Fun things to do in Leicestershire

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    Gardens from the canal
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Leicestershire

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    See a 'king' killed!

    by leics Updated Sep 15, 2013

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    Well, not really killed of course...and not really a king...but the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth is an absolutely thrilling day, filled with interest and brilliant for children an adults alike.

    It is held every year on the weekend nearest to the anniversary of the battle, which happened on August 24th 1485.

    Hundreds of re-enactors camp over that weekend, living as they would have done in Medieval times. There is a Medieval market...you can buy your chainmail or armour as well as clothes, weapons, wooden goods, leather goods, jewellery and goodness knows what else.

    The site opens at 10am, with plenty of time to explore the Medieval market, have a snack either in the visitor centre cafe or from one of the stalls, perhaps listen to some Medieval music and then watch the displays of one-to-one fighting, falconry and 'pike drill' for the children before the two main events: jousting and the battle itself.

    The jousting really is exciting...real horses with real men in armour really charging each other at top speed and attempting to hit each other with their lances. The winner has the honour of jousting with the King...and this year there was even more excitement as the tilt itself (a series of wooden panels) was blown down by the wind as the horses passed by! Have a look at my videos here and here.

    The battle itself starts with a minute of silence to remember those who fell on that day. Then it is re-enacted in compressed form...it was, of course, much bloodier and lengthier than anything one sees, although there can still be injuries. Many people do not realise that guns were used in 1485...the large, wheeled type...as well as arrows. But the majority of the fighting was still the exhausting, bloody, close-up hack-and-slice of man-to-man combat.

    Perhaps the most thrilling moment is the charge led by King Richard against Henry Tudor...and act of incredible bravery (or arrogance) and one which led to his death. Even the small-scale re-enactment brings home the danger and terror which must have been felt both by the riders and those towards whom they were charging. See it here

    Richard was killed, his body stripped and thrown over the back of his horse. Each time I've watched this re-enactment there has been the same feeling in the crowd...we know it happened, we know it will always happen but, somehow, we don't feel it is right. Cheers for the new king, Henry Tudor, are always muted. I think the feelings of ordinary folk in 1485 were exactly the same as they are today.

    I've been to many re-enactments in many places over the years but I can genuinely say that Bosworth is the best of all of them. The use of horses makes it special, of course, but it is more that so many re-enactors are involved (some in 2013 were French, just as some of Henry Tudor's soldiers were French); the atmosphere is quite unique.

    If you are in Leicestershire in mid-to-late August (check the website for exact dates) you really should try to visit the re-enactment weekend. Events take place on both the Saturday and the Sunday.

    More photos of the re-enactment in my travelogues:

    Before the battle

    Mustering

    Into batle

    A hit! Knights chatting King Richard's tent Ready for battle Marching to battle
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    Bosworth Battlefield.

    by leics Updated Sep 15, 2013

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    In 1485 the Battle of Bosworth changed the course of English history. King Richard lll was killed in battle (the last English monarch to die on the battlefield) and the Welsh prince Henry Tudor (father of King Henry Vlll) took the throne.

    For many years it's been possible to visit the battle site, in West Leicestershire, to enjoy its visitor centre and walk the surrounding countryside.

    But for many, many years there was argument about where the actual battle took place. The information boards placed around the battlefield were held by many to be...basically...in the wrong place.

    A bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was successful and finally (after many, many wet, cold and muddy days wandering surrounding fields) archaeologists and metal detectors found evidence of the battle site. The 'new' site was announced in early 2010...not too far from the visitor centre...and the information boards have been updated accordingly.

    You can read about the archaeological aspects here

    The stone which marked where King Richard was thought to have been struck down has been moved from its (incorrect) position and is now in the courtyard of the visitor centre.

    And the visitor centre itself has undergone a complete 'revamp', making it a fascinating place to explore. Many of the exhibits are interactive, with video 'talking heads' of those involved in the battle explaining how it affected and...something which particularly pleased me...many exhibits at child-height.

    There's a super cafe too, with seating indoors and out...the indoor area uses the remains of a Medieval tithe barn, carefully restored and used to provide the internal framework for the more modern building.

    There are regular events throughout the year, ranging from guided themed walks with the rangers to falconry displays and regular re-enactment weekends.

    A fascinating museum display (with a small gift shop), a super cafe and lots of rolling green countryside to walk in...what more could you wish for in a day out? :-)

    Easy access by car from the surrounding motorway network. Bus from Leicester to Market Bosworth and then either taxi or a 3-mile easy walk from there.

