2020 in Leicester

In 2019 we were blessed with a fantastic year of festivals, events and activities. The Bring The Paint street art festival returned to brighten our city once again, we welcomed the 1960’s themed Revive Festival celebrations for the first time, and of course, the Leicester favourites that we have come to know and love.

But now it’s 2020. A New Year. A New Decade.

Don’t worry though, all your faves will be back soon enough - some with a slight twist - and they’ll be joined by a whole host of all-new activities and events; Glowing Giants, Dynamic Domes and Pop Powerhouses to name a few. There’s plenty to look forward to, so let’s get into it:


January

The year kicks off in style as Leicester’s Chinese New Year Celebrations get underway from January 26. Say goodbye to the Year of the Pig as we welcome the Year of the Rat. There’s plenty of fun and free events to get involved with, culminating in a fantastic finale on February 8. You can also join in on free workshops and activities, as well as take in some traditional Chinese artwork.

Find out everything you need to know on the event page.


February – Laughter & Love

January can always be a bit of a tough month. Empty pockets, grim weather, and a general post-Christmas cloud. Luckily the start of February brings the return of “one of the best comedy festivals in the world” for its 27th year. Of course, it’s the Leicester Comedy Festival. Always one of the highlights of the Leicester event calendar, this year’s festival has lined up over 800 shows in over 90 venues. 2020’s headline acts include Jo Brand, Griff Rhys Jones, Rhod Gilbert, Reg D Hunter, Paul Sinha and many, many more!

You can catch a classic stand up, groan your way through the UK Pun Championship, get the young ones involved with the dedicated Kid’s Comedy Festival, and crown your favourite at the ever-popular Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year awards. We’ve rounded up a few of our top picks in an article, but make sure you check out their event brochure to find that special show that’ll tickle your funny bone. Still not made any Valentine’s Day plans? You’re in luck as there’s 43 comedy events you can make your way to, ranging from intimate venues to roaring auditoriums. Make sure you book now!


March – Heritage History

March is a great month to look back on some of the city and county’s fantastic history, as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of King Richard III’s interment. It feels like only yesterday that the infamous Car Park King’s remains went on their final journey through Leicester, to a crowd of more than 35,000 people. What better time to refresh your knowledge of the fascinating story of his dynasty, death and discovery at the King Richard III Visitor Centre.

We can’t forget that Mother’s Day falls in March, and what better way to treat her than an afternoon tea in one of Leicester’s fine eateries - many of which are housed in some of the city’s historic venues. We’ve put some of our favourites together in an article all about Afternoon Tea! At the start of March, make sure you don’t miss Light Up Leicester - a digital take on traditional light festivals, with seven large-scale installations that are fully interactive. You can bounce on huge illuminated see-saws, journey through an interactive LED tunnel, and even learn how to make your own artwork!


April – Easter Excitement

April brings with it a series of eggstra-ordinary (sorry) events. It’s the perfect month for families to get out and experience all there is to offer in the city and county. Egg painting workshops, rabbit pottery classes, and even the chance to meet the Easter Bunny in his Easter Grotto! The family fun continues during the popular St George’s Day, where you can enjoy music, dance and live performances on Orton Square and venues across the Cultural Quarter, in a day full of non-stop entertainment for all the family - all for free! It’s well worth travelling for, and you’ll be timing your visit with the start of English Tourism Week, when tourism venues across Leicester and Leicestershire host a number of great events.


May – Music & Munchies

Cheese lovers better be sitting down… at the start of May, Melton Mowbray hosts the UK’s Largest Dedicated Cheese Fair across two days. That’s right, a whole craft fair dedicated to this dairy delight. with over 300 different cheeses, from 60+ different cheese makers. You’ll get the chance to take part in tastings, demonstrations and talks, as well as pair your favourites with wine, beer, chutney, and of course the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.

Towards the end of May, we see the World’s Biggest and Best Tribute Festival return once again. The aptly named Glastonbudget will welcome some of the very best tribute acts to the county for 3 days of all the music you love – including the Antarctic Monkeys, Kazabian, The Bootleg Beatles, Oasish and more!


June – Journey into Summer

Summer kicks off in style with the Leicester Riverside Festival. Now in its 23rd year, Riverside returns on the first weekend in June. This free two-day festival features fun on-and-off the water. Family activities include a fun fair, food stalls and arts & crafts, as well as a large music stage with great live bands and music for all ages. Western Boulevard sees the return of the hugely popular street market, while the River Soar & Mile Straight hosts the colourful narrow boat rally, boat trips, canoes, boat rides, demonstrations and the opportunity to view and buy work from local artists at Art on The River. Castle Gardens includes children's activities with an eco and environmental focus and the return of the Broken Records Swing Festival. It's surely one of the best waterside festivals in the country and a fun-packed weekend not to be missed!


