Leicester is a busy and vibrant city today, and is in fact one of the oldest towns in the country, as well as being one of England's largest.
It was an important Roman town, on the famous Fosse Way, and has the largest surviving piece of Roman masonry of a civil nature, the Jewry Wall. Later on, it was one of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw during the Danish occupation.
The city is also home to Leicester Cathedral (the former St. Martin's Church), as well as another four mediaeval churches, St. Mary de Castro Church, St. Nicholas Church, St. Margarets Church and All Saints Church, in the Old Town.
There was enormous growth at the time of the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th century Thomas Cook organised his very first excursion, from Leicester to Loughborough, and the Clock Tower was constructed at the very heart of the modern city. Leicester is renowned for its flamboyant Victorian architecture, some of the superb buildings of this period being the former Midland Bank (HSBC), the Turkey Cafe, the Singer Building and some of the coffee houses.
Richard III was buried at the Grey Friars in Leicester, having lost his crown and his life to Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth, fought near Market Bosworth in 1485. Cardinal Wolsey, adviser to Henry VIII, died and was buried at Leicester Abbey, on the site of today's Abbey Park.
The Sporting Success statue in Gallowtree Gate features a cricketer, a footballer and a Rugby player, and commemorates the fact that Leicester's teams in these sports each won a major trophy in 1996.
Well-known people from Leicester include the brothers Richard Attenborough and David Attenborough, popular singers Engelbert Humperdinck and Mark Morrison, singing groups Showaddywaddy, the Dallas Boys and Kasabian, writers C.P.Snow, Joe Orton, Colin Wilson, Sue Townsend, Ann Fine and Alan and Janet Ahlberg, footballers Gary Lineker, Peter Shilton, Emile Heskey and Dion Dublin, snooker player Willie Thorne, naturalist Henry Walter Bates, furniture designer Ernest Gimson, boxers Tony Sibson and Chris Pyatt, magician Wayne Dobson, Monty Python member Graham Chapman, the 54 stone Daniel Lambert and Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man.
Leicester has a large immigrant population, and an enviable reputation for intercultural harmony. The city's culture has been enormously enriched by this, especially by the Diwali lights, Caribbean Carnival and fruit and vegetables from all over the world available at Leicester Market, the largest covered market in Europe.
There are several Museums, including the New Walk Museum, Jewry Wall Museum and Belgrave Hall, as well as a couple of Art Galleries. The stunning National Space Centre, the only one outside North America, opened in 2001 as one of Britain's major Millennium projects.
Leicester is situated in the very centre of England, and is therefore easily accessible by train, coach or car - or even narrowboat - from all parts of the country.
* Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Leicester for groups.
Where is Leicester?
View a map showing the location of Leicester.
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Events in Leicester
A Breath of Fresh Air, A Closer Look at Leicester, A Handful of Architects, A Midsummer Nights Haunt, All Saints, Aylestone Meadows, Bank on Leicester, Belgrave Ancient and Modern, Belgrave Cemetery, Belgrave Gate, Beyond the Grave, Black Annis and Friends, Deck the Halls, Ding Dong Merrily on High, Faith in Leicester, Friday the Thirteenth, Gates and Bridges, Ghosts and Graveyards, Gone, But Not Forgotten, Goosepimples, Grave Attraction, Hallowe`en at Evington, Happy New Year, Haunted Belgrave, Haunted Leicester, Hidden Leicester, High Cross Street, Highfields, Historic Leicester, Humberstone Gate, Keeping Faith in Leicester, King Richard III, Local Heroines, London Road, Looking Up In Leicester, Lost Inns and Coffee Houses, Markets of Leicester, Mediaeval Leicester, Mediaeval Leicester at Christmas, New Walk New Walk, Norman Leicester, Old Aylestone, Old Belgrave, Old Evington, Old Humberstone, Old St. Martins, Prelude to Richard III, Richard III, Saints and Preachers, Secrets of New Walk, Set in Stone, St. George and the Dragons, Stage and Screen, Street Names of Leicester, Talks, Talks 2, The Ghostly Belgrave Triangle, The Ghosts of Christmas, The Grim Reaper, The Haunted City, The Holly and the Ivy, The Shades of Night, Victims of Jack the Ripper, Victorian Leicester, Viking Leicester, Walk in Dread, Walking the Walls, Waterside Abbey Park, Waterside Aylestone, Waterside Belgrave, Waterside Glenhills, Waterside Leicester, Waterside West End, Welford Road Cemetery, Welford Road Graves
Places in Leicester
Abbey Park, Abbey Pumping Station, All Saints Church, Aylestone Hall, Belgrave Cemetery, Belgrave Cemetery Gates, Belgrave Gate, Belgrave Hall, Belvoir Street, Cardinal Wolsey Statue, Castle Gardens, Cathedral Fountain, Central Lending Library, Cheapside, Church Gate, Clock Tower, Clock Tower outside Welford Road Cemetery, Conversation Piece Statue, Corn Exchange, De Montfort Hall, De Montfort University, Duke of Rutland Statue, EcoHouse, Fenwick Building, Gallowtree Gate, Gas Museum, Grand Hotel, Great Hall, Great Meeting, Guildhall, Haymarket Centre, Haymarket Theatre, Holy Cross Priory Church, Humberstone Gate, Jain Centre, Jewry Wall, Jewry Wall Museum, John Biggs Statue, John of Gaunts Cottage, Leicester Abbey, Leicester Castle, Leicester Cathedral, Leicester Market, Leicester North Station, Leicester Prison, Leicester Station, Leicester University, Lotus Flowers, Magazine Gateway, McDonalds Abbey Lane, Melton Turn, Metal Tree, Midland Bank (HSBC), National Space Centre, New Walk, New Walk Centre, New Walk Museum, Newarke Bridge, Newarke Houses Museum, Original Four Building, Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Piggy`s Hollow, Pork Pie Chapel, Public Library, Evington, Reference Library, Richard III Statue, River Soar, Robert Hall Statue, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Silver Street, Southgates Underpass, Sporting Success Statue, St. Andrews Church, Aylestone, St. Denys Church Evington, St. Margarets Bus Station, St. Margarets Church, St. Marks Church, St. Mary de Castro Church, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Knighton, St. Marys Church Humberstone, St. Nicholas Church, St. Peters Church, Belgrave, St. Peters Church, Braunstone, St. Stephens United Reform Church, The Great Hole of Leicester, The Seamstress Statue, The Shires, Thomas Cook Building, Thomas Cook Statue, Tomb of Andrew Lord Rollo, Top Hat Terrace, Town Hall, Town Hall Square Fountain, Turkey Cafe, Turret Gateway, Vaughan College, Victoria Park, Walkers Stadium, War Memorial, Waterside Centre, Weather Symbols Statue, Welford Road Cemetery, Welford Road Cemetery Gates, Wolsey Tower, Wygstons House