Difference between revisions of "Leicester"
Revision as of 19:28, 14 February 2013
Leicester  is the largest city in the East Midlands region of England, the capital of the traditional county of Leicestershire, with a population of some 330,000 in the city area and nearly 500,000 in the metropolitan area.
Leicester is one of the oldest English cities, having been founded by the Romans as Ratae Coritanorum in 50 CE. Presently, it is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United Kingdom. It is also Britain's first environment city. Leicester has grown rapidly throughout the centuries and is now a cosmopolitan city with friendly people from all races, backgrounds and cultures creating a culturally diverse city.
Leicester is on the main London to Leeds rail route operated by East Midlands Trains  from St Pancras International station. There are up to four trains to and from the capital every hour. The journey takes up to 1:30h on slower trains. As with all British trains, an open return valid for one month bought on the day of travel is just marginally more expensive than a single ticket. Tickets bough in advance are often significantly cheaper.
Often cheaper, but also significantly longer time-wise travel from London can be done via Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with London Midland trains . In Nuneaton, change for a bus 48  or 158  both going to Leicester directly (very limited service in the evening and at the weekends). A bus station in Nuneaton is ten minutes walk from the railway station, buses to Leicester depart from platform C; the journey takes just over one hour and costs just over £3.00 single (December 2012). Also, there is a train from Nuneaton station to Leicester which costs about £10 single. Tickets specific to the London Midland services are cheapest (London to Nuneaton off-peak return £21.00, December 2012).
The suburban services to Sileby, Barrow-on-Soar, and Lougborough are operated by East Midlands Trains; and towards Wigston and Narborough - Cross Country Trains.
Leicester station is five minutes walk from the very centre of the city and another five minutes - to the couch station (St Margaret).
Train passangers are entitled to discounts for local bus travel in many British cities , also in Leicester (£3.50 for a day ticket, January 2013); student railcards give access to even greater savings. A plusbus ticket can be purchased simultaneously with the train ticket online or at the station, incl. many vending ticket machines.
National Express  couches arrive to St Margarets Bus station, a short walk to the city centre. There are regular services to and from London, Birmingham and Nottingham where connections are available to most of the UK, as well as Eurolines  services to continental Europe.
Megabus  connects Leicester with London and from there - other British cities, as well as Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
There are also services operated by local companies which serve the Asian communities in West London (Southall), Bradford, and other areas. These services are not generally well advertised, they may be short-lived, but can be cheap, and get you to out-of-the-way areas.
Ticket prices shown are those for one adult ticket and are subject to change.
Football (Soccer): Leicester City Football Club , King Power Stadium (formerly Walkers Stadium), Filbert Way, Leicester. Tickets: £23-30.
Rugby Union: Leicester Tigers , Welford Road Stadium, Welford Road, Leicester. Tickets: £20-34.
Cricket: Leicestershire County Cricket Club , County Ground, Grace Road, Leicester. Tickets: £12.
Basketball: Leicester Riders , John Sanford Sports Centre, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester. Tickets: £10.
Rowing: Leicester Rowing Club , Upperton Road, Leicester, LE2 7AU.
The city centre of Leicester has a vibrant and friendly atmosphere along with many department stores and a large shopping centre called Highcross (formerly 'The Shires', High Street. Shoppers can expect to find the majority of items and services offered within a main city in the UK.
The Haymarket centre has also recently undergone changes and has improved within the last 10 years.
Leicester also has some interesting independent shops around the 'Lanes' area leading from Loseby Lane. The St Martins area also has interesting small boutiques, delicatessans and cookware shops. The Shires has recently undergone a transformation and expansion, changing its name to Highcross. Highcross opened in September 2008 and features many new shops and restaurants including John Lewis, Topman, Levis, Superdrug and Hugo Boss amongst others.
Leicester city is dominated by restaurant chains, however good independent eateries can also be easily found too.
