12 Facts About Leicester You May Not Have Known

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Out of all the cities that you can visit in the UK with kids, why visit Leicester? Leicester is such an interesting city with a rich history and diversity that it isn’t hard to understand why it is such a well-known location.

There are so many ways that Leicester is unique. In fact, in this article, you will find twelve facts about Leicester for kids.

#1 Leicester has the Biggest Diwali Festival Outside of India

Diwali Festival Outside of India, leicester facts

Outside of India, Leicester has the biggest Diwali festival in the World due to the large Indian population in the city.

Diwali is known as the “Festival of Lights” and is usually celebrated over five days between October and November, the dates changing each year.

It usually begins two weeks before Diwali, when lights are switched on along the Golden Mile (A section of Belgrave Road between Abbey Park Road and Loughborough Road).

The festival also includes live music, food markets and dancing.

#2 Leicester is the Home of Walkers Crisps

walkers crisps, leicester with kids

Walkers is possibly the most well-known crisp brand in the UK, but did you know it originated in Leicester?

Henry Walker created it in 1948, and the factory is still found in Leicester itself!

The factory in Leicester produces over 11 million bags of crisps a day. Can you believe that that means they use roughly 800 tons of potatoes?

#3 Leicester is the Home of Red Leicester and Stilton Cheese

Red Leicester and Stilton Cheese

One of these interesting facts about Leicester is that it is the home of two famous kinds of cheese, Red Leicester and Stilton.

Most people could guess the link between Red Leicester and the city it was named after, but Stilton can come as a bit of a surprise.

Like with Walkers, Stilton is still produced in Leicester and is only allowed to be made in this location due to its protected status.

#4 Leicester Market is the Biggest Outdoor Market in Europe

 Leicester Market, rasberries

Leicester has the biggest covered outdoor market, not just in Western Europe, but the whole of Europe!

In the city centre, near the Clock Tower, you will find a market with over 300 stalls roughly 800 years old.

The produce sold at these stalls varies from food and fresh flowers to clothing and electronics.

#5 Leicester is One of England’s Oldest Cities

old cities in England

A fact hinted at by the wide range of historical tourist attractions, such as Abbey Pumping Station and Leicester Guildhall, available in Leicester is one of England’s oldest cities.

Its history actually dates back about 2,000 years, when the Romans encountered an Iron Age settlement!

Leicester, one of the oldest cities in England, could also have influenced experts who believe that the city was the birthplace of modern English, which came from Anglo-Saxons and Vikings trying to communicate with each other.

#6 Leicester had the First Local Radio

local radio station

It is normal now to have local radio stations playing. However, did you know that the first local radio station was actually in Leicester?

BBC Radio Leicester was the first broadcast in 1967, with the Lord Mayor of Leicester as a guest.

As you can probably guess, the first local radio jingle originated in Leicester on this station as well.

#7 Leicester has Ties to King Richard III

stone,  King Richard III

One of the most famous people in Leicester is Richard III, King of England.

His last days were in Leicester; the night before the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the last Plantagenet King stayed in Leicester.

He was found buried under a car park in the city, because his body was bought back there after his death on the battlefield. Now, his resting place is in Leicester Cathedral, attracting many visitors.

#8 Leicester has the Biggest Comedy Festival in the UK

biggest Comedy Festival in the UK, comedy

Having begun in 1994, Leicester Comedy Festival has become the largest comedy festival in the UK, even larger than the well-known Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In 2022, the festival included over 60 venues!

As well as being the largest comedy festival in the UK, it is also the one that has been running the longest

#9 Leicester is the Home of the Package Holiday

package holiday, Thomas cook plane

Thomas Cook, now a household name, has a statue in Leicester outside the train station because of his input into the city’s history.

It was he who organised the first package holiday in 1841, which involved a train trip from Leicester to Loughborough.

#10 The River Soar Used to be Pink

A fun fact about Leicester is that the river running through the city used to be pink!

The River Soar’s water was dyed pink due to the waste that polluted it from the Leicester textile factories. To this day, Leicester is still home to one of the largest textile companies in England, although they are no longer polluting the river.

It has since been restored by the Environmental Agency so that it is once more suitable habitat for wildlife.

#11 Leicester is the Birthplace of Sue Townsend

sue townsend

Another famous person linked to Leicester is Sue Townsend.

The author who created Adrian Mole, a character who began as a teenager and then grew through the series, was born and raised in Leicester, leaving behind a legacy for the arts in her hometown.

Part of that legacy involved the renaming of the Phoenix Arts Centre, which became the Sue Townsend Theatre because it is where she was “Writer in Residence” and wrote her first award-winning play.

#12 The University of Leicester Discovered DNA Fingerprinting

University of Leicester

This is possibly one of the most interesting facts about Leicester; it was at the University of Leicester that DNA fingerprinting was born.

The process is now regularly used by police when solving crimes and medical professionals when investigating and identifying genetic diseases. Still, it was discovered in a lab at the University of Leicester.

The technique was found in 1984 by Sir Alec Jeffreys, a professor, and was used to identify the skeleton of Richard III.

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.

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