There are some lovely unspoilt villages in South Leicestershire including Saddington, Smeeton Westerby, Mowsley, Gumley, Foxton, The Langtons, Slawston, Medbourne and Nevill Holt amongst many. Well worth touring around; enjoy the picturesque cottages and scenery and stop off on the way at many of the traditional village pubs.
Wistow Maize Maze
Find clues hidden in a giant maize maze with nearly 4 miles of paths. High-level bridges and viewing towers give stunning panoramic views. Inclides Activity Funyard with mini-mazes and games for all the family. Open July - September.
The Record Office
... for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, located in nearby Wigston Magna is the centre for research into the history of the area. Records of all kinds, including manuscripts (the archives of local government, institutions and families), maps and photographs are preserved and made available for research by the public. The Record Office also houses the local studies collection, including general works on Leicestershire and Rutland, local newspapers and periodicals, writings of lcoal authors and sound recordings Admission is free and there is full access for the disabled.
The recently refurbished lock flight (built in 1810) takes the canal 75 feet down the hill (a journey of 45 minutes by boat). Also of interest is the abandoned inclined plane, a lift built in 1900 to respond to the competition of the railways and to enable the larger barges to travel along this stretch of the canal in a reduced time of just 12 minutes. Unfortunately traffic did not increase and the lift was closed for economic reasons. Although only in use for 11 years, the lift was a major achievement, the most modern and biggest built at the time. Foxton Locks Inclined Plane Trust is in the process of restoring the Lift to its former glory. The award winning Museum tells the story of the lift and the local canals.
This historic market town with a 400 year old Grammar school on stilts at it's centre can be reached in 20 minutes by car. The town was established in the mid 12th century and was used in 1645 as Charles I’s headquarters before the decisive Battle of Naseby. Other notable sites include St. Dionysius Church, the Town Hall and the remaining building of Symington’s corset factory, famous for the “Liberty Bodice”, now housing the town’s museum, library and Council Offices.
Unique environment centre demonstrating wind and solar power, photovoltaics, rainwater, re-cycling and sewage composting. Exhibition area, self guided tours. 67 acre country park with young woodland, orchard, arboretum, play area and human sundial. On-site café and large car park
A beautiful 1690’s house on the banks of the River Avon, Stanford Hall contains antique furniture, fine pictures and family costumes. The grounds include a Walled Rose Garden, Nature Trail, a replica 1899 Flying Machine and a Tearoom.
This vibrant and diverse city with its many shops and attractions is just 20 minutes away by car. Highlights include Leicester Cathedral (learn about the Leicester Tigers connection and memorial to Richard III) and an Open Top bus tour which reveals fascinating facts about local history and places of interest.
The battle of Naseby was fought on the morning of the 14th June 1645. In the open fields of that small Northamptonshire village, parliament's New Model Army destroyed the main field army of King Charles I. After nearly three years of conflict, this was the decisive battle of the Civil War.
A royal castle until 1530, since then the family home of the Watson family. Rockingham Castle (18 miles away) was built by William the Conqueror on the site of an earlier fortification and was regularly used by the early Kings of England until the 16th Century when it was granted by Henry VIII to Edward Watson whose family still live there today. The castle stands in 12 acres of formal and wild garden and commands a splendid view of five counties. Particular features are the 400 year old elephant hedge and the rose garden marking the foundations of the old keep.
National Space Centre
Situated on the north side of Leicester the National Space Centre offers a great day out. It is the UK's largest attraction dedicated to space – there are five differently themed galleries, amazing space rockets, satellites and capsules, hundreds of interactive hands-on activities and the latest in audiovisual technology.
has been a market town for over 1000 years and recorded as Leicestershire's only market in the 1086 Doomsday Survey, it is the third oldest market in England. Tuesday has been market day ever since royal approval was given in 1324 and the town is bustling with activity, when both street and cattle markets are held. The town has a long established association with foxhunting, pork pies and Stilton cheese and is a popular and lively place to visit, especially on market days. There is a large Saturday street market too, and on Wednesdays a small antique/bric-a-brac market takes place in the town centre.
