Leicester and Leicestershire are renowned for their vibrant arts scene, ranking among the best places in the UK for cultural and creative experiences from a booming street art scene, professional theatre and art galleries, to traditional arts and crafts, live music and large-scale opera.

We’ve put together a list of the most exciting exhibitions, artists, and creative happenings for visitors to discover.

Street Art

Our biennial Bring the Paint street art festival produces some of the UK’s finest street art and has put Leicester on the map for this burgeoning creative scene. The festival, which will return in 2024, brings together an incredible array of international artists to create large-scale public artworks in celebration of graffiti culture. In 2022, we unveiled the tallest large-scale street mural in Europe – an ambitious 82 metre piece in the heart of the city, painted by local artists Wing Lo, Richard Peacock, Leigh Drummond, assisted by Ben Edwards and Kiene Tuckley, that pays tribute to the Leicester’s pioneering achievements and sporting heritage. The spectacular works can be seen across the city.


Leicester Museum and Art Gallery is home to an extensive range of exhibitions, including the largest collection of German Expressionist artworks outside modern Germany and ‘Charnia’, the fossil which inspired young David Attenborough to become a naturalist. Explore lost worlds, meet the mummies, and journey through the animal kingdom in the dedicated galleries. See Victorian arts and crafts, German expressionist collections, as well as temporary exhibitions, featuring works from the collections and touring exhibitions from national museums.

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre is a hub of cultural excellence, with dynamic exhibitions, performances, and creative courses for all. Its regular exhibitions champion new artists and push boundaries of creativity and thought.

Great on stage

When it comes to performing arts, theatregoers have their pick of venues, both in the city and county. The Curve Theatre provides a diverse, exciting, and inspiring programme of world-class musicals, plays, dance and opera, with top West End and touring shows alongside homegrown treats. Leicester’s iconic Sue Townsend Theatre, which honours author Sue Townsend, is one of the most established and respected performance venues in the city and has a rich history in the performing arts, with shows by local and national arts, music, theatre, and dance companies.

The Little Theatre is the home of the Leicester Drama Society (LDS) and proudly boasts patrons such as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Gervase Phinn. It’s also where Lord Richard Attenborough began his acting career.

Located in the leafy Leicestershire village of North Kilworth, Kilworth House Theatre is widely recognised as one of top three open air theatres in the country – and the only theatre set in the grounds of a hotel. It has built a nationwide reputation for its quality productions, and the dazzling line-up of West End standard musicals and live shows will keep visitors on the edge of their seats.

Film and digital art

Leicester’s independent cinema and digital arts centre,  Phoenix, has just expanded to four screens, showing everything from micro-budget indie films to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. They also host numerous film festivals including the UK Asian Film Festival Leicester (UKAFFL) and the French Film Festival UK, with regular themed film seasons such as the recent one on 90s cinema. Phoenix also offers an extensive Stage on Screen programme, featuring productions from the likes of National Theatre Live, Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet and Exhibition on Screen, beamed onto their cinema screens.

In addition to their film programme they have a large gallery space with exhibitions throughout the year, run workshops and short courses, host artist talks, and much more. They are one of the key venues for arts and digital culture in the city, with a newly extended Café Bar, a large roof terrace, and a rooftop bar – The Nest – where local creatives regularly meet.

Music and performance

For more than six decades, Leicester has welcomed rock and pop royalty, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Oasis, and the Stone Roses, to a variety of music venues. And the city’s music scene is still making noise today. A Leicester institution, The Shed is a cradle for live music and the place to discover emerging talent. The Soundhouse is an established independent live music venue that plays host to a mixture of local and touring artists, as well as one of the best loved open mic nights in the city. The Donkey is a small venue with a big reputation – here you'll find live music most nights of the week, as you will at Firebug, a late night bar which has been the centre of the music scene for nearly 20 years.

De Montfort Hall is the largest music and performance venue in Leicester and has acted as a cultural beacon for the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and beyond for over 100 years. Hosting top comedians, internationally famous music stars and shows from household names (not to mention Leicester’s annual panto), it always has something on offer.

For a truly extraordinary experience, Nevill Holt Opera is the UK’s most intimate opera house, showcasing award-winning opera and music, often before it hits the bigger opera houses. With spectacular panoramic views, award-winning gardens, gourmet dining options and an exceptional collection of sculptures, this world class venue offers a completely unique experience.

Get involved and hands-on

Leicester is famed as a creative city, and you can produce your very own art at the Leicester Print Workshop, the region’s centre for fine art print making. The workshop has a large open access studio with equipment for silkscreen, stone, and plate lithography, etching, engraving, relief and letterpress.

The Clay Room offers ceramic and pottery classes and the Attenborough Arts Centre runs creative courses, from jewellery making to life drawing. Slightly further afield you will find the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts at Staunton Harold, where artists have been working in the studios around this Georgian stable block since 1974, and offer workshops in fine art, ceramics, silverware and more.




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