The ceremonial county of Leicestershire has an eventful past that’s exhibited in an assortment of historical sites and museums.
It’s landscape is a major draw for visitors too, with country parks and nature reserves regualrly among the most popular Leicestershire attractions, year after year.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or just looking for a delightful weekend getaway, the following guide signposts some of the best things to do in Leicestershire.
We beging with one of the region’s most significant historical sites.
Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Ashby de la Zouch
Ashby de la Zouch Castle, is a remarkable emblem of Britain’s medieval epoch.
Originally a modest 12th century manor, it evolved over the centuries, most notably under the Hastings family in the 15th century, as they sculpted it into the commanding fortress we glimpse today.
While time has weathered its walls, the castle’s spirit remains unbroken. Wander through its serene gardens, and you’ll be walking the same grounds where historical dramas unfolded.
Dive deep into its underground passageways, each echoing tales of yesteryears. Or ascend the Hastings Tower, where sweeping views of the English countryside await, and the whispers of the past mingle with the winds.
For those seeking to touch the pulse of England’s eventful history, this castle is a timeless portal waiting to be discovered.
Beacon Hill Country Park, Woodhouse Eaves
Beacon Hill Country Park in Woodhouse Eaves offers a refreshing escape to nature. Covering over 135 hectares, it boasts one of the county’s highest elevations, providing visitors with unrivalled vistas of the surrounding beauty.
This park is a mosaic of ecosystems. From its dense woodlands to blossoming heathlands, it’s a biodiverse paradise that attracts both wildlife and those passionate about the natural world.
As you meander through its varied trails, remnants of a Bronze Age hill fort might catch your eye, serving as a window to the region’s rich history.
Ideal for trekkers, nature lovers, families, and history buffs alike, Beacon Hill Country Park promises an enriching experience for those looking for things to do in Leicestershire.
Belvoir Castle, Grantham
Rising majestically above the Vale of Belvoir, Belvoir Castle in Grantham stands as a testament to Britain’s rich architectural legacy.
For over a millennium, this imposing fortress has been the familial seat of the Dukes of Rutland, bearing witness to countless historical epochs.
With its robust battlements and elegant turrets, the castle’s exterior paints a picture of medieval grandeur. Inside, visitors are transported into a world of opulence.
Lavish rooms adorned with exquisite art, sumptuous tapestries, and priceless antiques showcase the refined tastes of its noble inhabitants across the ages.
Beyond its walls, the castle boasts meticulously landscaped gardens, where a myriad of flowers bloom and tranquil water features provide moments of contemplation.
For those drawn to the allure of bygone eras or the splendour of aristocratic living, this Grantham gem promises an enriching experience.
Bosworth Battlefield, Market Bosworth
Third on our list of things to do in Leicestershire is Bosworth Battlefield. Situated close to Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, it holds a significant place in the annals of English history.
This iconic ground bore witness to the momentous Battle of Bosworth in 1485, where King Richard III fell and Henry Tudor emerged victorious, heralding the onset of the influential Tudor reign.
The battlefield’s importance is not just historical; it’s deeply cultural. The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre delves into the intricacies of this period, offering visitors engaging displays, detailed reconstructions, and live re-enactments that breathe life into the tales of old.
Walking its grounds, one can almost hear the clash of swords and the cries of warriors echoing through the centuries.
Coupled with its historical depth, the site’s natural beauty is undeniable. Sprawling green landscapes punctuated by well-marked trails invite nature lovers to explore and contemplate the passage of time.
Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford
Bradgate Park, located in Newtown Linford, Leicestershire, is a sprawling expanse of natural beauty and historical significance.
Covering over 830 acres, this ancient deer park boasts a diverse landscape of grasslands, woodlands, and rocky outcrops.
Among its most iconic residents are the majestic red and fallow deer that roam freely.
The park’s historical highlight is the ruins of Bradgate House, the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s Nine Days’ Queen.
Visitors can traverse well-trodden paths, taking in panoramic views, particularly from the elevated Old John Tower.
With its rich history intertwined with stunning natural scenery, Bradgate Park is a cherished retreat for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers looking for major Leicestershire attractions.
Broombriggs Farm and Windmill Hill, Woodhouse Eaves
Nestled within the picturesque village of Woodhouse Eaves, Broombriggs Farm and Windmill Hill offer a delightful blend of agricultural heritage and natural beauty.
Spanning a vast area, this working farm captures the essence of rural Leicestershire, with rolling fields, ancient hedgerows, and grazing livestock painting a bucolic picture.
A major highlight of the farm is the well-preserved Windmill Hill, which stands as a testament to the area’s agricultural past.
While the windmill itself no longer stands, the elevated vantage point offers panoramic views of the surrounding Charnwood landscape, a treat for nature lovers and photographers alike.
Conkers is an award-winning Leicestershire attraction that seamlessly merges fun with learning. Offering both indoor and outdoor experiences, it caters to visitors of all ages, ensuring a memorable day out.