July – Visit Leicester

Things start to really heat up in July. The Euro 2020 quarter-finals, semi-finals and final all take place in the first weeks of the month. The final will of course be played on home turf at London’s Wembley stadium. If it’s anything like 2018’s World Cup Run, there’s sure to be an electric atmosphere across the country. Here’s hoping England will be will one of the two teams facing off on the 12th of July!

Speaking of electric atmosphere, one of Leicester’s largest venues, the Fiscsher County Ground welcomes 2 huge acts just one day apart. On July 16, Westlife will be back in action, performing all their greatest hits, followed by pop sensations Little Mix on July 17.


August – Festival Fun

August is the month of festivals. After a hugely successful introduction at 2019’s City Festival, Jubilee Square’s Dome will be returning to host the ever-popular celebrations. Last year saw Jubilee Square transform into a vibrant and inviting space, with comedy, live music and family activities inside the transparent dome, as well as street food, performances and more on the square. This year the festival will be bigger and better than ever, so watch this space!

Leicester Pride will be back once again, celebrating Leicester’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in a colourful and vibrant event which celebrates diversity and freedom of expression. Pride features a spectacular parade through the heart of the city, culminating in a popular event on Victoria Park with music, food, rides and more! August also welcomes Leicester Belgrave Mela, a one-day bonanza of scintillating entertainment, dazzling street performances, mouth-watering cuisine, arts, and a fantastic showcase of Indian culture.


September – Cuisine Culture

The Country’s largest WWII re-enactment weekend will be returning on 11 to 13 September – sadly for the last time! Over 3 days, you can view one of the largest displays of period vehicles including tanks, artillery and soft skinned vehicles, some of which participate in the re-enactment battles – or visit trade stalls selling a wide range of items including uniforms and 1940's collectables, or look to the sky at the extensive air display that runs throughout the weekend with wartime aircraft such as the Spitfire, Dakota DC-3 and P-51 Mustang. This is one you cannot miss!

September is also a great month for foodies, with the fantastic Belgrave Food and Garden Festival returning once again. Set in the beautiful Belgrave Hall & Gardens, this popular event showcases a huge range of products from local suppliers, including preserves, cakes, and savouries, as well as hot, cold & alcoholic drinks. It’s a great way to spend a day with the whole family. If you’re feeling especially hungry, the 100% Vegan Special Event will also be taking over New Market Square on September 12 - expect music, food, drinks, organic products, great vibes and all in all, a great time!

Belgrave Hall Food Fair #Leicestershire

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October – Happy Halloween

The spooky month! There’s always plenty to get involved with in the month of Halloween. Miraculously, this year’s Halloween falls on a Saturday. That means you can be out trick or treating as long as you like! And for those a little older, it means that for once your Halloween party will be on the day itself! All the Halloween favourites will be back, like the Haunted events at Leicester’s Guildhall, as well as Twinlakes Parks’ Extreme Scream park!


November – Illuminating Leicester

November is the month of light. We host some of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India, where tens of thousands flock to the Golden Mile to enjoy the festivities. There’s the colourful Light Switch-On Event, where you’ll be able to take a ride on the huge Wheel of Light and witness the spectacular fireworks and festive decorations as they illuminate the whole area. The celebrations continue on Diwali Day, where you can expect the same thing all over again, including a packed programme of stage events!

Also in November is the family-favourite; Abbey Park Bonfire and Firework Display. A staple of the Leicester event calendar, this wondrous show far outweighs anything you can put on in your garden! It’s also home to a huge bonfire for you to keep your hands warm – just don’t get too close. Although December is the festive month, Leicester’s Christmas Lights Switch-On falls in late November, where thousands gather on Humberstone Gate and around the Clock Tower to witness the illuminations and stage performances! It’s free to attend and the perfect way to build up to Christmas.


December – Christmas

We all know what we’ll be looking forward to in December – it’s Christmas of course! Leicester’s Christmas celebrations have gone from strength to strength, with the recent additions of a free chance to visit Santa in his gorgeous grotto, as well as the hugely popular Jubilee Square Ice Rink!


So that’s it! Hopefully there’s enough here to keep you entertained for the whole year – If not, make sure you subscribe to the Visit Leicester Newsletter, and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest and greatest events, activities and attractions.

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