... is a vivid example of a great house in decline, with extraordinary contents, historic park and restored garden. This baroque mansion, built 1701–4 and set in a stunning landscape park, has become famous as a graphic illustration of the English country house in decline. Little restored, the house contains the spectacular natural history collection of the Harpur Crewe family, as well as a magnificent 18th-century state bed and interiors that are essentially unchanged since the 1880s. The open parkland is managed for its nature conservation value and the attractive grounds feature a beautiful walled garden with Auricula Theatre and an interesting collection of garden buildings.
See wildlife from across the world at Twycross Zoo, the centre for conservation, education and fun! 50 acres of parkland housing nearly 1000 animals mainly rare and endangered species. Famous primate collection, fascinating new Borneo Longhouse exhibit, Tropical House. Lions, Giraffes, Flamingos, Sea Lions, Elephants and Pets Corner.
In Leicestershire on an August morning just over five centuries ago the armies of Richard III and Henry Tudor faced each other on Ambion Hill. The battle that followed - Richard’s last stand in the Wars of the Roses - gave England a new King and saw the end of the Medieval period. At the Visitor Centre and Country Park you can follow the Battle Trail and discover what it was like to be a soldier on the Bosworth Battlefield.
... near Oakham in the county of Rutland, is the largest man-made lake in Western Europe. Completed in 1977, the reservoir covers an area of 3,100 acres and provides a balance of sport, leisure and wildlife conservation You can try sports such as windsurfing, rock-climbing or canoeing, hire a dinghy, bicycle or fishing boat or just relax by the water and watch the action around the 25 mile shoreline. Rutland's most famous landmark, Normanton church was saved from the water and now houses a museum showing the history of the reservoir, including fossils from pre-historic reptiles, and a video of its construction.
... was a splendid Elizabethan mansion, which deteriorated extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was built in 1575 in the hope of receiving the Queen on her annual ‘progresses’ around the country. The Hall was owned by the Hatton family until 1764, when it passed from Elizabeth Hatton to her nephew, Edward Finch Hatton. From that time it ceased to be regularly inhabited, though Finch Hatton's descendants have retained the estate to the present day. The house is now in the care of English Heritage and although partly ruined, the Great Hall and state rooms remain intact and have recently been refitted and redecorated to authentic 17th- and 18th-century designs. Sir Christopher Hatton, the fourth, added the great gardens – described as ‘ye finest garden in England’ in the late 17th century. They are now partly restored and laid out in an elaborate ‘cutwork’ design.
... is of Norman origin and with a French-derived name (from Bellevue). The view is indeed stunning, across what is now illogically called the Vale of Belvoir. The Manners family were the Earls of Rutland from Henry VII's time, Dukes since 1703. They have lived at Belvoir for over 450 years, which was in origin a Norman Castle. Much damaged in two Civil Wars, the Castle was then rebuilt to the designs of James Wyatt. Surrounding the rustic summer house, dating from 1800, the gardens have been lovingly restored to their original beauty by the present Duchess of Rutland.
... the home of the Spencer family for the last 500 years and the final resting place of Princess Diana lies 29 miles to the south in Northamptonshire. The house is set in 450 acres of idyllic park, much of which has remained unaltered over the centuries. The House contains a fascinating variety of furniture, ceramics as well as one of the finest collections of portraiture in the world. The exhibition about Diana, Princess of Wales includes unique childhood cine footage, the famous bridal gown and over twenty of the Princess's most memorable outfits.
The town of Warwick was founded on the banks of the River Avon in 914 AD as a defence against the Danish invaders. Several important medieval buildings have survived, despite a fire in 1694 and can be seen to this day, notably the town's medieval Guildhall, now the Lord Leycester Hospital, as well as a group of timber - framed buildings around Oken's House. Warwick Castle is one of the most dramatic and complete medieval castles in the country. It is over a thousand years old and has been well maintained with magnificent towers and ramparts. It has been inhabited continuously since the Middle Ages, and was the home of the Earls of Warwick until recently. There are many attractions at Warwick Castle from dungeons to the Great Hall, State Rooms and the Royal Weekend Party of 1898.
Stratford upon Avon
... is set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon. As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, steeped in culture and history, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in the UK.
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