The Green Pages: Top 10 Things to Do in Leicester

2021 is the year of the staycation. You might be packing away your sunnies and sun cream with a sigh, but we say, don’t look so glum! You’ve got some of the most vibrant cities in the world on your doorstep, and what’s more vibrant than the historic city of Leicester? We’re not kidding! Nestled between the River Soar and the eastern end of the National Forest, Leicester has a rich cultural and sporting heritage and plenty of fun activities to keep you occupied this summer. 

Maybe you’re already well acquainted with Leicester and all the fun to be had there. You might already be a fully-fledged Leicesterian. Whether you’re in the know or not, we’re willing to bet that you don’t know these five fun facts that are sure to show how exciting the city of Leicester can be: 

Watch the streets light up with the largest Diwali celebration you’ve ever seen.

Maybe it’s not the largest Diwali celebration in the whole world, but Leicester has the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India. That’s a lot of oil lamps! Over 35,000 people attend the Diwali light celebration on Belgrave Road every year. It’s a stunning spectacle of light that’s not to be missed.

Diwal oil lamps

You’re listening to Local Leicester FM, the first-ever local radio station.

If you enjoy tuning into your local radio station on your drive to work, you’ve got Leicester to thank for that! Leicester was the birthplace of local radio. The first broadcast from BBC Radio Leicester travelled over the airways in 1967 and featured the very first radio jingle. Maybe we could have done without that...

Uh, is this thing on? Welcome to the biggest comedy fest in the UK.

You read that right! You might have thought that the Edinburgh Fringe was the largest comedy festival in the UK, but you’d be wrong. In fact, Leicester hosts the Leicester Comedy Festival (no points for originality there) which is the largest comedy festival in the whole country with 640 gigs across 47 venues. 

Leicester comedy festival

Pollution is the new pink! Just ask the River Soar.

Thanks to waste from Leicester’s textile industry, the River Roar used to be an unnatural pink colour. Pretty! But also pretty bad for the environment! Eventually, the Environmental Agency stepped in and restored the river to its natural state.

Fancy a snack? You’ve got Leicester to thank for the best part of your lunch.

Leicester native Henry Walker blessed the world with some magic spuds and created the world’s most famous crisp brand. With over 56% of the UK crisp market under their domain, Leicester was the originator of the nation’s most beloved crisps. 

If all that doesn’t sound exciting, get ready to pack your bags and head to the great city of Leicester. Whilst you’re on your way, here are the 10 top things to do in Leicester that are beyond entertaining.

1. King Richard III Visitor Centre

We’re starting off strong here with the King Richard III Visitor Centre. What’s better than visiting royalty? Sure, you could hang around Buckingham Palace and hope to spy some royalty, but at the Visitor Centre, you’re guaranteed to see King Richard III. (He’s definitely not going anywhere!) With a unique mix of expert storytelling and design, you can learn all about the grand tales of the king’s life and death with one of the greatest archaeological mysteries ever told!

King Richard III Visitor Centre

2. Treetop Adventure Golf

Whoever said golf was for middle-aged businessmen has clearly never been to Treetop Adventure Golf! Get set for a wild trip into the jungle and brush off your hand-eye coordination skills. This whacky 18-hole indoor mini-golf course is a great shout for anyone that likes a bit of sporty fun. Come rain or shine, Treetop Adventure Golf is the perfect day out.

3. Leicester Market

As one of the largest covered markets in the whole of Europe, you can’t visit Leicester and not swing by Leicester Market. With over 270 individual stalls, there’s more food, clothes and everything in-between than you could shake a stick at. It’s a great place to sample the best of Leicester and pick up some souvenirs, too!

4. National Space Centre 

If you’ve got any budding astronauts in the family, then the National Space Centre is the place to go. Built in 2001 (A space odyssey, anyone?), the space centre is a hub of fun and learning full of exhibitions and galleries that are sure to astound. Come face to face with real rockets, expansive planetariums and over 150 exciting interactive exhibits.

5. Leicester Cathedral 

Who doesn’t love a bit of grandeur and history? Leicester Cathedral has both in spades. It’s a visual spectacle that’s a stone’s toss away from town. With its rich history and ties to the endlessly fascinating King Richard III, it’s a must-visit for any budding historians that want to experience a taste of the past.

Leicester Cathedral 

6. Leicester Mystery Treasure Trail

Sometimes city trips can get a bit… same-y. But we’re willing to bet you’ve never experienced anything like the Leicester Mystery Treasure Trail before! This one-of-a-kind adventure takes kids on a grand mystery to uncover the truth about King Richard III with engaging clues and a hunt for treasure. The treasure trail is a really unique and fun way to see the city for little ones.

7. King Power Stadium

As home to Leicester City Football Club, King Power Stadium is a must-see for any and all football fans. It’s the 20th largest stadium in the whole of the UK and located just outside the city centre. If there’s a match on, it’s imperative that fans of the beautiful game head down and experience the atmosphere of King Power Stadium for themselves!

8. Social Climbing 

Don’t let their name fool you - there are no socialites here! Social Climbing is Leicester’s first-ever dedicated bouldering wall. Whether you’re a scaling expert or a climbing novice, there’s something for all skill levels. And with over 700 square feet of climbing activities, even the most energetic climbers will be entertained with their unique and creative climbing patterns.

