1,900 years ago and even an exercise hall. The adjacent Jewry Wall Museum on the St. Nicholas Circle contains many of the ancient treasures discovered at this site, including well-preserved Roman mosaics and elaborate frescoes (wall paintings). There is also a fascinating interactive section called 'The Making of Leicester', where a series of hand-on exhibits and models await visitors. Of interest, in Roman times, the city was referred to as Ratae Corieltauvorum.
Open hours: February to October, daily - 11:00 to 16:30
Belgrave Hall Museum and Gardens
*** Currently closed for refurbishment
Address: Church Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5PE, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 266 6590
Belgrave Hall features a recreation of typical Victorian life, with period furnishings and antiquities. Especially interesting at this museum is the direct comparison between middle-class life and their domestic servants. Visitors will also enjoy checking out the dining room, which reflects the style of the late-19th century 'Arts and Crafts' movement.
Open hours: seasonal events, contact for details