The summer holidays can be long and sometimes expensive, so it’s always good to have some ideas for days out that will only cost you the price of parking and a Mr Whippy. We run down some of the great things you can do around the city and county.

Leicester museums for free

These Leicester and Leicestershire museums are all free to enter and have some fantastic exhibitions and artwork on display.

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery on New Walk has delighted generations of children and still does, with permanent exhibits including the dinosaur gallery, Leicester stories, the Egyptian section and art gallery. This summer they have a special exhibition featuring taxidermied Snakes, and the Renoir masterpiece Umbrellas on display.

Newarke Houses museum is also a family favourite, with its social history of the city, toy exhibit recreated WWI trench and historic street scene, not to mention the beautiful gardens that are perfect for a picnic. This summer you can also explore the history of the ‘most diverse street in Britain’, Narborough Road, in their Popping to the Shops exhibition.

Take a wander around Leicester's medieval Guildhall. The oldest building in the city is open to visitors every day and completely free to enter. Take a look around the courtyard and the Great Hall, rumoured to be where Shakespeare performed, then explore the jail cells and libaries of the hall. When you're finished, pop into Leicester Cathedral to pay your respects at the last resting place of King Richard III, again, completely free to enter! You might even catch a glimpse outside of one of their resident Peregrine Falcons!

Leicestershire museums

Out in Leicestershire, the Harborough Museum is a diverting hour or two exploring the history of the area, and also includes the amazing Hallaton Treasure, one of the biggest hoards of Roman coins ever discovered, plus their stunning recreation of a Roman helmet.

In Loughborough, the Charnwood Museum showcases the rich heritage, industry and geology of the area. Situated in the beautiful Queen’s Park, the museum also tells the story of the role that everyone’s childhood favourites Ladybird books played in the town.

More cheap days out

Look out for the Holiday Railway Days at Abbey Pumping Station. Come and explore Leicester’s industrial history in the free museum and enjoy a ride on their diesel driven Narrow Gauge Railway this summer! The train rides cost only 50p, so they won’t break the bank and there’ll be cash left over for snacks!

Head to Foxton Locks near Market Harborough for one of the most picturesque canalside walks you'll ever have. This wonder of engineering sees the longest and steepest stair of locks in the country make its way up a 75 foot hill. If you're lucky enough you might get to see a canal boat make its way through the 10 locks, and if not, you can still indulge in a spot of 'Gongoozling', the art of canal boat watching, from the pub at the bottom of the hill. 

Explore Bosworth Battlefield with the All the King’s Men Hunt activity trail! Just £2 for an activity sheet from the main reception!

On the final Sunday of both July and August Open Streets and Heritage Sunday come to Leicester with loads of free tours and activities. Open Streets focuses on cycling, but had loads of exciting stuff happening, and Heritage Sundays sees many of our historic buildings throwing open their doors for free!

On the final Saturday of each month, Bike Fest comes to Leicester Cycle Circuit at New College. It’s an opportunity to try one of the UK’s best cycle racing circuit’s with expert instructors and coaches on hand. Cycles for all ages and abilities are provided.

The Cosby Yarn Bomb

Cosby's annual summer yarn bomb event is celebrating its 6th year! With incredible creations made by local enthusiasts and transforming this small village in Blaby, this is the perfect family day out! Running from the 10-31 July this year’s theme for the event is 'Fun and Games, Mischief and Mayhem', inspired by the summer Olympics but also their love of everything from board games to computer games.

Explore our city's parks

Leicester and Leicestershire are full of fantastic free parks for everyone to use, here are just a few of our favourites.

Abbey Park is right on the edge of Leicester City Centre but you could well be in another world as you step into a beautifully kept park where stunning flowerbeds sit alongside the central lake, an animal corner allows kids to get hands on with goats, birds and guinea pigs and you can see the remains of Leicester’s medieval abbey, which was also the final resting place of Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

At the top of the historic New Walk, Victoria Park is one of the largest expanses of green space in the city and also home to the city’s war memorial. Walk the tree-lined paths, explore the nature area and pond, or simply relax alongside hundreds of others on the expanses of grass.

Discover the natural world of Leicestershire

Just outside the city, in Oadby, Leicester’s Botanic Gardens are a stunning haven for plants and wildlife, and what’s more, completely free to get in. The gardens are run by the University of Leicester and feature an ornamental pond with Koi Carp, cactus greenhouse, alpine houses, herb garden and an arboretum with hundreds of species of trees, including the mighty Redwoods.

Charnwood features some of the most ancient landscapes in the country, dating back to half a billion years ago, when volcanoes and a shallow sea covered our area. It is also where a young David Attenborough caught the nature bug, and there’s no doubt that modern youngsters also would. Walk alongside wild deer, climb up to Old John and explore the former home of Lady Jane Grey at the stunning Bradgate Park, recently named a National Nature Reserve alongside Swithland Woods.

Swithland Woods feature long trails through unspoilt ancient forest. Designated a site of special scientific interest and teeming with rare wildlife, there are not many days out that compare to a walk here. And not far away, Beacon Hill is the highest point in Leicestershire and offers stunning views across the county along with Highland cows and a Labyrinth that will delight the children.




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