    Combat......... View from Ambion Hill. Tithe barn cafe..... Falconry............ Re-enactor's fashion display
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    Old John

    by leics Updated Sep 18, 2011

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    Old John is a 'folly' in Bradgate Park, built for no reason other than to look good in the landscape. The story goes that it is a memorial to an old family servant, built in the shape of his favourite beer tankard. Believe that if you like!

    Bradgate Park is simply stunning......and area of almost-wildness in the heart of the rolling East Midlands. A walk up to Old John gives fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.

    Old John Old John in its landscape
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    Bradgate Park

    by leics Updated Sep 18, 2011

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    Bradgate Park originally belonged to Bradgate House, the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey who was beheaded in Tudor times. You can still see the ruins of the house, and visit sometimes (opening hours vary).

    A small river babbles through the park, rocky and shallow and ideal for paddling and catching tiddlers.........

    Deer, tame enough to pose for photos, wander freely.

    The exposed rocks are some of the oldest in the country, ideal for childish scrambling and exploration.

    Acres of rough grass and bracken to run and explore and hide in...... hills for rolling down, or flying kites....ancient trees of all types.....

    See my travelogue for more info and photos.

    'Old John' Posing deer War memorial view Bradgate House Ancient 'beheaded' oaks
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    Great Central Railway

    by bonio Written Sep 11, 2010

    A long overdue visit for us, and an enjoyable aftenoon for our friends Kiyo and Kana - visiting from Inuyama, Japan.
    The railway runs from Loughborough to Leicester North, jouney time around 30 mins through some scenic countryside and a chance to see several old engines under repair on the way.
    It's open most weekends, check website for full details and is usually steam hauled although there are sometimes vintage diesel engines running as well.
    Cost was pretty reasonable too - this was a good afternoon out - a trip to a bygone age - sadly I could remember riding on similar trains as a child!

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    Make a Pork Pie ar melton Mowbray

    by Gwynfiguy Written Jul 11, 2008

    One of the most famous places in leicestershire is the Village of Melton Mowbray (where the pork pies come from). A small village which unfortunately due to time and development is rapidly being spoiled by the influx of new housing and shopping centres.

    Not far away from Melton is the smallest county in Britain. Rutland this was uurped into leicestershire in the late 1990's but such a fuss as made that they re-designated it as a county in it's own right.
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    Making a pork pie
    The making of a pork pie

    The people of melton Mowbray are proud of their pork pies and even have instruction days for visitors to try their hand at said delicacy



    The village although getting bigger every day with new house owners still retains some of the olde world Charm as can be seen in this photograph of Ann of Cleeves Street (she was one of Henry VIIIs wives )

    The Old Pork Pie Shop Melton Mowbray Ann of Cleeve Street Melton Mowbray Making a Pork Pie ( Melton Mowbray )

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  • Gwynfiguy's Profile Photo

    Visit the Battle field at Bosworth

    by Gwynfiguy Updated Jul 1, 2008

    We went to Leicestershire over the weekend and whilst there visited Bosworth Field the scene of the battle for the crown of England in 1485.
    The battle was between the forces of Richard the third and Henry Tudor - and was the turning point in British History- the Death of King Richard and the birth of the Tudor Dynasty ,
    The Exhibition is titled Two kings.One Day.
    You can visit the interactive exhibition in the "war room" and witnes "the horrors of medieval warfare"'you can also visit the BFI laboratory and see what it is like to be an archaeologist.Listen to the witness stories (3 fictional ,1 factual)
    Outside is the Ambion Parva village with it's sights and sounds and re enactment. visit the Tent to hear how to use many of the weapons ( pike, sword and bow)visit the house (15th century) and talk to the apothacary and the holy relic salesman (he is good).then go out onto the walkway around the battlefield (4 miles all told).visit Dicks well Where Richard the third is reputed to have died.
    There is a scooter available for the disabled guest (must be ordered in advance) this can be used for up to 2 hours. (free). The parking is park and ride although there are disabled spots allocated.

    White Boar emblem at Bosworth Field Armoury at village Banners and colours of those that took part in bat Dick's (King Richards ) Well Battlefield now returned to agriculture

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    Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle

    by stevezero Written Jul 4, 2006

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    We only had an hour or so to spare to look around the castle, which really was not enough, this is one that we must return to one day.
    Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle was a 12th century stone fortified manor house, founded by Alain de Parrhoet, la Zouch. In 1474, William, Lord Hastings was granted a licence to crenellate and he founded an impressive stone keep and courtyard fortress. To the original hall, kitchen and solar block, he added a dominating four storey machicolated square keep, with a seven storey rectangular extension, a chapel and a surrounding curtain wall. The remaining narrow entrance of this late-medieval keep, was protected by a portcullis and running from the basement to the kitchen is a rare underground passage. In the 16th century, the Wilderness castle garden was given an enclosing brick wall, flanked by a pair of two storey angle towers.

