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10 amazing things about Leicester

Thursday 31 March 2022

1. Thomas Cook himself, founder of the former travel agency, created his first package trip in 1841. It was a train journey from Leicester to Loughborough. If you fancy a taste of Victorian life, jump on the Great Central Railway, Britain's only full-scale double track main line steam railway.

Thomas Cook Leicester

2. How can the grave site of an anointed King of England be lost, and then found more than 500 years later? Being the last English monarch to die in battle in 1485, King Richard III was brought to the city of Leicester and all but forgotten about - until 2012, when his remains were found buried beneath a car park. After an archaeological investigation confirmed his identity three years later, he was reburied in Leicester Cathedral. Today, his original gravesite can be seen at the King Richard III Visitor Centre.

3. Outside of India, Leicester is home to the world's biggest celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights - Diwali - and is enjoyed by people who come to see the thousands of lights along the city’s “Golden Mile”.

Diwali Leicester

4. Leicester is one of the world’s most active cities for space research and has been contributing to the exploration of the universe since the early 1960s. Visit the multi-award-winning National Space Centre which acted as mission control for the infamous Beagle 2 lander with the goal to look for signs of life on the surface of Mars.

5Leicester Comedy Festival is the largest and longest-running comedy event in Europe, hosting 800 performances, across more than 60 venues! The annual event takes place in February each year and last 19 days.

6. Home of the Attenborough brothers, Leicester inspired David’s love for nature and played host to Oscar-winning Richard Attenborough’s acting debut at The Little Theatre. Portraits of the famous siblings hang in Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

7. Leicester’s Newarke area is full of historic gems – dating back to the 11th century, Leicester Castle was the official royal residence during the reigning of Kings from Henry IV to Edward IV, and the castle’s Great Hall was where one of England’s earliest Parliaments was held. English poet and author, Geoffrey Chaucer, was married at nearby St Mary de Castro Church, and Leicester Guildhall was a meeting place and banquet hall for the Guild of Corpus Christi, now a museum and venue for visitors to enjoy.

Leicester Guildhall with two people walking towards it.

8. Leicester’s waterway, the River Soar was once notorious for its unusual pink colour, dyed a dusky hue due to waste from textile factories. Now, the 28 miles of water is a thriving wildlife habitat and boasts beautiful scenery of the city and Leicestershire’s countryside.

9. Did you know that novelist Sue Townsend – best known for creating literary character Adrian Mole – was born and raised in Leicester? To honour the author’s legacy, the place where she began her writing career was renamed Sue Townsend Theatre and is a booming hub for the arts.

10. Leicester City are one of the oldest clubs in English football and the most unsuccessful club in FA Cup final history, having reached the final five times and only winning once. In 2016, the formidable Foxes overcame 5000-1 odds to win the Premier League - for context, it was more likely to find evidence of intelligent alien life than Leicester win the league.

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