Looking for things to do in Leicester today, this week or during the holidays? Great news, you are in the right place as we have all of the best attractions and events to keep you and your family entertained.
The guide is broken down into easy to use sections which provide useful information and links to pages with more details or direct to attractions and event websites for easy booking.
So sit back, grab your favourite drink and lets find something new for you to enjoy with or without the kids!
Things to do in Leicester
Perched on the banks of the River Soar and edging the English National Forest, Leicester is a thriving, progressive city with a vibrant immigrant population.
Now the largest city in the East Midlands, Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England with a history going back to pre-Roman times. Once inhabited by Celtic tribes, Leicester became a settlement on the Roman road and the remains of Roman baths can be seen today. The city was later a major centre during the industrial revolution and was linked by the Grand Union Canal to Birmingham and London.
What to do in Leicester
Leicester is a beautiful city with an abundance of Victorian architecture to enjoy as you walk around the city centre. You will find that many of the city centre streets are pedestrianised and if you fancy a little retail therapy, there are plenty of shopping outlets including Europe’s largest covered market, which is a treat for everyone. On the west side of the city you will find the cathedral, castle and numerous medieval churches which are definitely worth a visit.
Leicester’s rich cosmopolitan mix results in a wide range of ethnic foods and cultural events. Leicester is home to many fine Indian restaurants and the city resounds to festivals such as Diwali.
Transport: getting there and getting around
Leicester is very conveniently located on the UK’s main transport arteries, with the M1 motorway providing easy access to and from for visitors by car. The major train lines from Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and London, allow the high-speed trains to reach London in just over an hour. If you are planning on travelling on from London to the continent, you will find easy access to the Eurostar international services at London St Pancras, which is the same station that the trains from Leicester arrive at.
East Midlands Airport is the nearest airport for Leicester and with both premium and low cost options provides domestic most UK major airports, short haul international flights to Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris and even long haul flights to the likes of Mexico, the caribbean and the US.
An extensive bus network operates in and around Leicester.
Mild and wet best describes the English weather and the further north you go, the colder it gets. However, inland temperatures don’t get much below freezing in the winter months of December to February, or much above 30C in summer.
However, the East Midlands tends to have higher rainfall in the summer and less sunshine in winter.
What’s on in Leicester
Now in its 5th year, the Leicester City Festival runs between the 12th – 28th August 2017 and includes street festivals featuring unique performances from national and international street artists, the Big Weekender which will make you laugh all weekend and the Night of Festivals which marks the 70th Anniversary of Indian and Pakistan Independence with South Asian cultural celebrations.
Come and enjoy a fantastic day of entertainment on 20th August 2017 and be amazed by street performances, tasty cuisine, fantastic arts and Indian culture. With South Asian arts and cultural experiences to enjoy and not to mention the UK’s biggest shopping bazaar where you can grab a bargain and try your haggling skills.
Or if you want to experience the circus and great music, checkout the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, who have travelled from Jaipur, India, just to entertain you.
International Music Festival
Leicester International Music Festival continues to showcase some of the best musicians and composers, including the Leicester Symphony Orchestra with Sir Malcolm Sargent, The Bach Choir with Kathleen Ferrier and the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra with Sir Michael Tippett.
Regardless of if you are a regular concert-goer or simply looking for something new to try, you will find that the festival has events to cater for everyone. From formal concerts to a family ‘jam session’ where you can meet the players, find out about their instruments and listen to some great music in an informal setting.
21 Sept 2017 – 23 Sept 2017
Acoustic Gardens III: By The Rivers
Bring a picnic and listen to the best singer songwriters from the Midlands in the beautiful setting of Belgrave Hall Gardens.
The full event line-up:
- By The Rivers (Acoustic set)
- Paul McLure
- Rhett Barrow
- Cruel Sister
- Luke Broughton
- Dawson Smith
- Mikey Kerslake
Ever ridden on a Rickshaw? Well over 70 are coming to Leicester and will be leading 1000’s of cyclists through the city, so either bring your bike or get on board and relax whilst you take in the sights of the city.
Bank Holiday Heritage: Four To Explore
If you fancied taking a look around The Magazine, Leicester Castle Great Hall, Trinity Hospital Chapel and the DMU Heritage Centre but have been put off by price, now is your chance? Well on 28th August 2017, The Four to Explore event allows you to visit each of these great attractions without spending a single penny. Great for the family and great for your wallet!
Opening the City Festival this year is an arts celebration with a variety of performance areas, free arts workshops and an exhibition space showcasing amazing local and national artists. Make sure you do not miss the grand finale which will feature a live music, dance, interactive animation and a laser show!
Joyous Urban Mess
The street becomes a playground for the Les Vernisseurs when they interact with audiences on Saturday August 23rd, 2017. Come along and watch as they shower themselves and you in confetti, ribbons and streamers.
Leicester Vegan Market
With cookery demonstrations, children’s activities and over 50 stalls selling street food, artisan cheese, clothes, arts, crafts, cosmetics and gifts, you are bound to have fun at the Vegan market on Sunday 3rd September 2017.
Leicester city centre will be transformed into Little India on Saturday 19th August 2017 by costumed street performers, dancers and the Holi Festival of Colours flash mobs.
Watch Harminder the cycle powered Indian elephant move through the streets, accompanied by music and transporting a performer on her back. Lots of fun for all the family with workshops and street entertainment.
This is fun for all the family, no matter if you are young or old. On Friday August 25th 2017, Monsters Colours provides interactive games to test your puzzle solving, cup stacking and co-ordination abilities.
Events: what’s on and what’s hot
- City Festival – 12th – 28th August 2017
- Belgrave Mela – 20th August 2017
- Acoustic Gardens III: By The Rivers
- 70 Rickshaws
- Bank Holiday Heritage: Four To Explore – 28th August 2017
- Cosmopolitan Carnival
- Joyous Urban Mess – Saturday August 23rd, 2017
- Leicester Vegan Market – Sunday 3rd September 2017
- Little India – Saturday 19th August 2017
- Monsters Colours – Friday August 25th 2017
- The Comedy Festival, which is the UK’s longest running comedy festival, takes place in February and is a ten day laugh fest.
- The Leicester Early Music Festival is hosted in May, where you can enjoy exhibitions, workshops, concerts, family and dance days and the highly anticipated wine and whisky tastings.
- The Riverside Festival takes place on the first Saturday of June.
- The Caribbean Carnival which takes place in August is full of colour and music.
- Lastly, the International Music Festival is held on 21 Sept 2017 – 23 Sept 2017 and brings together the best of jazz, world and classical music to the Midlands.
Accommodation: from B&B’s to luxury hotels
Leicester has a great selection of top hotels and B&B’s catering to all price range, so you are bound to find something which is right for you and your budget. Personally, we like to use comparison sites to find the best prices wherever we travel and we would recommend Booking.com as they have a great selection and discounts.