48 hours in historic

48 hours in historical Leicestershire

The place where King Richard III met his end, a city made up of 2,000 years of history, and the birthplace of tourism - Leicestershire is full of history. This itinerary will allow you to follow a historical trail all around the county.  

Day 1 

You’ll need some energy to fuel your historical journey, so begin your day at Café No 7 at St Martin’s House, right next to Leicester Cathedral and the 15th Century Guildhall in Leicester’s old town. Pop into the Guildhall and explore one of the oldest buildings in the city, a place which has been town hall, courthouse and theatre in its time. It’s completely free to enter!  

Then it’s just a quick walk past the Cathedral to the King Richard III Visitor Centre where you can discover how the lost King’s remains were uncovered after more than 500 years. You’ll learn about the Wars of the Roses and see how modern technology and ancient archaeology came together to identify Richard. You can grab a quick lunch from the Centre’s award-winning White Boar café before heading to the site of Richard’s defeat. Make sure to pick up a copy of the Leicester Heritage Guide as you leave and keep an eye out for the Heritage Panels around the city to learn more as you explore. 

The King Richard III Visitor Centre

You’ll need a car for this bit, as you head west to the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, in the historic market town of Market Bosworth. It’s a 40-minute journey there, and you’ll have the chance to discover more about the battle which changed the course of English history, tour the battlefields with a guide and discover everything you wanted to know about medieval warfare. 

Back to Leicester for dinner, and in Leicester’s old town you can relax in the elegant surroundings of South American restaurant Sonrisa which offers loads of delicious small plates from across the Latin continent. Or you can choose to sample delicate pan-Mediterranean food at The Frame. 

Still looking for entertainment? Then head to Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, where the Curve theatre offers west-end shows and top quality local productions, catch an art-house movie at the four-screen Phoenix cinema, which was recently refurbished, or see who’s on at De Montfort Hall, the city’s largest music and performance venue. 

Leicester's Curve Theatre

Accommodation options are wide and varied, with boutique hotels like The Belmont on the Victorian New Walk, or St Martin’s Lodge in Old Town, which offers high quality rooms in a Grade II listed building opposite the Cathedral. Or you can take advantage of modern hotels like the Novotel – destination of choice for visiting sports teams – or choose the more wallet-friendly option of the central Travelodge.  

Sleep in style at the beautiful Novotel Leicester

Day 2 

After a relaxed start to your second day, you might want to explore the heritage panels around the city centre and the mix of different architectural styles which make Leicester such a fascinating city. Just don’t forget to look up, above the shopfronts to the carved stuccoes and frescoes on these historic buildings.  

You can explore the history and pre-history of Leicestershire at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery on New Walk. You’ll see dinosaurs, mummies and artworks including a set of Picasso ceramics. You can also explore the story of Leicester as told by its residents in the Leicester Stories gallery. There are always temporary exhibitions on, which have ranged from explorations of immigration from Uganda to displays of 1980s memorabilia.  

World Class Art at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

Follow the Georgian Promenade back towards the city and at the bottom, on King Street, there are loads of places for you to grab a light lunch. La Foret Café has fantastic cakes plus salad bowls and sandwiches, Bread and Honey offer snacks, soups and some of the best coffee in the city, and Zoka, which serves Japanese-inspired health restaurant with macro bowl specialities such as the spicy Gunpowder Bowl.

Then it’s time to hop back into the car or pick up a bus (Skylink or Arriva 126) to Leicester’s Great Central Railway which runs to Loughborough. This was the same railway line the pioneer of tourism, Thomas Cook, ran his first ever package trip from Leicester to Loughborough, and the only heritage railway in the country where steam trains pass each other at speed. You can hop off at any of the stations on the route, including to explore Loughborough, and then return to Leicester in style just as the Victorians did.  

Leicester to Loughborough on the Great Central Railway