Stepping inside, guests encounter interactive exhibits and discovery zones that dive deep into the wonders of the natural world.
The Enchanted Forest Play Zone is particularly popular among younger visitors, sparking imagination and play.
Outside, the Adventure Play & 4D Cinema brings another dimension of excitement, complete with rope walks, slides, and an immersive cinematic experience.
Conkers also places a significant emphasis on nature and conservation. The picturesque 120-acre site boasts serene lakes, enchanting woodlands, and a vast array of trails that invite exploration.
Donington Park, Castle Donington
Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit stands as one of the UK’s premier motorsport venues.
This iconic track, steeped in racing history, has seen the roar of engines and the blur of speeding vehicles for decades, making it a pilgrimage site for racing enthusiasts.
From its early days in the 1930s to its present-day incarnation, Donington Park has been the backdrop for numerous memorable motorsport moments.
Its challenging layout, comprising a mix of high-speed straights and intricate turns, tests the mettle of the best in the sport, from Formula 1 legends to budding talents in national competitions.
Beyond the circuit itself, the venue boasts top-tier facilities for spectators, ensuring an immersive and comfortable race-day experience.
Coupled with its rich heritage and exhilarating events calendar, Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit remains a must-visit for any motorsport aficionado.
Foxton Locks, Market Harborough
Set amidst the picturesque landscape of Market Harborough lies Foxton Locks, a testament to Britain’s rich canal heritage.
This series of ten locks on the Grand Union Canal, built in the early 19th century, stands as one of the most iconic staircase lock systems in the country.
Visitors are often mesmerised by the intricate engineering and the balletic movement of boats navigating the 75-foot elevation.
The adjacent Foxton Locks Museum offers insights into the history of this marvel, and the role it played during the Industrial Revolution.
Traditional canal-side pubs and quaint tea rooms complement the experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the charm of yesteryears while savouring local delicacies.
Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester
Situated in the heart of Leicester, the Jewry Wall Museum offers a captivating journey into the city’s Roman past and is one of the most important historical sites in Leicestershire.
Adjacent to the museum stands the iconic Jewry Wall, one of the country’s largest surviving fragments of Roman civil architecture.
Believed to have once been part of a public bath complex, this structure provides a tangible link to life nearly two millennia ago.
Within the museum itself, a vast collection of artifacts paints a vivid picture of Roman Leicester.
From intricate mosaics to everyday utensils, each exhibit tells a tale of the lives, cultures, and innovations of the Roman settlers.
Interactive displays and immersive experiences further enrich the narrative, making history accessible and engaging for visitors of all ages.
King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester
Nestled in Leicester’s vibrant city centre, the King Richard III Visitor Centre serves as a beacon for those intrigued by history and royalty.
More than a mere historical recount, this is the tale of a monarch, forgotten by time, only to be unearthed from an unlikely urban setting: a city car park.
The centre captivates its visitors, guiding them through the tumultuous episodes of Richard III’s life, his controversial rule, and his fateful end at the Battle of Bosworth.
Beyond the tales of battles and betrayals, the centre offers an insight into the groundbreaking archaeological detective work that led to the astonishing discovery of the king’s remains.
Moreover, its proximity to Leicester Cathedral, where the monarch now rests, adds a solemn touch to the entire experience.
Kirby Muxloe Castle, Kirby Muxloe
Kirby Muxloe Castle, located in the tranquil village of Kirby Muxloe, stands as a poetic testament to England’s medieval architectural prowess.
Though termed a ‘castle’, it’s primarily a fortified manor house, originally commissioned by the ambitious Lord Hastings in the 15th century.
Unfortunately, he never saw its completion due to his sudden execution. Today, the red-brick ruins, surrounded by a serene moat, evoke tales of aspirations, politics, and the unpredictability of courtly life.
Visitors to the castle can explore its still-standing corner towers and gatehouse, reflecting on the intricacies of medieval construction and defence mechanisms.
The waters of the moat, shimmering in daylight, add to the locale’s serene ambience, making it a perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls and historical ruminations.
Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Leicester
On the outskirts of the vibrant city of Leicester, the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre (LOPC) serves as an oasis for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.
This premier centre, spread over a lush expanse, offers an array of exhilarating activities designed to challenge, entertain, and build skills.
Whether it’s kayaking down the River Soar, tackling high-rope courses, or testing one’s archery precision, the centre caters to all age groups and expertise levels.
For those seeking adventure activities in Leicester, the LOPC offers a blend of nature, adventure, and learning and stands out as a must-visit destination.
Manor Farm Park and Woodlands, East Leake
Manor Farm Park and Woodlands, located in the picturesque village of East Leake, offers a delightful mix of rural charm and engaging activities.
This destination is not just a farm, but an immersive experience that captures the essence of countryside living.
Families can interact with a variety of farm animals, from playful goats to elegant horses, fostering a genuine connection with nature.
Beyond the farm, the expansive woodlands invite visitors to embark on scenic walks, with trails meandering through serene groves and past whispering streams.
