Leicestershire Travel Guide

Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Leicestershire - © Pahazzard

Introduction and Overview

The Leicestershire Travel Guide outlines the various local attractions of note and places of interest for visitors. The area guide includes travel information on local events, transport, facts & figures, entertainment and accommodation giving an insight in to the area.

Like neighbouring county Northamptonshire, the county tends to be missed by tourists. It is not known as a high profile county when it comes to attracting tourists but a closer look at this pleasant county reveals some interesting attractions for visitors to explore further.

One advantage is you are unlikely to find hoards of tourists all visiting the attractions at the same time, this allows for a rather relaxing and serene trip that you can take at your leisure.

Leicestershire is a largely unspoiled county that has large areas of splendid English countryside to enjoy and has some interesting historical sites including castles and historic houses.

Leicestershire boasts a number of medieval manor houses, these include Kirby Muxloe Castle; it is a fine example of a fortified manor. Donnington-le-Heath is a manor house built around 1280, and Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a late medieval manor that features an 80 foot high tower split in two during the Civil War.

Stanford Hall is a sedate home that dates back to the early 15th century. Of interest is the collection of family costumes and Royal Stuart portraits.

Other historical areas include the Iron Age hill forts of Breedon Hill and Burrough Hill. The Roman period is shown by the excavated Roman town of Ratea Coritanorum, located in the middle of Leicester.

Among villages, Barrow upon Soar is a large village in the north of Leicestershire. It is both a residential and industrial village located between Leicester and Loughborough. The village once had a big industry in hosiery and knitwear, but currently boating is the most important and the riverbank provides mooring for many houseboats.

The village is known for having a plesiosaur dinosaur excavated in its past, called the 'Barrow Kipper'. The dinosaur was discovered in a lime pit outside of the village in 1851. Leicestershire is a must see for fans of church architecture, with many architecturally interesting parish churches, such as Market Harborough and Bottesford, among others.

Leicester had an unfortunate image in the past, but it has emerged from this and is now becoming regarding as a city that is rich in culture, creativity and environmental conservation.

Leicester has a truly diverse population, with a large influence from the Indian subcontinent, interesting times to visit are during Diwali and Eid-ul-Fitr when there are many community events and things to see and enjoy. Belgrave Road is known as the Golden Mile for the large number of jewellery shops located here.

Leicester also has a large Afro-Caribbean population and the vibrant 'Leicester Caribbean Carnival' on the first weekend in August is full of fun.

Leicester has a long history and has a number of attractions, these include among England's largest Roman civil structures, the Jewry Wall and the related Jewry Wall Museum. The Guildhall, along with the New Walk will be of interest to visitors.

Loughborough is located in the north of Leicestershire, it is the largest town in the county after the city of Leicester. The town includes Loughborough University, a leading UK university that includes sports scholarships with many international athletes studying and living here. The town has a number of museums; Charnwood Museum includes exhibits showcasing the geology, archaeology and history of the local area.

The Loughborough Carillon includes a carillon and war memorial, the museum includes military memorabilia and artefacts from the armed forces. John Taylor & Co are local bell founders, the museum tells the storey of bells that dates back to the 13th century.

The Great Central Railway is a heritage attraction that includes the UK’s last main line heritage railway, using a variety of rolling stock preserved from yesteryear. Visitors can enjoy a trip on the heritage railway that starts from Loughborough Central.

Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a small market town located 20 miles from Leicester. Local attractions include the Ashby Arts Festival held in May attracting artists, musicians, poets and performers. St Helen's Church dates back to the 14th century, the parish church is known for its gothic architecture.

The Holy Trinity is a parish church and Grade II listed building in the town, dating back to 1840 the historic church is designed in Gothic Revival architecture.

The town centre includes a number of historic buildings including some with distinctive timber frames. The town is best known for Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle, the historic castle is a Grade I listed building. The castle is located on the outskirts of the town and is a popular location for a day out.

Melton Mowbray is located in north east Leicestershire 15 miles from Leicester. The town is famous for its association with food including pork pies and stilton cheese. St Mary’s Church is a large parish church located in the heart of the town, noted for its impressive architecture, parts of the church date back to the 12th century.

The Melton Carnegie Museum looks at the economic and social history of the town and includes exhibits of the town’s famous food pork pies and stilton cheese. The town has a number of pubs including those that play live music, offering visitors a chance to sample pub fare and enjoy the atmosphere of English pubs.

Market Harborough is located in the south of Leicestershire close to the border with Northamptonshire. Local places of interest include Harborough Museum highlighting local history and trade with a range of exhibits, artefacts and temporary and travelling exhibitions.

St. Dionysius Parish Church is famous for its 160 foot spire that can be seen for many miles. Originally dating back to the 14th century that church is notable for its fine architecture and Victorian furnishings.

The town includes a number of independent shops including boutiques for clothing, jewellery and antiques. Foxton Locks is located 5 miles from Market Harborough, there is a museum where visitors can learn more about the locks and the area and see the narrowboats pass their way through the locks. Located in the tranquil Leicestershire countryside it makes to a scenic and relaxing day out.

Leicestershire offers visitors a range of attractions from historic sites that include castles and houses to gardens and the lovely unspoilt Leicestershire countryside. The county offers a nice place to visit for a relaxing break and will be of particularly attractive to those visitors who wish to avoid the crowds and go somewhere the majority of tourists would not immediately think of.

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