Home Lifestyle ‘Friendly’ and ‘walkable’ city named one of the best UK destinations

‘Friendly’ and ‘walkable’ city named one of the best UK destinations

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This East Midlands gem has been praised (Picture: Getty Images)

Looking for your next day trip destination? A ‘friendly’ and ‘walkable’ city has been named one of the UK’s best destinations.

Leicester – the final resting place of Richard III – has been shortlisted for best UK destination at the Group Leisure & Travel Awards.

Home to historic buildings, famous Indian restaurants and Leicester City football club, this East Midlands city is often overlooked in favour of its larger sibling Nottingham.

Locals and tourists alike, however, are raving about Leicester’s wow factor.

‘Walkable and the people are pretty friendly. Only an hour and half train ride from London, but there’s already a good amount of stuff to do. Amazing food and restaurants as well,’ Reddit user @tillybilly89, who moved to the city to study, wrote.

‘Leicester is the most affordable place I have lived in England yet only 2 hours or less from big cities,’ added @Travelin2017, whilst @summa-awilum, who used to live in Los Angeles, praised the East Midlands gem for being ‘multicultural.’

Pretty New Walk leads to the popular museum (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It’s multicultural, it’s a good size, it has a nice central location, it’s affordable, and it has a good arts scene. There’s a lot of history in Leicester, too, and it’s a fun place to show off to family and friends when they visit.’

Things to do in Leicester

Into history? Leicester is one of the UK’s oldest cities, and, perhaps most famously, the Battle of Bosworth – the last battle in the War of the Roses – took place in the county.

Visitors should take a trip to the King Richard III Visitor Centre to learn the story of how the famous King of England, who was slain in 1485, was found underneath a city centre carpark in September 2012.

Richard III was reinterred in 2015 (Picture by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Now, after a state funeral, his body lies in the Leicester Cathedral – making Leicester one of the few places in the UK where a British monarch is laid to rest.

And, if you want even more War of the Roses info, head over to Market Bosworth, a picturesque town with a market square, lined with cute tea rooms and independent shops. Afternoon tea at Softley’s is delicious, try the Turkish fayre at Istanbul BBQ Kitchen, or have slap up pub meal at The Black Horse.

Cathedral in Leicester, England (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The nearby Battlefield is thought to be wear Henry Tudor and King Richard fought for the crown – recent research found the battle was actually fought about a mile away, but the place is still worth a visit to learn more about the battle – and for the stunning countryside views.

Back in the city, The Guildhall Museum is the oldest building still in use in Leicester, with the earliest part dating back to 1390.

The town hall was commissioned in 1876 (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It acted as the town hall, and was famously the centre of celebrations after Elizabeth I’s navy defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588.

There’s also the National Space Centre, the only museum in the world that houses upright space rockets indoors, and anyone who went to school in Leicester will be familiar with New Walk museum. Its Egyptian and Dinosaur galleries are always popular with little ones, making it a family friendly day out.

If museums aren’t your thing, Leicester has a vibrant arts scene – famous musical exports include Kasabian and Mahalia. The Shed, in the cultural quarter, is the place to go to discover new talent, with live music and DJs every weekend.

The Curve Theatre in Leicester’s Cultural quarter (Picture: Getty Images)

If film and theatre is more your thing, the Curve plays host to touring West End shows – and you can even catch performances here before they make it to London. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ premiered here (based on the book written by Leicester legend, Sue Townsend), before making it to London.

For independent cinema the Phoenix Theatre shows everything from major Hollywood release to tiny independent films. There’s also a cafe and rooftop bar, The Nest, making it perfect for a date or special night out.

The rugby team has an army of devoted fans (Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

And if sport is more your idea of theatre, the city loves it’s sport – Leicester City Football Club and the Leicester Tigers rugby team both have huge followings. You can also watch the Leicester Riders play basketball, or head to Grace Road to watch some cricket.

Leicester has its fair share of green spaces and waterways too, with the Grand Union Canal running from London to Birmingham and, subsequently, straight through the city centre.

Abbey Park, Fosse Meadows and Beacon Hill also offer up a quiet spot for an afternoon stroll.

And there’s also Bradgate Park – another spot for the historians as it’s where Lady Jane Grey – who was Queen for just nine days – lived. But it’s also stunning, be sure to keep an eye out for the deer.

And when it comes to food, Leicester is famous for its Indian restaurants. The city is famous for being multicultural, and it’s often said Leicester has the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.

Along the Golden Mile, you can also find authentic food, spices and clothing. Popular restaurants include Bobby’s, which serves up vegetarian Indian food, and Paddy’s Marten Inn.

How to get to Leicester

The best way to get to Leicester is by train. It’s just over an hour away from London, and trains go direct from St Pancras International.

Alternatively, you can get a train to Nuneaton from London Euston, which tend to be cheaper, and slightly quicker. You can either grab a cab into Leicester, or get another train. Altogether, this route takes between 1 hour 35 minutes and 2 hours 19 minutes.

Book wisely, and you can get a return train to Nuneaton for around £40 – the service to Leicester can be more expensive though, with a return fare costing around £70.

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