Shivalli (21 Welford Road)  - an Indian vegetarian restaurant. Try their Shivalli Special Thali or a spicier Udupi Special Thali. Saturday and Sunday buffet is very popular and of fantastic value.
Bobby's  - an Indian (Gujarati) restaurant run by the same family since the early Seventies; it very popular with the local Indian communiy. There’s also a massive Indian sweet counter.
The World Peace café  run by a Buddhist centre is a very popular place for breakfast and light vegetarian meals – traditional British and various Italian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Good Earth (19 Free Lane) - a closest thing Leicester has to veggie heaven, it is poor on decor and service, but serves excellent home-style food.
Kayal (153 Granby Street) , an Indian restaurant, it has received a number of awards and renowned for its fish and seafood dishes, as well traditional meat and vegetarian ones.
Chutney Ivy (41 Halford Street) , an Indian restaurant in the heart of the cultural quarter.
Barceloneta (54 Queen's Road, Clarendon Park) , a Spanish tapas restaurant: a very lively venue equally popular with couples and large parties. The next door Dos Hermanos bar (affiliated to Barceloneta) serves fantastic British breakfast/brunch. The whole area of Queen's Road is full of small independently run bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and delis well worth of exploring.
Sapori (40 Standon Road, Anstey) , probably the best Italian restaurant Leicester - or its vicinity, to be precise - has. It serves imaginative modern interpretations of traditional Italian cuisine; the menu reflects seasonal availability of ingredients. The staff are knowledgable, so it makes sense to allow being guided for drinks and food if unsure. Cheaper set menu is available at lunch and early evening - check the website.
None of the listed below restaurants are unreasonably expensive: eating out in Leicester is an affordable experience to the majority of travellers.
The Case  in St Martins quarter (4-6 Hotel Street): a distinctly French feel is on offer, as well as excellent dishes and thoughtfully chosen wines.
Maiyango  (13 St. Nicholas Place) – a Michelin-star atmospheric place receiving exceptional reviews.
Boot Room  (27-29 Millstone Lane) features a delightful interpretation of a traditional British cuisine and outstanding, though simple, table service.
With two universities Leicester boasts a good number of bars, pubs, and clubs offering a wide variety of alcoholic drinking experiences, offering everything from traditional pubs to champagne and vodka bars.
Leicester also has a small number of bars and a nightclub catering for the lesbian/gay communities.
For those that prefer their drink without alcohol there are also a good number of coffee shops in the city centre, but these usually tend to only open during shopping hours.
There is a Travelodge very close to the City centre on Vaughan Way, close to the High Street. 5 minutes from Vaugan Way, near the train station, there is a budget Leicester hotel ibis Leicester City Hotel(http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-3061-ibis-leicester-city/index.shtml) on St. George's Way. There is a Campanile Hotel close to the city centre, and very handy for the Golden Mile, and Abbey Park. (This is on the edge of the once notorious St Matthew's Estate, visitors should not be put off by the electronic access via huge gates: it's perfectly safe and secure.)
More upmarket is the Holiday Inn at St Nicholas Circle, just at the end of High Street; there is another Holiday Inn, to the south of the city, on Narborough Road, closer to the M1 junction 21. The Mercure Leicester City Hotel  hotel is situated right in the city centre, as is the Comfort Inn, which is atop the Abbey Street car park. A further very popular hotel is the Belmont Hotel just off London Road.
There is no shortage of overnight accommodation in Leicester at almost all budget ranges: the tourist information people can help. There is also available house sitting at Leicester House Sitter
The city is quite safe other than the usual beggars with false stories about being robbed and those drunkards looking for trouble. The inner city areas of St Matthews and Highfields should be avoided at night. New Walk,leading from the city centre up to Victoria Park, is a very attractive footpath during the day, but should not be used after dark due to the presence of prostitutes, drunks and beggars towards the upper end of it. Likewise, Victoria Park should be completely avoided after dark as it is well known for muggings.