Since it was founded in the second century BC, Leicester has been a Saxon stronghold, a Roman garrison, and the city that supplied the coal that fired the Industrial Revolution. Today, it's a top tourist destination known for its sports teams, its friendly locals, and the National Space Centre. Plus, it's the last resting places of one of Britain's most infamous kings.
Leicester City FC is one of the country's most successful soccer teams. If you're not able to get tickets for a game, take a tour of the King Power Stadium instead.
Learn more about the king that Shakespeare labelled a ruthless opportunist at the King Richard III Visitor Centre or see his new tomb at 11th-century Leicester Cathedral.
See the largest piece of masonry from Roman times in the UK and discover what the city was like during its days as a garrison town at the Jewry Wall Museum. Or, spend the day at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery among dinosaur bones, Egyptian mummies, and ceramics by Picasso.
Visit Abbey Park, a leafy space divided in two by the River Soar. Highlights include the ruins of the 12th-century abbey, a boating lake, beautiful gardens, and play areas.
The part of Belgrave Road known as the Golden Mile celebrates the city's cultural diversity. Visit the city in August for the Belgrave Mela or Leicester Caribbean Carnival.
The best time to visit Leicester is during the summer months from May to September for seasonal attractions like the Carnival and the Mela. Soccer and rugby lovers might prefer to visit during the winter months when the season is well underway.
The closest airport to Leicester is East Midlands Airport (EMA). Take the Skylink bus from the airport to St. Margaret's Bus Station in the city center or make the journey by taxi for £30 - £40.
The city is on the main route from London to Leeds. The railway station is 10 minutes from the heart of the city and a five-minute walk from St. Margaret's Bus Station.
Leicester is right next to the M1 motorway if you're coming from London and the south. Those traveling from other parts of the Midlands like Coventry or Birmingham can take the M69 and connect to the M1 at Junction 21.
There are regular services to Leicester from London and other major cities. Operators include National Express and Megabus.
Try the Mercure Leicester Grand Hotel in the city center or pick a designer hotel like the Maiyango Hotel. Budget-friendly alternatives include the Croft Hotel.
City Center - the city's commercial and retail center. Attractions include Leicester Cathedral, the National Space Centre, and the Curve center for performing arts.
Belgrave - the district to the north of the city center is known for its restaurants, sari stores, and jewelry shops.
Clarendon Park/Knighton - home to the city's two prestigious universities, the University of Leicester and De Montfort University Leicester, plus a large student population.
Local buses cover Leicester and neighboring towns. Arriva buses depart from St. Margaret's Bus Station while First buses can be boarded at stops all over the city center. Day tickets are available but they are not interchangeable.
Taxis are readily available in all parts of the town. A typical five-mile journey will cost £8.
Many people choose to rent a car since the city is within driving distance of some of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom. Leading brands like Enterprise and Budget can be found at East Midlands Airport.
Visit 700-year-old Leicester Market, the oldest covered market in Europe, for a vast assortment of clothing, foods, and accessories. If you prefer a more upmarket setting, you'll find leading brands and designer names in the Gold Award-winning Highcross shopping mall.
Pick up food, toiletries, and other essentials from supermarket chains like Morrison's, Tesco, and Waitrose. You'll pay 75p for a quart of milk and £2.03 for a dozen large eggs.
Head for the Golden Mile area of Belgrave Road for the best curries in the city. For a more upmarket version of the UK's most popular food, try the Maiyango Hotel and Restaurant. A simple lunch will cost from £5-8 while dinner for two with wine at a smart restaurant will be £45 - £70.
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