If you’re going to visit the East Midlands, you can’t miss out on Leicester. It might not be the first city that you think of when you’re planning a trip in England, but it’s definitely one that you want to add to your list. It’s got everything that you could want an English city to have, from a beautiful cathedral to some interesting facts about its history and some regional delicacies too. If you’re in London, it will take you about an hour and a half to get there by train, or you could drive in about two hours. Before you set off to Leicester, check out some of the things associated with the city and some great reasons to visit.
Visit Leicester in the East Midlands
Who doesn’t like cheese? Unless you can’t have dairy products, there’s a good chance that you’re a fan of cheese in some form. If there’s one thing that the UK does well, it’s cheese, and there are plenty of regional varieties. Leicester has two distinct cheeses that are both very popular. The first is Red Leicester, which is easily recognisable from its orange-red colour. It’s made in a similar way to cheddar, but it’s a crumblier texture.
The other well-known cheese from the region is Stilton, a blue cheese (also available in a white variety) that can only be called Stilton if it’s made in Leicestershire, Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. Take a trip to a cheese shop while you’re in Leicester, such as the Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Co.
2) Package Holidays
Leicester can also be credited with the invention of the package holiday – trips where different travel services are bundled together. Thomas Cook, who founded the travel agency named after him, created his first package trip in 1841, taking a train journey from Leicester to Loughborough. Today, many package holidays from the UK involve flying, whether it’s to the beaches of Spain or the amusement parks of Orlando, Florida. However, if you’d like a taste of what it would have been like to take the same journey as Thomas Cook, you can ride the Great Central Railway. It’s the only mainline heritage railway in the UK, and a fantastic experience if you want to try out a steam train.
3) Burial Place of Richard III
Did you hear the story of King Richard III’s remains being discovered in a Leicester car park? It might sound like the setup to a joke, but in 2012, his remains really were found buried beneath a car park. They were lost after he died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and his body was brought back to Leicester, where he had stayed the night before the battle, to be buried. Over time, his burial site was lost, until it was found again not too long ago. He has now been reburied in Leicester Cathedral, giving him a slightly more dignified final resting place. If you’re a fan of history, you can visit Leicester to see where the last English king to die in battle is buried.
4) Modern English
Leicester has an interesting connection to the English language. It’s regarded as the birthplace of Modern Standard English, which was developed to allow the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings to communicate with each other better. The Viking influence on the language changed the grammar, altering it from a state with complicated word endings, such as those that still exist in German today. As for English in Leicester today, the city is home to one of the most culturally diverse populations in the country. This means that there is influence from a variety of languages, cultures and dialects, making the local dialect colourful and varied.
5) Leicester Market
Leicester Market is the largest outdoor, covered market in Europe. It’s open every Monday to Saturday, and there’s also a food hall to explore and enjoy too. You can find a huge range of traders in the market, ranging from flowers and clothes to gifts, greengrocers, household goods, and a lot more. If you decide to seek out something to eat in the food hall, you can get fresh produce including meat, fish, cheese and bread to buy. Many of the traders at the market have been selling their wares for many years, offering centuries of experience and great quality produce to buyers.
The city of Leicester is one of the jewels of the East Midlands. Putting it on your list of places to visit in England will add something different to your trip.
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