For younger guests, adventure play areas and hands-on activities promise endless hours of fun.
The farm also prides itself on its educational initiatives, often hosting workshops and events that delve into the wonders of farming and nature.
Moira Furnace Museum, Moira
Moira Furnace Museum in Moira is a remarkable testament to the Industrial Revolution’s profound impact on the British Midlands.
Housed in a well-preserved 19th-century iron-making blast furnace, the museum paints a vivid picture of a time when the roar of industry reshaped landscapes and communities.
As visitors wander through the site, they’re transported to an era of molten metal, hardworking craftsmen, and burgeoning technological innovations.
Interactive displays and expertly curated exhibits offer insights into the daily lives of those who toiled here, providing a rare glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of industrial life.
Surrounding the furnace, the picturesque landscape of the Ashby Canal and the adjacent country park adds a contrasting serenity, making it an ideal spot for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.
National Space Centre, Leicester
Situated in the bustling city of Leicester, the National Space Centre stands as the UK’s premier venue dedicated to the wonders of astronomy and space exploration.
This iconic attraction, distinguished by its futuristic architecture and the towering Rocket Tower, promises an otherworldly journey for all its visitors.
Within its walls, guests are transported beyond Earth’s atmosphere, exploring the vast cosmos through a series of interactive exhibits, mesmerising planetarium shows, and genuine space artefacts.
From understanding the complexities of our solar system to marvelling at the expansive universe beyond, the centre offers insights that intrigue both the young and the old.
It celebrates the rich history and contributions of British space research, shedding light on the nation’s role in the broader context of space exploration.
Stonehurst Family Farm, Mountsorrel
Nestled in the quaint village of Mountsorrel, Stonehurst Family Farm offers visitors a delightful journey into the heart of rural Leicestershire.
More than just a farm, Stonehurst is a place where families can reconnect with nature and experience the warmth of traditional British farming.
As you stroll through the farm, the chirping of chickens, the gentle lowing of cows, and the playful gambols of lambs greet you.
The farm prides itself on its range of heritage breeds, ensuring the continuation of age-old farming traditions.
Beyond animal encounters, Stonehurst provides hands-on activities such as tractor rides and animal feeding, ensuring an immersive experience for children and adults alike.
Tropical Birdland, Desford
Tropical Birdland is a vibrant oasis, bringing the colourful and melodious world of exotic birds to the heart of England.
Spread across six acres, this sanctuary houses over 250 feathery residents, ranging from parrots and macaws to more elusive species.
As visitors wander the pathways, they are serenaded by a cacophony of birdcalls, each more enchanting than the last.
What sets Tropical Birdland apart is the close encounters it offers. The free-flying area allows birds to flutter overhead, sometimes even perching on outstretched hands or shoulders, providing delightful photo opportunities.
Whether you’re an ornithology enthusiast or simply seeking a unique family day out, Tropical Birdland promises a mesmerising experience.
Twin Lakes Park, Melton Mowbray
Twin Lakes Park in Melton Mowbray is a delightful fusion of theme park thrills and rustic countryside charm.
Set amidst the beautiful Leicestershire landscape, this family-friendly attraction promises a day brimming with excitement, wonder, and unforgettable memories.
As well as adrenaline-pumping rides such as the Sky Flyer, the park captivates with its serene lakes, ideal for leisurely boat rides or quiet reflection.
Animal enthusiasts can get up close with a range of farmyard friends, from mischievous goats to chirping birds, providing an educational touch to the fun-filled escapades.
Twin Lakes is a popular Leicestershire attraction that invites visitors of all ages to embrace the joy of exploration and discovery.
As far as family attractions go, it’s one of the best places to visit in Leicestershire in our book.
Twycross Zoo, Twycross
This award-winning attraction in Leicestershire doubles as a charity, ensuring that every visit contributes to the safeguarding of endangered species globally.
Spanning a vast 100 acres, the zoo offers a unique blend of experiences, from observing hundreds of diverse animals (primates in particular) to engaging in indoor and outdoor play areas.
For over six decades, Twycross Zoo has provided visitors with memorable experiences, all while championing the cause of endangered species.
Their innovative approach allows visitors to pay for a single day and enjoy free visits for an entire year, amplifying their support for the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Wistow Maze, Wistow
Wistow Maze, located in the picturesque village of Wistow, offers an extraordinary and unique experience for visitors.
Every summer, this giant maize maze is intricately designed around a different theme, turning an ordinary field into a living puzzle waiting to be solved.
Spanning 8 acres, the maze not only challenges one’s navigational skills but also ignites curiosity with its changing patterns and themes, often celebrating significant events, historical figures, or pop culture.
Adjacent to the main attraction are smaller mazes and games that keep the fun going for younger guests and families.
As the maze grows taller through the season, the challenge amplifies, enticing adventurers and maze enthusiasts to test their mettle.
Official Leicestershire Tourism Site