Following on from the Richard III reinterment, the cultural spotlight has been turned on Leicester, with more visitors than ever before keen to enjoy the city’s highlights. While some of the big-name attractions come with an inflated price tag, there’s actually a ton of things to do in leicester for free and so many fun and free cultural attractions in both Leicester and its surrounding areas, with more than enough to keep visitors entertained over a long weekend.
Are there any Free Things to do in Leicester?
If you are wondering if there are any free things to do in Leicester?, the answer is yes, lots. Below are a few of our favourites for you to explore and enjoy, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know as we will happily feature them for others to enjoy.
1. New Walk
Leicester’s pretty eighteenth-century pedestrianised walkway, New Walk, is a perfect example of Leicester’s elegant side. Walk the length of it from the University to the city centre, passing leafy parks where Victorian governesses used to take their charges, and don’t forget to call in at the New Walk Museum and Gallery.
2. New Walk Museum and Gallery
This museum offers free entrance, with both permanent and temporary exhibitions. See Egyptian mummies, dinosaurs, Victorian art, ceramics modelled by Picasso, German expressionist paintings, and much more in this charming Victorian museum: curators’ talks and lunchtime concerts are given regularly, although there may be a small fee for these special events.
3. Welford Road Cemetery
Fans of history will enjoy a peaceful stroll through Leicester’s Welford Road Cemetery, a classic Victorian garden cemetery which is also one of the country’s oldest. Welford Road hosts the grave of travel pioneer Thomas Cook, one of Leicester’s most celebrated sons. The cemetery is also home to the graves of early trade unionists; the merchants who brought so much prosperity to Leicester during the nineteenth-century; WWI and WWII casualties; noted philanthropists, and the rich and poor of Victorian Leicester alike, as it was the city’s only cemetery for many years. Come here for tranquility in the heart of the city, and to admire the stone ivy-covered angels and urns.
If you enjoy museums and heritage, the timber-framed Guildhall in the medieval city centre played a large role in Leicester’s Richard III commemorations, but despite this, entrance to the astonishing historical building is totally free. Kids and adults with a taste for the slightly gruesome will enjoy seeing the old prison cells, and the building itself is an architectural marvel. While you’re here, you might also want to pop next door to Leicester Cathedral, which hosted Richard III’s funeral.
5. Bradgate House
To get out of the city for a short time, there are plenty of parks and gardens in Leicester and you’ll probably want to visit Bradgate Park. See the ruins of Bradgate House here, which in the summer hosts outdoor theatre performances. The House was the birthplace and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, who ruled England for 9 days as a teenager. The park is wild and rocky, filled with ponds, trees, free-ranging deer and an eighteenth-century folly known as Old John. The park is free to enter and roam around, although you have to pay to park (although it is possible to catch a bus here from the city centre).
6. Rutland Water Park
When the weather is good, and albeit slightly further afield, Rutland Water Park is a great day out for all too. Scenic surroundings make it the perfect picnic place or if you fancy something more active you can also hire bikes and enjoy a ride from one end to the other.
7. Newarke Houses Museum
Heading back into town, see Leicester as it was in the old days at Newarke Houses Museum. This museum is dedicated to local history and the changing face of Leicester as a city, and its exhibitions include old shop fronts, WWI dioramas, and the incorporated Leicestershire Regiment museum.
8. Jewry Wall Museum
The nearby Jewry Wall Museum takes visitors even further back in Leicester’s history, to Roman times and beyond. With a Roman mosaic floor, the remains of Roman baths and frescoes as well as artefacts from other eras, this fascinating little museum is a fantastic free treat while you’re in Leicester.
So if you’re looking for things to do in Leicester for free and fancy doing something slightly different try the above or feel free to contact us for more ideas.
If you would like additional ideas for things to do in Leicester, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other Leicester guides.