The Guildhall exterior

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Leicester Guildhall

About

Leicester Guildhall

The Grade I listed, timber-framed Guildhall has been at the centre of Leicester history for 630 years. Over the years it has been used as a court, town hall, venue for Shakespeare, prison, and now a museum and venue. Believed to be one of the ‘Most Haunted’ places in Leicester, uncover its ghostly stories.

Leicester is privileged to have one of the best-preserved timber framed halls in the country dating back 600 years 

The History of Leicester Guildhall

Leicester Guildhall is a historic building and the oldest building still in use in the city. It was Leicester’s first police station and between 1876 and the 1900’s and saw many unsavoury characters pass through its doors.

The Great Hall itself was built in about 1390 as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi (a small but powerful group of businessmen and gentry) and it’s also believed that Shakespeare performed here during Tudor times. Over the years it has had many uses, including housing one of the oldest public libraries and serving as the Town Hall. After restoration, the Guildhall was opened to the public as a museum in 1926.

The Guildhall Ghosts

Leicester’s Guildhall is known as the cities most haunted building having appeared in various television programmes, such as the well-known television show ‘Most Haunted’. There are known to be five ghosts in residence, including the mysterious white lady who makes her presence felt in the library. Although there are some that believe it’s not a white lady but a monk dressed in grey, which might be explained by the fact that there used to be the Old Grey Friars Monastery only 300 yards from the Guildhall.

There have also been sightings of a phantom dog and black cat ghost which have been seen in the courtyard and the Great Hall respectively.

If you dare, why not book yourself onto one of the haunted evenings held at the Guildhall, where you might just get up close and personal with a ghost!

Leicester Guildhall Today

Today, Leicester Guildhall is best known as an excellent performance venue, attracting acts from across the country. It’s also known as a museum where visitors can step back in time and come face to face with Crankie Gemmie and Emma Smith, two of Leicester's notorious pick-pockets who can be found lurking in the Victorian police cells. The museum is also home to the Medieval Leicester galleries. Through objects and activities, visitors can walk the streets of medieval Leicester and uncover a world both familiar and very different to our own!

Leicester Guildhall is available for private hire and is a historic and atmospheric venue for weddings, civil ceremonies, renewing wedding vows and naming ceremonies.

Leicester Guildhall is COVID Secure and is following current government guidance with procedures in place to protect your safety. Supplying Track & Trace details and the wearing of face masks inside Leicester Museums & Galleries is mandatory. Please visit the COVID FAQ page before your visit so you are prepared and can enjoy your visit to our museums and galleries.

Add Leicester Guildhall to your Itinerary

Visitor Details

Key Information

Guildhall Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5FQ

Tel: +44 (0) 1162532569

Opening Times

Opening Hours: (21 June 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday11:00 - 16:30

* Leicester Guildhall will reopen on Monday 21 June 2021.

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  • Uncover the story - A much-loved timber-framed landmark, Leicester Guildhall started life in 1390 when its Great Hall was built as a meeting place and banquet hall for the Guild of Corpus Christi. Over the next 600 years, it was extended and, amongst various uses, found a niche as the perfect host for performances and celebrations that provide a snapshot of English history. <hr> When Elizabeth I’s navy defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Guildhall was the venue of choice for the city’s celebrations. More than 50 years later, when England was in the grip of Civil War, Royalist troops attacked Leicester and looted the Guildhall. After their defeat at the Battle of Naseby weeks later, it was fitting that the thanksgiving dinner to mark Cromwell’s victory was held here. <hr> The 16th century saw a rise in the popularity of theatre, and one of the great playwrights of the day, William Shakespeare, is believed to have performed at Leicester Guildhall. In 1632, it became the city library – now the third oldest in the country – and other roles included town hall, court, police station and jail. With a new town hall commissioned in 1876, and the Guildhall deemed old-fashioned and gloomy, the threat of demolition loomed. <hr> Saved, renovated and protected by Grade I listed status, today it remains one of the stars of Leicester’s entertainment scene. Audiences are treated to musical concerts, plays, comedy gigs, craft fairs and exhibitions in a wonderfully atmospheric setting. <hr> In its daytime guise as a museum, its galleries chronicle medieval Leicester, the Mayor’s Parlour features late-medieval stained glass, and visitors can peer inside cells, where unsettling torture devices and a surprise guest lurk. <hr> Also hiding in the shadows are five resident ghosts, attracting TV’s ‘Most Haunted’ to investigate. Dare to take part in a haunted evening event, and maybe the spirits will put on an impromptu show for you.

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