In 2023 we’re celebrating a year full of anniversaries as a number of our attractions are marking significant birthdays. Take a look below to find out who’s lighting the candles this year.

Newarke Houses 70th

It’s not our oldest attraction (that would go to the Roman Ruins at Jewry Wall, but Newarke Houses museum in entering its pensioner years as it celebrates 70 years since opening. The museum was refurbished and opened to the public in 1953, the same year that Queen Elizabeth ascended to the Throne, and its opening ceremony was held alongside the Coronation celebrations. So it’s fitting that its birthday is being held in a Coronation year. The museum is located in one of the most historic parts of the city, with remnants of Leicester Castle all around. It continues to tell the stories of Leicester’s social history and is currently hosting an exhibition showing the history of play, with some classic toys from the archives on display.

Check out Newarke Houses here

Download Festival 20th

From genteel pursuits to hard rocking, and the Download Festival at Donington Park celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. While Donington has become known as the home of heavy metal after 40 years of amazing Monsters of Rock gigs, Download made its debut in 2023, and featured a secret show from Metallica on the second stage. This year the metal titans are headlining two nights of the four day festival, alongside Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon, and more than 100,000 metalheads are set to descend on peaceful North West Leicestershire, making Leicestershire second only to Glastonbury in hosting the biggest music festival in the UK.

Discover Download’s history here

The Haymarket 50th 

It was the original site for Leicester’s food and drink market, but 50 years ago, The Haymarket become Leicester’s first indoor shopping centre. On 4 June 1973 it became the country’s second shopping centre, after the Bullring in Birmingham, pre-empting the massive boom in mall-style developments. While the shops and attractions contained in the centre may continue to change, the one thing that doesn’t is the generations of Leicester shoppers who continue to pack out the Haymarket to this day. They have a special birthday bash on the 2 June.

Find out more about the Haymarket here

Twycross Zoo 60th

First set up 60 years ago by two sisters who owned rival pet shops, Twycross Zoo was a collaboration which began with a small animal collection. Over the years, the site, and the collection has grown. As has the purpose and aims of the Zoo itself. It gained fame as the home of the PG Tips chimps, but as understanding grew about the care and wellbeing of the animals housed there, Twycross has moved into the business of conservation. It is now the only place in the UK where you can see all four species of Great Ape, and their Bonobo colony is the only one in the country. They now work with organisations across the world to ensure the health and welfare of animal populations, with initiatives including breeding programmes, environment conservation, wildlife research and much more. To celebrate their Diamond Zoobilee, they have loads going on to celebrate and if you were born in 1963, the same year the zoo opened, you can get in for free!

Check out more on Twycross Zoo here

Great Central Railway 50th 

Its history goes back more than 100 years and it was the location for Thomas Cook’s famous journey from Leicester to Loughborough, which marked the beginnings of modern tourism. But after being closed as a public rail line in 1969, the Great Central Railway is marking its 50th anniversary this year. It is 50 years since volunteers and fundraisers helped it to reopen as a heritage railway. The Great Central welcomes visitors all year round to experience its unique delights… its dual track means that it’s the only place in the country where steam trains can pass each other at speed, always an exhilarating experience. To mark the half century on the 17 and 18 June, they are holding a special weekend-long event, with steam and diesel locomotives, special displays and some extra special surprises.

Check out the Great Central Railway here

Leicester Pride 15th

Proud to be out, and proud to be out in Leicester. The city has long been friendly to the LGBTQ+ community, with bars such as the Dover Castle, the Rainbow and Dove, and many more lost to history, providing the nightlife and welcoming atmosphere that the community have come to expect. And it’s 15 years since the first Leicester Pride parade: a celebration that has now become an institution. This year the parade and Pride event have a slight change, with celebrations being held on Abbey Park, but it will be the same riot of colour and music, with support from organisations across the city. Pride will rock Leicester on Saturday 2 September, with thousands of people joining the parade and event. All are welcome.

Check out the Pride website for more!




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