Leicester is a city in the East Midlands of England, approximately 100 miles from London. It is the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom and has a history spanning over two thousand years. Originally an Iron Age settlement founded in the first or second century BC, then a Roman town named Ratae Corieltauvorum, a Roundhead stronghold during the English civil war and an important city during the Industrial Era, Leicester is perhaps best known for the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in 2012.
King of England from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485, Richard III was the last king of both the Plantagenet dynasty and the House of York. Upon his death, Richard III’s body was buried in a crude grave at Greyfriars Friary in Leicester. Following the dissolution and demolition of the friary in 1538, Richard III’s grave was lost. The exact whereabouts of the King’s final resting place remained unknown for over 650 years. In August 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III society, began an archeological dig under a car park in Leicester, hoping to find the Greyfriars Friary and Richard III’s remains. Within days, archeologists had found both. A skeleton was exhumed and, after careful scientific analysis, it was announced in February 2013 that the remains were those of Richard III. In March 2015, Richard III’s remains were reinterred at Leicester Cathedral, during a seven day programme of events celebrating his life and the discovery of his grave. The recently opened King Richard III Visitor’s Centre provides the public with information and exhibits about the king’s life, death and discovery. Within 5 months of opening, the centre had been visited by over 30,000 people. In January 2015, it was named as one of Lonely Planet’s hottest new travel experiences for 2015.
Since 1900, the size, demography and economy of Leicester have changed greatly. Leicester was recognised as a legal city in 1919 and annexed several surrounding villages to grow to its current size. From the Industrial Revolution to the end of the twentieth century, Leicester was known for the manufacture of hosiery, textiles and footwear. After the Second World War, the city’s manufacturing industry boomed, attracting economic migrants from other countries. Although there has been a significant decline in manufacturing in Leicester, the city still welcomes migrants and is one of the most multicultural cities in the United Kingdom.
Leicester has a diverse cultural life, encompassing sport, theatre, festivals and more. The city is home to Leicester City Football Club and Leicester Tigers rugby union club, several theatres including Curve and DeMontfort Hall and Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. Leicester is also known for space research, both at the University of Leicester and at the National Space Centre, which opened in 2001.
Click on the locations below to explore places around the city and discover more about Leicester.