Leicester

We went to Leicester for the weekend. Leicester, I have learned, has something of a bad reputation in the UK. When I tried to find out why this is the case, it is simply that there is a large immigrant population there. This is certainly true but I did not feel unsafe there, the people were all very friendly and there were quite a few interesting things for tourists to do. Here are some photos from our trip.

The first two photos are not of Leicester but of the train station in York where our journey began. It was built in the 19th century and opened to the public in 1877. I am in awe of the infrastructure the Victorians built which is both beautiful to look at and long-lasting. We get to enjoy today the hard work and creativity of the people from 150 years ago. It makes me wonder what the people 150 years hence will think of the stuff we build today if any of it is still standing.

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Look at all those glorious bikes. Bikes get the best parking spaces.

After an enjoyable couple of hours relaxing on the train we arrived in Leicester.

The next two photos are of Leicester Guildhall, built in 1390 and still standing today. It was nearly demolished in the late 19th century but fortunately sanity prevailed. It is currently home to the King Richard III exhibition. People might have heard in the news that recently King Richard’s remains were found buried beneath a car park in Leicester not far from the Guildhall. Apparently there’s a bit of rivalry between Leicester and York about where King Richard’s remains ought to be housed now they’ve been found, with each city claiming rights to his remains.

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One of the advantages of living in a city with a high Asian population is that fresh produce tends to be cheap. I’m not sure why this is the case but it’s certainly true in Auckland where Asian-run fruit and veg stores sell fresh produce at much cheaper rates than the local supermarket. We discovered this market in Leicester where punnets of blueberries could be bought for 2 for £2.50.

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I've always liked cemeteries.
Me in a grave situation. I’ve always liked cemeteries.

The next photo is the Abbey Pumping Station. It’s no longer operational but was built by the Victorians to pump sewerage away from the city of Leicester. I find it absolutely remarkable that a building solely designed for dealing with shit and piss could be so beautiful. Are there any modern examples of sewerage stations that look as good as this?

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The inside of the station is also magnificent, perhaps even more so, and shows how much the Victorians valued their infrastructure and perhaps also how proud they were of their engineering achievements.

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The pumping station has become a museum now and there was this exhibit of a toilet which you could flush and watch the water drain away through perspex pipes. This was the highlight of the museum for the kids. They were fascinated by this and we had to flush the toilet over and over again so they could watch the water drain away. Who’d have thought a toilet could be so entertaining?

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Next up was the National Space Centre. This was fantastic and you could easily spend a full day here.  One of the highlights was a short film in the planetarium where the dome-shaped ceiling forms the screen for the movie.

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On the way back to York we got off at Sheffield and spent a couple of hours there. Sheffield has TRAMS! Any city that has trams gets an extra ten points in my view. Sheffield is gorgeous with lots of grand architecture. Unfortunately the battery ran flat on my phone by this stage so I only got a couple of photos of the city.

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Then back to York. It is so nice being able to jump on a train and travel almost anywhere for the weekend.

27 thoughts on “Leicester

    1. I think people who grew up in the UK and who live here permanently take historical architecture for granted. When you come from New Zealand or Australia, where things like this are rare, you appreciate it more.

  1. Very enjoyable post Rachel. Once again, you had much better weather than we had down south this weekend! My husband is fascinated with Victorian pumping stations and sees the beauty in the structure and architecture. He does stone masoning, or used to do, when ‘moonlighting’ and has a feel for all things to do with brick and stone construction. Leicester is a place I don’t know at all well. I am fascinated by King Richard III and watched the Channel 4 programme about his discovery with amazement, like so many. Visiting the exhibition is something I want to do very badly! Glad you had such a great day out, I do enjoy reading about them and seeing your lovely photos of you all 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sherri. It was a glorious weekend up here. The King Richard exhibit is fascinating but not something we could fully enjoy with two small kids racing around and creating havoc. We never spend as much time in these sorts of places that I would like.

  2. Yes I agree that this was an excellent post. There was a short description of each pic that followed and the photos were so clear. From what you say the pics are all taken on an iPhone. The UK has history that we in the antipodes do not have, and it all seems to be on display for all to enjoy. I am speaking of European history. Keep the weekend adventures coming. I like them more than climate change!!

    1. Thank you! Interestingly, my mind is never far from thoughts of climate change when I write posts like this. I see all the wonderful things the Victorians built for future generations like us and I think it’s shameful that our own legacy will be changing the climate and dumping the problem on future generations to solve.

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I like the post. A spread of views has provided very rounded sense of the place.

    ..and thanks for the likes. Its always nice to see a squirrel about the place. And, may I say that you have great denim. 🙂 Have a good week. Graham 🙂

    1. Thank you, Graham. The squirrel enjoyed your post about the Cutty Sark, a ship which even Australian school children learn about. Or at least they did when I was at school.

      And there’s nothing quite like great denim.

    1. I would say that it’s 95-100% likely that I have great legs, so about the same likelihood that humans are changing the climate. I have good genes/jeans to thank for this as well as being lucky enough to live in a city that lets me ride my bike everyday. If you want great legs too (and you may already have great legs for all I know), then I recommend riding a bicycle everyday.

      1. Thanks for the photo, MikeM. Bikes are beautiful don’t you think? I do hope that a culture of cycling is spreading and if I can help nudge it along in any way then I’ll be happy.

      2. Is that 95-100% in the scientific sense, or already translated to normal human language?

        Something like, people, we are not allowed to say this, we have to be open to possibility that our basic understanding of physics wrong, but well, just so that you understand what we really mean, any non-scientist would say in this case that we are sure, Rachel has …

      3. I am afraid I am probably not qualified to answer. It would probably require some sort of consensus survey and that’s just more trouble than it’s worth from what I gather.

  4. Thanks for a nice blog post about my city, although I wasn’t aware we had a bad reputation! I hope you will set people straight if they badmouth Leicester in future 🙂

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