    In the care of English Heritage
    Admission Charge - Adults £3.40

    Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle

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    Ashby-de-la-Zouche

    by stevezero Written Jul 4, 2006

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    Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a small market town in the North West of Leicestershire. It lies within the National Forest, has a population of 12,758 (2001 census), and is known to locals as "Ashby".
    We visited principally to see the castle, but it seemed like a nice place to spend a few hours.

    Ashby-de-la-Zouche Ashby-de-la-Zouche
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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Belvoir Castle

    by aukahkay Written Mar 15, 2006

    Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland for one thousand years. Currently the family home of the 11th Duke, Duchess and their young family. The name Belvoir means 'beautiful view' and dates from Norman times. Located in Leicestershire, Belvoir Castle sits on top of a hill with a commanding view of the Vale of Belvoir.

    Belvoir Castle
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  • eddilowe's Profile Photo

    Belvoir Castle

    by eddilowe Written Jul 20, 2005

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    Home to the Duks and Duchess of Rutland. This castle is located on a hill and has amazing views over the Vale of Belvoir (pronounced "beaver").

    The website is very informative so take a look for more detailed info. It is probably best to phone them regarding when they are open as it's a bit complicated and they close on some Saturdays for weddings to take place.

    Briefly.....March and October - Castle open Sundays only. Gardens open Saturdays and Sundays

    Easter to September - Open from Friday 25th March (Good Friday). Closed Mondays & Fridays. Open Bank Holiday Mondays

    The castle is open 11am-5pm (last admission 4pm)

    Admission charges - CASTLE, ROSE GARDEN, STATUE GARDEN AND DUCHESS'S GARDENS

    Adults £10.00
    Students/Senior Citizens £9.00
    Children (5-16) £5.00
    Family (2A 3C) £26.00
    FREE GUIDED TOURS TAKE PLACE ON WEEKDAYS AT 12 NOON AND 2.30PM

    Belvoir Castle
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    See Deer in Bradgate Park

    by Ujamaflip Updated Sep 19, 2004

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    Bradgate Park is a public park west of Leicester. It has covers a space of around 3 square kilometers with heath, bracken rocky outcrops, small woods, and the river Lin. In 1928 it was bought from the Greys of Groby by Charles Bennion who gave it to the people of Leicestershire. The park is famous for its red and especially fallow deer, during October and November many more deer can be seen, since this is the rutting season. Get up early, or visit the park late in the evening to see them at their best. Rival males will fight fiercly, and often clash antlers, if you are lucky you may witness this dramatic feat. The park also includes the ruins of Bradgate House, the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey, and Old John Tower.

    Deer in Bradgate Park
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    Cropston Reservoir

    by Ujamaflip Written Sep 19, 2004

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    Cropston Reservoir was created in the late 19th Century, and takes its name from the nearby village of Cropston. Situated between Bradgate Park and Bradgate Road, it can be viewed from either location. The Severn Trent Water Visitor Centre is open to the public and demonstrates the victorian pumping machinery that supplied Leicester with water.

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    Stoney Cove - Englands Best Inland Scuba Site

    by Mostly_Irrelevant Written Sep 11, 2004

    Stoney Cove, as well as being Engl;ands premier inland scuba site is simple a wonderful place to pass a sunny afternoon. A former quarry, this hidden gem is englosed by sheer cliffs, and could easily be somewhere in vietnam or venezuela. There is not a great deal to do here (apart form the diving of course), it's simple a place to appreciate the scenery. However there is a good pub serving decent good value pub food all day through high season, wiht a terrace jutting out over the water. The lake ranges from 8 to 36 metres deep, contains myriad sunken vehicles (inlcuding a bus, helicopter and anumberof boats), the school there offers a full range of PADI and other courses, and the staff are freindly and helpful.

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    National Space Centre

    by stefano99 Written Jul 8, 2004

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    Leicester is home to the UK's Space Centre. Don't expect to watch any launches from here, but all the same it is still worth a visit. Interesting exhibits and a cinema. There is also a cafe, if you need a break.

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