Ashby de la Zouch

Ashby de la Zouch


Ashby de la Zouch

From outdoor swimming to a ruined castle and open air markets, Ashby de la Zouch has a real sense of je ne sais quoi while retaining the feel of the British countryside. And once you’ve seen the 12th century town, you can explore the nearby National Forest by bike or on foot.

In the heart of the National Forest, Ashby is so much more than an intriguing French name.

Once home to the much loved author Sue Townsend’s fictional Adrian Mole, and love of his life Labour MP Pandora Braithwaite. Why not visit the library, which was where Adrian started his first job.

Visitor Details

Key Information

Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, LE65 1AG

Opening Times

Season (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)



Moira Furnace

snibston colliery Snibston Colliery Park, North West Leicestershire

1620s House & Garden exterior1620s House & Garden, North West Leicestershire

staunton harold entrance Staunton Harold Estate and Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts, North West Leicestershire

national forest The National Forest

exterior lake at hastings retreatHastings Retreat, Leicester City

wildernessWild Minds

Map & Directions



  • Uncover the story - If the mention of Ashby de la Zouch conjures up visions of idyllic French beaches, turreted chateaux and artisan cheese markets, think again before reaching for your passport. <hr> The Anglo-Saxon name was embellished by a 12th century Norman nobleman, and to add to the confusion, in 1945, The Merry Macs sang of ‘Ashby de la Zouch by the Sea’. <hr> The town is not by the sea, it is in fact located in landlocked Leicestershire but visitors will still enjoy much of the charm attributed to its cross-Channel counterparts. <hr> Boasting one of only a handful of lidos in the Midlands, you can be beside the seaside at Ashby Leisure Centre. If swimming and lounging are not your thing, the great outdoors envelops this National Forest town. Walking, cycling and exploring are all on the agenda in a landscape brought back to life after centuries of coalmining took their toll. <hr> Just like its twin town – Pithiviers in northern France – Ashby embraces the tradition of open-air markets selling organic produce, and a full calendar of festivals celebrate the arts and all things foodie. <hr> Picturesque Market Street with its timber-framed buildings and independent shops is an award-winner, and castle ruins sit at the town’s heart. Lovingly cared for by English Heritage and a location in Walter Scott’s romantic novel Ivanhoe, brave visitors can scale its Civil War battle-damaged tower. They can also discover how the castle was never finished and its master executed at the hands of the future King Richard III. <hr> The nearby Bath Grounds were once home to the Ivanhoe Spa, and on a stroll through this delightful green space, you can read about Edwardian parachutist Dolly Shepherd. Displaying more than a hint of French joie de vivre, this English eccentric returned to jumping after injury, right here in Ashby.

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