Historic Leicestershire Guide
by Ben Johnson
Facts about Leicestershire
Famous for: Being the final resting place for King Richard III
Distance from London: 2 – 3 hours
Local delicacies: Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Curd Tarts
Airports: East Midlands Airport
County town: Leicester
Nearby Counties: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire
Welcome to Leicestershire, a county not often considered as a short break destination but nonetheless, home to a great many attractions as diverse as the National Space Centre and 11th century Belvoir Castle. Take time to explore the traditional market towns, sleepy villages and country pubs in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside.
As well as magnificent Belvoir Castle near Grantham, there are several smaller castles and fortified houses around the county. The castle at Ashby de la Zouch is now in ruins but has a subterranean passage which children will love to explore. Kirby Muxloe Castle is another fortified mansion, with a fine gatehouse and brick-built tower perfectly set within a pretty moat. The castle was built for Lord Hastings, who also extended the castle at Ashby. Hastings was executed on charges of treason by Richard III in 1483.
Indeed Leicestershire has many links to King Richard III. Richard spent the night before the Battle of Bosworth at the Blue Boar Inn in Leicester. After being killed during the battle, his body was returned to Leicester and buried at Greyfriars in the city. In August 2012, his battle-scarred skeleton was found under a car park at the former Greyfriars site. The tomb of the king now rests in Leicester Cathedral.
Lovers of the great outdoors are spoilt for choice in Leicestershire. This is the home of the National Forest, an area of woodlands, country parks, reservoirs and waterways, perfect for walkers and cyclists to explore.
Or for retail therapy, a visit to the county town of Leicester is a must. The city lies on the Roman road the Fosse Way, and was the site of the Roman town of Ratae Coritanorum. There are some excellent museums here, including the 600 year old Guildhall and the Museum of Science and Technology situated in a 19th century sewage pumping station.
Lovers of pork pies should not miss a visit to Melton Mowbray, where Melton Mowbray pork pies are served in the place where they were first created. What is not so well known is that the town is also one of the five homes of Stilton cheese!