9. Tropical Birdland

Bet you never thought you’d run into a flock of parrots in the Midlands. At Tropical Birdland, you can visit over 250 breeds of breathtaking exotic birds as they fly free around stunning woodland trails. With over 6.5 miles of woodland to explore and specialist wildlife habitats, you’ll be transported to a wild wonderland of feathered friends.

10. University of Leicester Botanical Garden

We can’t think of a better way to round off your trip to Leicester than visiting the University of Leicester’s scenic botanical gardens. These 16 acres of show-shopping foliage and carefully tended greenhouses are the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon. From the classic Edwardian garden to expansive arboretums, there’s something to inspire every flora lover. 

After all those fun-filled activities, we’re sure you’ve fallen in love with Leicester as much as we have. Maybe you’re packing up your home and moving to the area soon? Or you’ve got a family member on their way to Leicester university? If you’re looking for out of the box storage in the area, look no further than Beyond Storage. Get in touch today for all your storage needs, sorted.


“Have you seen the new neighbours?!” 8 ways to welcome garden wildlife into your outdoor spaces.

Creating a welcoming environment in our gardens for wildlife such as birds, insects and other animals not only benefits our friendly neighbourhood critters, it can also be a fun and rewarding activity - both the creating and subsequent garden watching! Here are our 8 favourite ways to become garden wildlife’s new best friend:

1. Let it grow!

The uncut lawn: one of nature’s rarest and richest wildlife habitats. But before committing to jungle life, a small area of overgrown lawn will do! Cultivating this mini wilderness will be a big draw for little mammals like shrews and voles because it offers a banquet of tasty insects and protection from predators.

If you want to entice some larger foragers, a pile of dead wood encourages beetles and grubs which will do just the trick!

Take it one step further and leave a patch of flowering weeds like daisies, buttercups and dandelions - they’re great food sources for butterflies.

long grass

2. Hungry beasts

The way to any garden mammal’s heart is through their stomach.

Badgers and squirrels will eat unsalted nuts and seeds, fruit and root veggies. Hedgehogs are a little pickier, but you can buy special feed from most garden suppliers.

Believe it or not, milk and bread are big no-no's when it comes to feeding wildlife as they cause digestive problems!

3. Wildflower Power

Bees and butterflies alike love wildflowers and they’ve never been easier to introduce to your garden! You can purchase readymade wildflower packs which you can sow straight into soil, and pre-seeded mats that make germination even easier.

Big or small, any patch of your garden will do, and the best time to sow these little gems is in April.

Just remember to water them every now and then should the British weather pull a blinder and bless us all with an actual summer!

4. Just add water

One of the best things you can do for wildlife in your garden is provide them with a water source.

A pond, even a small one, in a not-too-sunny, not-too-shady spot will be the best and quickest way to diversify your garden ecosystem. It’ll make a welcoming home for frogs and other amphibious wildlife (who enjoy shallower water than you think) and beautiful insects like dragonflies. Add plants like water lilies and pondweed to develop your underwater habitat and help prevent it from going stagnant.

And don’t think your tap or hose will have to do overtime. Collect rainwater in containers to top up your pond, or leave them as is! Water sources are essential for all wildlife, especially for birds in the winter.

5. Don't lock them out!

Leave gaps in your fences that are small enough to keep the dog in but big enough for animals like hedgehogs and frogs to discover your lovingly-made wildlife habitat - simple!

6. Make it their home

Another surefire way to draw wildlife into your garden is by introducing nesting boxes and houses, whether that be for birds, bats, hedgehogs or insects. You can either put something together yourself as they don’t need to be complicated, or buy something purpose build.

Store bought or DIY, even the simplest of shelters become safe homes for many animals that struggle to find natural nesting sites in the winter when conditions are harsh (I’m talking about the British weather again aren’t I?).

Hedgehogs especially need a safe place to hibernate through the cold months. Fancy taking on a DIY project? The Wildlife Trusts have a fantastic step-by-step guide of how to build a hedgehog home.

For bird boxes, make sure they’re installed in a high, sheltered area away from common predators such as cats, and provide them with fat balls in the spring and seeds in the winter to keep them safe, fat, and happy.

Insect houses provide nesting sites for solitary bees and insects. You can make your own simple bee house using reed or bamboo of varying lengths between 4-10cm tied together, or you can buy a commercially-made bee pad.

Insect house bee house

7. The Hedge, Birds Nest Lane, Birdville, BB1 1RD

Not in the mood for DIY? Let nature build a home instead!

Hedges offer great sheltered nesting areas for birds and small animals. There are loads of suitable hedge plants to choose from, but winter honeysuckle and hawthorn not only make great hedges, their perfumed blooms are perfect for bees, too.

8. Bee-utiful flowers!

Most people are now privy to the importance and the plight of our bees, so do your bit by planting some of their favourite flowers.

Bees can see blue and purple more clearly than other colours, so blue and purple varieties of rhododendrons, alliums and chives, geraniums and lavender are great places to start! Not only are they all hardy perennial (they’ll bloom every year) plants, they’re relatively easy to grow.

Geraniums also form good-sized clumps of flowers in a short space of time, which is sure to get pollination off to a buzzing start.

Top tip: wild windowsills!

You don’t need a garden to befriend garden wildlife. All the flowers mentioned above can be grown in containers to adorn a small outside space or reside on windowsills.

 

What are your tried and tested garden wildlife hacks? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

More about the aesthetic? Check out our blog post for smart ways to brighten up your garden.

And if you’re keen to bring the jungle indoors, we've got a blog post for that too! Read all about the benefits of plants in the home here.